Gourd with white waxy film

10 ways to clean a stubborn gourd

Have you ever had a gourd that was covered in a white, waxy substance and you just could not get that stuff off?

Gourd with white waxy film

Gourd with white waxy film

In preparation for an upcoming class I needed 13 medium bottle gourds so I decided to order them from a gourd farm. I am not going to say who (some of you may already know if you read my post on Facebook). The gourds looked decent when I got them but when I started to clean them they turned from a nice bunch of gourds to

Gourds from HellYou know the ones…. they have this thick white or black waxy coating that no matter how hard you scrub you know you won’t get it off during your lifetime.

Well all 13 of these gourds were this way.  After scrubbing and scrubbing for several hours I was about ready to box them all back up and send them back to the farm. Instead I turned to my new best friend, Facebook!

You got to love the internet and especially Facebook! I have a slew of gourding friends out there, whom I have never met, but we help each other out. The gourd group I posted to was wonderful and I immediately got some replys to my frustrated post about getting this stuff off. If you are not a member yet pop over and be part of the gourding world.  With over 1000 members help is just a click away!!

From the post I was able to compile this list of very clever ways of getting stubborn gourds cleaned. I did the black bag, water in the sun, copper scrubby and occasional scrape with the knife and eventually got the gourds clean!!

  1. Place your gourds in a black thick trash bag and fill with water. Leave it out in the sun for a couple of days. You might want to rotate after a day to make sure the gourds stay wet. I personally like to use those ultra thick contractor type giant bags because they are less likely to tear. Gourd stems will tear your bag  There were all kinds of variations on this theme that sound pretty promising
    1. Add Ammonia or Bleach to the water and leave in the sun
    2. Wrap the gourds in bleach soaked paper towels first and then place into the water filled bag.
    3. Add Ivory or Dawn soap to the water
    4. Wrap the gourds in a towel which helps keep them wet and hold them down
  2. Bury them in potting soil. Perhaps fill a garbage can with gourds and potting soil. The  enzymes in the soil will eat away that coating.
  3. Hot water and some type of additive – This was recommended by several people. It sounds like the water has to be pretty hot but one person mentioned if it is too hot it may cause gourd cracking. Some said you could soak for as little as 15 minutes up or up to two days.  I guess you just need to experiment.  You can try adding
    1. liquid fabric softener and floor wax stripper combined
    2. soap to the water (Dawn, Ivory or cheap soap)
    3. Fabric Softener
    4. Fabric Softener and Tide
  4. “The Works” Toilet Bowl cleaner- She cautions to  “stand back! And use it outside with gloves on! Stand back, it’ll eat it right off. Then rinse thoroughly w/ water.”
  5. Cheap Oven Cleaner-  Let it soak a couple of hours and scrub.  I suggest doing this outside and using gloves
  6. Copper Scrubber and Lots of elbow grease. Copper scrubbies is almost a MUST when cleaning gourds. Its the elbow grease part I am trying to avoid!
  7. Carefully scrape with a single edged razor (Be careful to not damage) or a dull knife. I personally got an old dull knife and scrape off what I can and then let soak, and scrape some more. As one person suggested, scrape lines with the dull knife and soak more. The scraped lines allow the water to get under the remaining wax allowing to come off easier.
  8. Clorox Cleanup- Spray gourd with Clorox Cleanup, Wrap in paper towels and spray the paper towels. Leave the paper towel on (did not say how long) and then wash the paper towel off and the white stuff comes off.
  9. Power Washer- If you have one of these they work pretty good but its a two man job, someone to hold the gourd and someone to do the spraying. If you try to do this along your gourds will be in the next county!
  10. Rub your gourd with yogurt and put into a plastic bag, in the sun, for a day or two. I read about this and the person who actually tried this said that it was pretty gross when she opened the bag there were maggots and I am sure the smell was not all that pleasant. After getting over the gross stuff she said the gourd cleaned right up.

So a BIG HEARTY THANK YOU  to all of you who took the time to post and help me out. Someday I hope to return the favor!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Gourd art.

9 Comments

  1. I use a big bucket, dawn and vinegar and water.put the gourd in this bath. Weight it down, leave 12-24 hours and go back and it cleans up pretty quickly.

  2. Dawn liquid and vinegar.,weight the gourd down. Soak overnight and next day use copper scrubbie and it generally comes clean easily as a gourd can, for stubborn spots I use the back of a butter knife.

  3. Cleaning gourds is a BIG task and the part I don’t like. Thanks for sharing these great tips!

    That’s what I like about you Dani. You share your knowledge. You helped me over come a couple obstacles when I started creating Gourd Art.

    *** I miss you ***

    These are interesting tips. Some I have tried but I will definitely try all the tips you provided in the mail out. We are always looking for an “easier way”.

    Thanks Again !

  4. That is a lot of ideas. The yogurt one is new to me and sounds gross. I soak and scrub and that seems to work. The little Tennessee Spinners are the ones that get to me and my hands.

  5. The thought of working with gourds has always intrigued me and your site here has re-fueled the fire. The cleaning was something I did not want to try and figure out but this helps a lot. Love the thought of Facebook helpers as well. Thank you for the push to a want from the past.

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