Humidor Care & Maintenance

If you’re going to keep your cigars around for longer than 1-2 weeks, you’ll need a humidor. For those of you who don’t know, humidors are a kind of box or room that maintains constant humidity in order to store cigars, cigarettes, or pipe tobacco in peak condition. They are designed to mimic the humid climate of the countries where cigars are typically made.

Humidors are important because they allow cigars to be stored for a long period of time (and allow you to stock up and enjoy them longer!). Keeping your humidor clean and functioning is just as essential.

Below are two ways to help you keep your humidor in top condition.

Seasoning Your Humidor

Source: Cigar Standard – Prestige Bellevue Humidor, $38.99

A new or seldom-used humidor must be seasoned before putting your cigars inside. Humidors with unseasoned wood are likely to dry out stored cigars (which is the exact reason you bought the humidor in the first place).

Things You’ll Need

  1. Distilled water (do not use tap water)
  2. Clean, unscented sponge or cloth

Step-By-Step Care Guide

Note: Before beginning the seasoning process, make sure to carefully read any directions that may have come with your humidor.

  1. Using the sponge or cloth, wipe down the humidor’s inside, lid, and any trays with distilled water. Be careful not to oversaturate the interior.
  2. Place sponge on top of cellophane/plastic bag and put it inside the humidor. Make sure it isn’t touching any wood.
  3. Fill your humidification device with either distilled water or a humidifying solution.
  4. Close the humidor and wait for 24 hours. Repeat the wipe-down procedure, but don’t leave the sponge inside this time. Wait another 24 hours.
  5. Check for dampness before adding cigars to humidor.

Another way to bring wood to optimal humidity level is to place a small container of distilled water inside the humidor for 1-3 days.

Get Rid of Tobacco Beetles

lasioderma_serricorne01 (Citation) Source: Wikipedia

What are tobacco beetles? These tiny pests are capable of ruining entire stocks of cigars by eating the tobacco and laying eggs! Most eggs hatch around 77 °F (25 °C), so make sure your humidor doesn’t get hotter than 68 °F (20 °C), just to be safe.

How do you know when you have tobacco beetles? One telltale sign is a pinhole-sized hole in your cigar. If you see a beetle, don’t panic—there’s still hope for your cigars. Take note: When you’ve received new cigars, inspect your humidor every few days, especially if you live in a hot or humid climate.

It’s important to do the following steps as a precaution when you get new cigars or when you notice a beetle outbreak. Do these steps (also listed below) for every cigar in your humidor.

Things You’ll Need

  1. Ziploc plastic bags
  2. Freezer
  3. Fridge

Step-By-Step Care Guide (Cigars International)

  1. Empty the entire contents of your humidor.
  2. Place each cigar in the Ziploc bags.
  3. Seal each bag tightly and place them in your freezer for three days.
  4. In the meantime, clean your humidor to remove any remaining beetles or eggs.
  5. Move the Ziploc bags into the fridge.
  6. After 24 hours in the fridge, transfer the cigars back into your humidor.

The freezing process will kill beetles or eggs in your cigars. Take note that the infestation was probably the result of an increase in temperature within your humidor. According to Cigars International, the best way to prevent this from happening is to never place your humidor near or on top of heating or cooling elements, under hot artificial lights, or in direct sunlight.

Other Things You Should Know

  1. The ideal relative humidity in a humidor is around 68-72% humidity, preferably at room temperature (70 °F). Though it depends on your preference, the humidity level should never go beyond 75%, due to the possibility of attracting tobacco beetles. (Also be aware that seasons can affect humidity levels. For tips on how to handle winter dryness, click here.)
  2. Humidors made with an interior veneer of Spanish cedar are more likely to repel tobacco beetles. Spanish cedar also holds more moisture, is less prone to “warping” in high humidity, and leaves its fragrance on cigars.
  3. Don’t own a humidor but still want to keep your cigar fresh? Lightly dampen a paper towel with water, place the towel and the cigar in a Ziploc bag in the vegetable compartment of your fridge, and there you go (NOTE: Only to be used for cigars still in their cellophane sleeve)! Another alternative would be to keep the cigar in a cool, dark place.
  4. PRO TIP: Rotate the cigars every so often inside your humidor. This helps ensure that they all receive equal levels of humidification.