How to prepare your humidor?

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 needs 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. Otherwise, if 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.

  1. Place the salt in the bottle cap (or another small container).
  2. Dampen the salt with water, but not so much. A damp pile of salt in the bottle cap is what you need.
  3. Place both the hygrometer and the bottle cap full of damp salt in the ziploc bag and seal it well.
  4. 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. Dampen the Inside of the Humidor

There are a least 3 ways to dampen your humidor. They will make the seasoning process a bit faster, but you need to be careful to avoid damaging your humidor.

2.1  Traditional Methods

  • Get a clean cloth or a sponge and soak it with distilled water. Wring the cloth or sponge out if it gets too wet. Use the cloth or sponge to gently wipe down the entire interior of the humidor. The goal is to dampen the inside of the humidor without getting it too wet. Note: Excess water may damage the wood.

Or

  • Prepare a shot glass of distilled water. Left it inside of the humidor for a few days - one week at least, and up to two weeks.

Whichever option you choose, it’s important that the water doesn’t leak onto the wood. 

2.2  Seasoning Agents

  • Humidity Control Packets

Some humidity control packets can help quicken this seasoning process compared with the traditional methods. Take Boveda as an example. Place 84% Boveda pack(s) inside to season your humidor. Close the lid and don’t open the humidor 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.

The following is the video guide on how to use Boveda to do the seasoning. Note: If you choose Boveda to do the seasoning, no other humidification devices should be used during this process.

 
  • Electronic Humidification Devices

An electronic humidifier like the Cigar Oasis electronic humidifier can also season the interior of a humidor within several hours without the need of going through the traditional steps above.

 

3. 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.

3.1  Foam-type Humidifiers

If you choose traditional methods to dampen the humidor, please also place the well-prepared humidifier back to the humidor and close the lid to wait for the humidity level to rise.

To prepare this kind of humidifier, you need to soak it with distilled water or an activating solution (typically a solution with propylene glycol). 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.

3.2  Humidity Control Packets

Humidity Control Packets can also help maintain the internal humidity. Check out the following video guide to know more about how.

 

3.3  Electronic Humidification Devices

Electronic humidifiers are active units that go on as soon as the humidity drops below the desired level and will shut off when it goes back up to that level.

 

4. Let the Humidor Reach the Right Humidity

The humidity in homes varies by location and time of year and it may take a little experimenting to come up with the right combination for yours. The optimal humidity for a humidor is at about 70%, but anywhere in the 68% to 72% range will keep your cigars in good shape. 

Do not add any cigars to your new humidor until the relative humidity reaches 65% to 75%. This process can take 2 to 15 days depending on your climate and the size of the humidor. If you live in a dry area, it will take longer for the humidity to increase and you may even want to use more than one humidification device.

You can take the seasoning agent out of your humidor after the first 24 to 48 hours. After you remove the seasoning agent, keep your humidor cigar-free for another 24 hours. As long as the humidity is in that acceptable range after that, go ahead and add your cigars.

 

5. Monitor the Humidity

Your humidor should stay at a stable humidity. If you notice the humidity dropping, the most likely reason is that you need to recharge your humidification device. Simply take it out, use either distilled water or activating solution, let it dry, and then put it back in the humidor. Or change another new humidipaks.