Lakeview Farms

How to Clean a Gourd

To eliminate the normal mold stains created when drying you gourds consider buying green gourds in September/October and "Green Peeling".

To clean a gourd that is already dried and stained you will need a plastic pot scrubber (stainless steel scrubbers are more effective but can leave scratches if you are not careful), a small smooth bladed knife, (kitchen paring knife), a wet towel, and a tooth brush.  Dish detergent is optional since some will leave a residue on the gourd.  For heavily white or black mold stained gourds consider adding a small amount of bleach ( 6 oz. bleach per gallon water) to your wash mix.  Whether you clean your gourds indoors or out of doors, hot water tends to loosen the gourd skin more quickly.  Put the gourd in the hot water, covering it with a towel that has been soaked in the hot water or a heavy object that keeps the light gourd underwater and let it soak for about 1 hour in warm water.  


Wash the gourd with clean water and gently scrub the gourd with the scrubber.  If the skin or mold on the gourd is very tight and does not come off easily, soak the gourd again and try scrubbing again.  If stubborn skin or stains will not come off, use wet sand paper used for auto bodywork if still wet .... or regular fine sandpaper after gourd is dry

To clean the stem, use the tooth brush.  Beginning at the base of the stem, gently scrub the stem toward the clipped end.  If the stem is stained, mix a mild bleach solution and turn the gourd upside down and dip the stem into the bleach until the stains disappear, then rinse thoroughly.  Use the small knife to scrape away any small fragments of skin that might be left around the base of the stem.  Be sure to turn the gourd upside down and check the blossom end and use both toothbrush and knife, if necessary, to clean thoroughly. 

 Rinse the gourd well and set out to dry.  Set the gourd in a rodent free shaded area since the heat from the sun can cause drying too fast and can crack the shell.  Recheck for any dirt or skin you may have missed, and touch up as needed.

IMPORTANT: When cleaning the inside and especially when dry sanding or cutting the gourd, it is recommended you use a dust mask to avoid long term lung damage.  If you are extremely sensitive and commonly have allergic reactions to things like dust and pollen, a professional mask or respirator would be advisable.