The Ultimate Guide To Seasoning A Humidor

Justin R.
Justin R.

Cigar Enthusiast, Chief Editor

how to season a humidor
Table of Contents

If you’ve found yourself with a new humidor and a handful of cigars and you don’t know what to do next, you’ve come to the right place. Seasoning a cigar humidor can be quite challenging for beginners, but it gets easier once you know all the steps.

Here at Cigar Amigo, we’ve researched and reviewed all the best ways to keep your cigars fresh using a humidor. In this post, you’ll learn the exact process to keep your cigars fresh all year round.

Continue reading below to learn how to season a humidor the easy way.

Why Do You Need To Season a Humidor?

Seasoning your humidor is an integral part of protecting your favorite cigars. Maintaining proper humidity levels is a necessary step to prevent your premium cigars from getting too wet or dry. If you place your cigars in any container, they won’t be smokable after a couple of weeks.

Nearly all cigar boxes contain Spanish cedar wood. Spanish cedar works as an excellent lining because it retains moisture and gives a fine cigar that woody scent.

The primary purpose of seasoning a wooden humidor is to prevent the Spanish cedar from absorbing all the moisture of your stogies.

Cigars contain natural oils, which give them those unforgettable flavors. Seasoning a quality humidor will ensure that your stogies retain those oils and keep their incredible taste.

However, an unseasoned humidor can do more harm than good. That’s why it’s important to season your cigar humidor properly.

Check Manufacturer’s Instructions Before You Start

Making a mistake and damaging your humidor could compromise its warranty. To avoid this, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions before trying to season your cigar box. Moreover, these instructions will tell you the exact seasoning method that works best with your specific humidor.

How to Season a Cigar Box Properly?

How to Season a Cigar Box Properly

The first thing you want to do before you begin seasoning your cigar humidor is calibrate the hygrometer. A hygrometer is a necessary humidification device that measures the humidity level of the air inside.

You’ll also need to know whether you have an analog or digital hygrometer. Digital ones are far more accurate.

Although hygrometers come pre-calibrated, it doesn’t hurt to test it out in your own humidor. After setting up your hygrometer, it’s time to start setting up your new humidor.

How to condition a humidor?

The first thing you want to do is remove all the shelves and components inside. If you’re using an old humidor and you already have cigars inside, remove the cigars and place them into a Ziploc bag. The Ziploc bag will keep them fresh for a few days while you finish the seasoning process. Just try to keep them out of direct sunlight.

Next you’ll need roughly a gallon of distilled water. You want to use only distilled water over tap water because distilled gets rid of all the minerals that could attract bacteria. Bacteria and mold can thrive in a cigar humidor due to the humidity inside.

If you don’t have distilled water, you can also use a propylene glycol solution. Using either distilled water or a propylene glycol solution will ensure that your Spanish cedar wood already has enough moisture before you add cigars inside.

Next, take a clean sponge and dip it into your distilled water or propylene glycol solution. Then, gently wipe the wood inside. Please note that you should wait at least a day before placing your cigars back inside.

How to cure a humidor?

The first step of the preparation process for curing a humidor is to give it a smell test. The smell of cigar boxes can give off an indication on how to cure and prime it. If you have a new humidor, it probably has a faint glue and chemical smell.

Although that’s normal, you’ll want to get rid of that odor as it could seep into your cigars. In that case, grab a paper towel and cover it with a few drops of distilled water. You don’t want to soak the towel as that could leave residue behind.

Make sure that you gently clean the entire surface of the humidor. Afterwards, leave the lid open for roughly 24 hours to allow any excess water to dry up.

If your humidor already smells like cedar, there’s no need to wipe it down with water or propylene glycol.

How to prime a humidor?

Priming humidors is a fairly straightforward process. For starters, you’ll want to remove all your cigars as you wet down the wood. You’ll also want to take out the hygrometer and humidifier. Ensure that you’ve already filled up your humidifier before you start working on the wood.

Spray down the cedar wood using distilled water (don’t ever use tap water). Once the wood appears wet, wipe it down using a paper towel.

Pay close attention to the corners, as any excess water could jeopardize the humidor’s seal and ruin your cigars.

Place the humidifier back inside the box, and wait roughly six hours before placing your stogies inside. If you have a new humidor, you may need to refill the humidifier every week for about a month. You should also replace your humidifier once a year for optimal performance.

Humidor Seasoning Steps

Here are specific instructions on how to season a cigar box:

  1. Gather your materials, which include distilled water or a propylene glycol solution, sponge, and a Ziploc bag.
  2. Calibrate your hygrometer so it can accurately measure the humidity level inside.
  3. Gently wipe the inside with your water or propylene glycol mixture.
  4. Fill the humidification packs with distilled water or a propylene glycol solution.
  5. Wait about a week and check the humidity level. If it’s between 67-72%, you can place your cigars inside. 

