PSA: Don’t Bleach Your Pumpkins, Protect Wildlife & Use Vinegar
I've never heard of bleaching pumpkins before, but apparently it's a thing to make them last longer. But social media posts are making the rounds on Facebook asking those who bleach their pumpkins to use vinegar instead.
Bleaching pumpkins just sounds weird. When I think of bleaching pumpkins, I assume you're trying to turn them white? Well, people actually bleach pumpkins to let them last longer. While it's very exciting to see your jack-o-lantern master piece last forever, wildlife sees pumpkins, carved or not, for what they are... food.
I've seen a few social media posts making the rounds pleading with people if they want to keep their pumpkins longer, to use vinegar instead. Agencies like New Hope Pet Rescue in Syracuse, IN, and Wildwood Wildlife Park & Safari in Minocqua, WI have shared social media posts that animals like squirrels, deer, raccoons, birds, bugs, and many other wildlife consider pumpkins to be food. As humans, we know that bleach is very harmful and a lot of the times deadly when digested. Unlike humans, animals and bugs can't smell poison or when food seems off. As we get closer to winter time, animals start to become desperate for food and will most likely eat anything, even your bleach covered pumpkins.
As an alternative to bleach, both agencies listed above recommend that if you want to preserve your jack-o-lanterns longer, try using a mixture of one part vinegar and 10 parts water. Vinegar is not harmful to wildlife but should do the same trick as bleach will when it comes to making them last longer. For those who think bleach is still the best route because it might "keep that animals and bugs away," think again.
A rat doesn't go after the cheese because it's in the trap, it goes after it because it's hungry.
Below is the plea that many animal rescues and animal protective agencies are saying to convince those to not bleach pumpkins this year:
PSA: PLEASE!!!! DO NOT bleach your pumpkins to make them last longer!! We've seen this tip being shared all over social media this season! Please remember pumpkins are food, especially to lots of the wildlife! Deer, squirrels, raccoons, possums, mice, rats, chipmunks, birds, and even bugs. We deliberately stick them outside somewhere where wildlife can access them and we DO NOT want our wildlife eating bleached pumpkins!!!
Instead, try using vinegar. 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water will work just as well. Thanks!
To be fair, if you want to bleach your pumpkins and leave them inside (away from pets and children), here is a link from Clorox.