Before you use a new humidor, you need to season it. Apart from a new humidor, old humidors that you haven’t used for a long while also need seasoning.
Let us tell you the reason why. After the seasoning, the wood inside of a humidor helps maintain a humid atmosphere and keep your cigars fresh. In case that the wood is drying, it will take the moisture from your cigars, causing them to dry out and ruining their taste.
Before you get started with seasoning your humidor, we have some tips to help you deal with the seasoning.
1. Check Your Hygrometer
Your hygrometer measures the humidity in your humidor, which means you need to make sure it’s giving you accurate readings.
There is an easy way to determine if your hygrometer is accurate — get a plastic bottle cap and fill it with about a teaspoon of salt. Here’s what you need for a salt test: a ziploc bag, a bottle cap (or another small container), a small amount of salt, and water.
- Place the salt in the bottle cap (or another small container).
- Dampen the salt with water, but not so much. A damp pile of salt in the bottle cap is what you need.
- Place both the hygrometer and the bottle cap full of damp salt in the ziploc bag and seal it well.
- Keep it for about 8 hours or more.
The mixture of salt and water will give the atmosphere inside the bag a humidity level of 75%. Look through the bag to see what the hygrometer reads. If your hygrometer reads any differently, adjust it to 75 percent so it’s accurate.
Here is the video guide on the salt test to check your hygrometer.
2. Remove Non-wood Accessories
Remove all the non-wood accessories inside your humidor not including your hygrometer to observe the humidity reading, leaving the wood-made divides, trays or drawer(s) inside. This is because the interior of the humidor needs to absorb some humidity and become moist enough to accommodate your cigars, while non-wood parts cannot absorb any moisture.
3. Dampen the Inside of the Humidor
Normally, the new humidor seasoning lasts 2-7 days, sometimes as long as 14 days depending on different factors.
Not until the relative humidity reaches 65% to 75% will the seasoning finish. The higher the relative humidity level is, the easier it will be for the next steps.
Here are at least 3 ways to dampen your humidor. Note that no cigars should be stored in a new humidor in this period.
3.1 Traditional Methods
- Prepare a shot glass of distilled water. Left it sit inside of the humidor for a few days with a hygrometer to observe the humidity reading.
- Get a clean cloth or a sponge, and soak it with distilled water. Wring the cloth or sponge out if it gets too wet. Gently wipe down the entire interior of the humidor, but not to get it too wet.
Whichever option you choose, it’s important that no excess water leaks onto the wood.
3.2 Seasoning Agents
- Humidity Control Packets
Some humidity control packets can make the seasoning process easier compared with traditional methods.
Take Boveda as an example. Place 84% Boveda pack(s) inside to season your humidor - 320g for a cabinet-sized humidor and 60g for a humidor box. Close the lid or door for 14 days — no matter what your hygrometer readings are. After 14 days, open your humidor, and remove the Boveda seasoning pack(s). Now check the RH level to see if the humidor is ready to store your cigars.
- Electronic Humidification Devices
An electronic humidifier like a Cigar Oasis can also help season the interior of a humidor.
To season it faster you should also wipe down the wood in the humidor with distilled water and then install the electric humidifier. Normally, the electronic humidifiers will finish the seasoning in 8 hours. Once the humidity level of your humidor comes in the range of 65% to 75%, proceed to the next step.
4. Prepare Your Humidification Device
Many humidors comes with a humidification device. The following is telling bout how to make good use of all kinds of humidifiers.
4.1 Foam-type Humidifiers
To prepare this kind of humidifier, you need to soak it in distilled water or an activating solution (typically a solution with propylene glycol) for a few minutes. After you soak the humidifier, wipe it off and place it on a towel for at least a few minutes. This ensures that it doesn’t drip any liquid inside your humidor. Re-attach it back onto the humidor.
4.2 Crystal Gel Humidifiers
Humidifier crystals are made from high-grade sodium-based polyacrylamide – a non-toxic, non-biodegradable material which can hold several hundred times its weight in fluid. Cigar humidifier crystals release humidity at a more gradual and steady pace than other forms of humidification.
To activate Woodronic crystal gel humidifier, follow the steps below:
- Fill each crystal gel humidifier 2/3 full with about 15ML/0.5OZ (for smaller-sized humidor) or about 70ML/2.3OZ distilled water (for larger-sized cabinet) into the vents over the sink. DO NOT soak the crystal gel humidifier in the distilled water, but precisely control the distilled water added.
- Wait about an hour to have the crystal gel fully absorbed, and you will observe the crystal gel expands and gets much larger.
- Flip the humidifier over and no water drips, then it is ready to be installed.
- Put the humidifier in the humidor and place the vent part upwards.
4.3 Humidity Control Packets
Humidity control packets designed to add humidity to the cigars in your humidor when they need it, as well as take humidity away when there’s too much.
Take Boveda as an example. Each Boveda pack targets a specific percentage, ranging from 58 - 75%, depending on your desired humidity level. Normally,
one 60g pack is good for 25 cigars. The bigger the humidor, the more packs you may need.
25-Count Humidor: (1) 60g Boveda pack
50-Count Humidor: (2) 60g Boveda packs
100-Count Humidor: (4) 60g Boveda packs or (1) 320-gram Boveda pack
4.4 Electronic Humidification Devices
Electronic humidifiers can automatically keep cigars in desired humidity in a humidoris. They are active once the humidity drops below the desired level and will shut off when it goes back up to that level.
5. Store Your Cigars
After the above steps, when you find the humidor has gradually stayed at a stable humidity you prefer, or a bit higher (around 3%) than the preferred humidity, your cigars are ready to be stored.
You will observe a drop in humidity in the humidor after you place new cigars in. This is because new cigars are always dry, and detract humidity since they soak up moisture from the humidor. If all the cigars are dry, the humidor has to be seasoned after every few days to prevent it from drying out, and meanwhile you will need to check the hygrometer and recharge the humidifier(s) at intervals to maintain the cigars at a proper humidity level.
When your cigars are no longer dry and become accustomed to the humidor, everything will be easier — the humidor will keep a stable humidity level and less maintenance will be required.
If you encounter problems or issues not mentioned above during the set-up or seasoning, check this trouble-shooting post for help: Click Here.