There’s no length a cigar lover won’t surpass to enjoy a premium stogie. Winston Churchill even had a special oxygen mask created so he could enjoy his cigars while flying. That said, any seasoned cigar enthusiast knows that collecting stogies is an artform.
Having a reliable humidor is essential if you want your favorite cigars to stay fresh. Here at Cigar Amigo, we’ve taken the time to research everything there is to know about humidor maintenance.
By the time you finish reading, you’ll know how to make sure your humidor is working properly all year round.
Cigar Humidor Maintenance
Taking care of a humidor is much easier than you may think.
The most vital steps include:
- Seasoning your humidor
- Storing it in the right conditions
- Checking your hygrometer
- Keeping your humidor full
- Periodically inspecting your cigars
1. How To Season Your Humidor
Almost all humidors are made from Spanish cedar wood. The Spanish cedar does an excellent job of absorbing moisture and maintaining ideal humidity levels for cigars. That said, a new humidor will be dry and needs to be seasoned.
If you place your cigars inside an unseasoned humidor, the cedar will absorb moisture out of them and leave them as dry as a bone. Seasoning a dry humidor is a crucial step toward creating a suitable environment for your cigar collection.
Here’s how to season a humidor the right way:
- Wipe Down the Inside. Grab a new sponge and dampen it with distilled water. Make sure to only add distilled water, as tap water can leave behind minerals and other harmful compounds. Over time, you could find tobacco beetles eating away your cigar collection. Gently wipe down the entire inside, including the lid, shelves, or any trays.
- Put the Damp Sponge Inside. Grab a piece of cellophane wrap and lay it down inside your humidor. Then place the damp sponge on top. Check that the sponge isn’t oversaturated with water and that it doesn’t touch the box directly.
- Ready Your Humidification Device. Your humidor should come equipped with a humidification source. Fill it by adding distilled water or any other humidifying element recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions. Next, place it inside your humidor and close it.
- Wait 24 Hours. Now it’s time to play the waiting game. Seal the humidor shut and wait for at least 24 hours. Then, repeat step one using more distilled water and the same sponge. Seal it shut again, but this time without the sponge inside.
- Inspect the Interior Humidity. After the second day, open your humidor and check the humidity inside. If the cedar isn’t damp, your humidor is ready. However, you may need to repeat the process for a few days until you can put cigars in the humidor. Your hygrometer may have a higher than normal temperature and humidity reading, but that’s normal while humidors are being seasoned.
2. Where To Store Your Humidor
The ideal internal temperature inside the humidor is 70°degrees Fahrenheit. To achieve this, you’ll need to keep your humidor in the right environment. Where you keep your humidor will drastically influence the internal humidity and temperature.
For starters, never keep your humidor under direct sunlight. Too much solar heat will affect the humidity level and air inside throughout the day. Moreover, outside humidity can impact the moisture levels of the air inside the humidor. So, store yours in a dry place if you live somewhere with naturally high humidity levels.
3. Checking Your Hygrometer
A hygrometer is a device used to measure humidity levels inside humidors. Many humidors come with hygrometers, so all you may need to do is calibrate it. Uncalibrated hygrometers can be extremely inaccurate, and potentially ruin your favorite cigars.
Once calibrated, the hygrometer reading is there to help you monitor the humidity inside your humidor. Check the humidity level least once a week to make sure it still has a relative humidity of around 70%.
4. Keep Your Humidor Full
If you’ve been looking for a reason to pick up a few cigars, this is it. One of the most crucial steps to maintain a humidor is to always keep it at least half full. Having enough cigars inside allows humidors to regulate the relative humidity levels.
As a result, you won’t need to worry about your cigars having too much or too little moisture. The humidifier can evenly distribute the moisture between your cigars, helping them maintain their freshness.
5. Performing Regular Inspections
If you want to keep your humidor working right as rain all year round, you’ll need to perform regular inspections. Most cigar experts say humidors should be inspected at least once a month. There are two primary tests you can do to ensure your humidor is keeping your tobacco fresh.
The first one is commonly called the dollar bill test. This easy yet vital experiment will determine whether your humidor is sealed properly. After all, what good is using a humidifier if the moisture is escaping through the cracks?
Place a dollar bill (any type of bill also works) over the edge of your humidor with half inside and the other half sticking out. Close the top and tug on the bill. If you feel a considerable amount of resistance, your seal is solid. If it slips out with ease, you’ll need a new humidor.
The second test is to check the accuracy of your humidifier reading. Take a bottle cap or small bowl and add roughly 1 tsp. or salt. Next, mix in a small amount of water until you have a paste-like consistency. Then, place it along with your hygrometer inside a sealed Ziploc bag and let it sit for about 12 hours.
If you have a reading of 75%, your device is accurate.
How Often Do You Have To Maintain a Humidor?
It truly depends on the type of humidor you have. General rule of thumb is to look after your humidor and cigars at least once a month. If your humidor is new, you may need to check the conditions every week.
How Often Should You Change the Humidifier in a Humidor?
Humidifiers need to be changed in order to keep the cigars fresh over time. The duration can vary depending on what kind of humidification solution you’re using. The two most common humidifying solutions are distilled water and propylene glycol (pg solution).
Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to see the recommended cycle for changing your humidifier.
How Do I Lower the Humidity In My Humidor?
If you’ve found yourself with too much humidity in your humidor, there are a few things you can do to protect your cigar collection. You can start by opening the lid for a few hours to let some of the moisture out. If that doesn’t work, try removing some of the water or don’t refill your humidifier so often.
How To Clean a Humidor?
Keeping your humidor clean is vital so you can avoid any musty smells or mold growing on your cigars. The last thing you want to do is spend a couple hundred dollars on a new set of cigars, just to have to throw them out a few weeks later.
Luckily, cleaning your humidor is incredibly straightforward:
- Remove your cigars, shelves, and every other component from your humidor
- Wipe down every wooden surface with alcohol
- Replace the hygrometer and humidifier
- Place your cigars back inside
- Leave a shot of cognac or whiskey inside to remove any smells
There’s just something cool about maintaining a cigar collection. Not only does it keep you busy, but it also allows you to smoke your stogies with pride. That said, keeping your humidor in optimal conditions can be tricky.
Follow the steps above, and you’ll be able to smoke fresh cigars for the rest of your life.