Gourds contain harmful dust and mold spores that pose serious health risks when inhaled. Always use extreme caution and proper safety equipment when working with gourds.
- Do not clean, cut, carve, sand or burn gourds inside your home.
- ALWAYS work in a well-ventilated area. The safest place to work is outside.
- ALWAYS wear eye protection and a breathing mask when cleaning, cutting, carving, sanding and burning gourds. Wear a full respirator when working indoors. Indoor space must have proper ventilation and special air filtration equipment.
- Remove clothing and shower immediately after working with gourds. Mold spores and dust will cling to hair and clothing.
- Some people may experience skin irritation. Wear rubber kitchen gloves when scrubbing to prevent contact with mold.
- Scrubbing gourds is a messy job best left outdoors.
- Use a large washtub or wheelbarrow for soaking and scrubbing.
- Begin by soaking gourds in water mixed with a splash of bleach. This helps loosen the gunk and makes scrubbing a little easier.
- Gourds float! Cover them with a wet towel to help sink them further into the water.
- Copper kitchen scrubbies and a lot of "elbow grease" work best to remove dirt and mold.
- Scrub clean, rinse well and air dry. Avoid placing gourds in hot, direct sunlight to dry. This may cause them to crack.
- Some suggest adding a drop of dish soap to your scrub water. While this does help loosen the gunk it may also affect how your decorating materials react with and adhere to the gourd's skin. We recommend skipping the soap.
- We prefer the "Do It Yourself" approach but it does take a lot of time and effort to scrub gourds. Many suppliers offer pre-cleaned gourds for sale online. It will cost you a pretty penny but you'll save yourself a ton of work!