The Bowl Method

The Bowl Method

Other than the wipe down method above, you can use the bowl technique to get your humidor ready. However, this is a more traditional way to season and date your cigar box, so you might need to use it to compliment the wipe down method.

Like every other seasoning technique, your humidor needs to be empty. Grab some Ziploc bags or anything that can keep your cigars fresh for a few days.

All you need for this method are:

  • Your calibrated hygrometer
  • A tiny glass bowl
  • Distilled water or propylene glycol
  • A humidifier

The bowl technique is actually quite easy. All you need to do is fill the small bowl with your water or PG solution and place it inside your humidor.

You can then add in any shelves or components on top. Place your hygrometer and humidifier inside, and close the lid for three days.

The reason you need to wait at least three days is so that the hygrometer can give you accurate readings. Throughout these three days, check up on the small bowl of water or PG and top-up if necessary.

If your hygrometer is giving you a reading above 70%, you’re good to go. If it’s too low, you’ll need to wait a few more days.

Benefits of the Bowl Method

The bowl method may not be as effective as the wipe down technique, but it’s a lot faster and easier. With this technique, you don’t have to worry about damaging your wood. That said, it’s truly only effective for smaller-scale humidors.

How Long Does It Take To Season a Cigar Box?

How Long Does It Take To Season a Cigar Box

The duration it takes to season most humidors is between three to five days. It’s dependent mostly on the size of your humidor and the humidity and moisture levels of your current environment. Whenever your relative humidity reading gives a percentage between 67-72, your seasoning is complete.  

What Is the Fastest Way to Season a Humidor?

The fastest way to season your humidor is to use Boveda packs. Bovedas are small packets that contain purified water, food grade thickener, and natural salts. They are designed to add or absorb excess water, making them extremely useful for cigar lovers.

All you need to do for this method is obtain the appropriate number of Bovedas for your cigar collection. Then, place them into your conditioned humidor for about two weeks. After two weeks, place your cigars back into your humidor.

Can You Put Cigars in Humidor While Seasoning?

Can You Put Cigars in Humidor While Seasoning

If you put stogies into a humidor that hasn’t been seasoned, you could find yourself with some dry cigars. If the wood hasn’t absorbed any moisture from your humidification source, it will start to absorb the moisture from your cigars.

As a result, you should always wait until you season your humidor before putting your cigars in.

Re-season Humidor

If you’ve conditioned your humidor properly, there shouldn’t be any need to re-season it to rehydrate cigars. That said, there may be a time where you need to do more seasoning to protect your premium handmade cigars.

How often should I season my humidor?

If you live in a dryer climate, you should check on your humidor at least once a year. Inspect the condition and moisture levels of the wood to ensure everything is still in working order. If you notice the humidity or moisture levels are too high or low, you may need to re-season the wood.

Additional Humidor Questions

Why Is Spanish Cedar Wood Needed for a Humidor?

If you’ve been shopping for a new humidor, you probably noticed that all of them are lined with Spanish cedar. The primary reason why the Spanish wood is so important for cigar humidors is that it doesn’t warp or affect the taste of your stogies.

Moreover, the wood is extremely durable and will prevent tobacco beetles or other pests from getting to your cigar collection. While you can find humidors made from a wide range of materials, the inner lining will almost always contain Spanish wood.

Where Is the Best Place To Store a Humidor?

Besides seasoning your humidor, the place you store it is also vital. Typically, you’ll want to store it anywhere in your home that’s dark and not too warm. That said, you don’t need to hide it away in your basement. Humidors work fine in room temperature, but should never be in direct sunlight.

How Long Can Cigars Last Inside a Seasoned Humidor?

Cigar lovers are always looking for ways to keep their favorite stogies fresh, and a seasoned humidor is extremely helpful. Under the right conditions, cigars can last for years inside a humidor. That said, you’ll need to ensure your humidor is well-maintained.

More premium cigars last longer than affordable ones. To know the exact lifespan of your cigars, you’ll need to research the brand and type of tobacco they use.

Is the Wipe Down Method the Best?

Although the wipe down method above is one of the fastest techniques to season humidors, it certainly isn’t perfect. For starters, there’s a lot of room for error. A lot of beginners either add too much or too little water, ruining their cigars.

Moreover, the wood can warp if it’s completely saturated with water. That’s why it’s important to use a wet sponge and not a soaked one. Warped wood can make it difficult to seal the lid. If the lid is open, too much air and humidity will get out.

That said, the wipe down method is still effective. You should always check with your humidor’s manufacturer to see which method is best for optimal flavor.

Conclusion

Owning and caring for a humidor is an integral part of enjoying cigars. Not only do they help retain moisture, but they also protect your stogies from pests and other elements that might hinder their taste.

If you want to offer your cigars the best protection possible, you’ll need to know how to season your humidor the right way. Furthermore, you need to pay close attention to the hygrometer, humidifier, and the lid of your cigar box. If you take good care of these components, your cigars will stay fresh for as long as you need them to.