Gourds in the garden
How I clean gourds! A necessary evil!!!
Wanted to add a few tips on cleaning gourds!
FIRST: Be safe! Gourd dust is toxic!! Also the mold that is on the outside and inside can be dangerous if you breathe in too much....if you are cleaning inside, definitely use a mask. Outdoors, wear a mask for any dry gourd (dust) work. Also, some people are sensitive to bleach so if you are breathing that in, a mask is also recommended. I use the paper masks for cleaning gourds outside (mold) and use the 3M mask for any gourd dust.
OK now that you have your mask, onto the cleaning............
Once they are dry and cured, you will hear the seeds rattle inside when you shake them (usually, not always). It will be very lightweight.
I like to soak mine in a bucket of water that has a little Dawn soap, a tiny splash of bleach and a splash of fabric softener added to it. They will float so you need to weigh them down. I use an old towel on top and some cinder blocks, or anything heavy.
If you can use a black bucket or tub, or a black garbage bag inside a black garbage can, the sun will help heat it up and that will also help loosen the crud.
For cleaning hardshell gourds, I usually give it a minimum of two hours; If they have the thick waxy coating on them, that is so hard to get off, it may take an overnight soak. Test it after two hours and go from there. I like to use a copper scrubby and some scraping tools. Make sure you rinse them after cleaning, and let re-dry before using.
If you are cleaning the softshell ornamental gourds, I only soak for about 20 minutes, maybe even less. They will get re-soft pretty fast and you don't really want that. I use a soft bristle brush on these.
There is a wealth of information on the 'net on this subject also as well as You Tube videos!