Unless you’re the kind of person that smokes your cigar the same day you buy them, you’re going to need a humidor for storage. Once you properly set up a humidor for your cigars, you will feel a real difference with what you’re smoking. A humidor is essential for the preservation and aging of all cigars, whether you’re spending $5 per stick for $50. That being said, a humidor isn’t ready to go right out the box.
If you don’t perform several preparational steps, the wood will take out the moisture of your cigars and they will become dry and crumbly. Follow the steps below to successfully set up a humidor.
How to season your humidor
Follow the instructions below but be sure not to skip any steps.
Dip the humidifier (the small sponge found inside the humidor) into the distilled water or special humidification solution completely. Keep it there for about 3 minutes to soak. Never use tap water or any other substitutes as they can have minerals or other chemicals that can spoil the humidor and/or cause bacterial growth.
Take your humidifier out of the bowl and dry it with a clean piece of fabric to absorb all excess liquid.
Cover the bottom of your humidifier with a plastic bag. Check if it’s done properly along all the perimeter.
Locate the soaked sponge in the middle onto the plastic bag.
Attach the humidifier and the hydrometer into the humidor.
After closing the lid of the box, leave it for 12 hours minimum. It would be nice if you do it for several days.
The hygrometer will tell you the level of humidity inside your humidor. If its level is not enough you will have to repeat all the steps again. Remember that the safe level of humidity is between 65 and 75%.
At the moment you see these figures on the scale, the humidor is ready for your collection of cigars.
Re-humidifying the humidor
Sometimes it happens that your humidor loses its balance and needs to be re-humidified. It’s simple but requires some accuracy for your humidor to maintain the perfect balance and serve you for many years. For this procedure, you will need a short glass and a little distilled water or humidification solution.
Choose the proper place. It has to be a dry and spacious room. Fill a shot glass with distilled water or special humidification solution and put it at the bottom of the humidor. Special solutions usually contain several components and prevent the growth of mold and bacteria inside the humidor.
Charge the humidifier in an ordinary way. Don’t pour too much water or solution as you aim to moisten the device but not to soak it. Without waiting, put the humidifier back into its place. Dry any excess moisture from the humidifier if needed.
Don’t forget to place the hygrometer into the humidor. Locate it far from the humidifier to guarantee accurate reading of the humidity level.
With patience, wait until the hygrometer tells you that it has already reached the level of 65%, and your humidor is ready for use again.
Most models of the humidors are already provided with the calibrated hygrometer. Remember that the ideal level of humidity is 65%, but there is a so-called safe range to keep cigars fresh. It is from 60 to 75%. Some smokers prefer their cigars when the range is closer to 80%, but still, the storage is maintained at 65%. For such a reason, real connoisseurs obtain two different humidors.
Don’t think too much about the location of the hygrometer as you can place it anywhere convenient for you. Just keep in mind that you must allow airflow for the most accurate reading results. Mount it on the lid of the box or inside the humidor.
Calibrating the hygrometer
A hygrometer as many measuring tools has to be calibrated. Keep in mind that calibration must be carried out not only before the first use but regularly every 3-4 months. The process of calibration is not extremely difficult but for this, you will need a little ionized salt, distilled water, and a plastic container. The last one shouldn’t be large but its bottom must be flat.
- Take a teaspoon of salt and put it into the container.
- Pour a bit of distilled water and mix it to have a pasty substance. Be precise with water, don’t add more than needed, as it can distort the measurement.
- Put your hydrometer next to the paste into the plastic container.
- With the lead closed leave the container for up to 10 hours but not less than 7. Don’t open and move the item.
- After the required time has passed, open the container, take the hygrometer and check. The reading must be from 73 to 77%. If your figures differ it means, that this hygrometer can’t be calibrated. The ideal figure is 75 and the difference between this and your number shows the gap, by which the hygrometer is out of calibration.
The humidifier is a device that maintains the level of humidity inside your humidor and keeps your cigars safe and fresh.
Tips for charging the humidifier
- Take the humidifier from the box.
- Pour some distilled water or special humidification solution into the item through the grate.
- Don’t use more liquid than needed. With the help of a dry cloth wipe any excess water from the front part of the humidifier.
- Put it back to place.
- Pay attention that distilled water increases the level of humidity inside your humidor, when special solutions, on the contrary, decrease it.
Taking care of your cigars
Havana cigars are like wine. They need time to mature. So they will improve their taste over the years if they are kept properly. Don’t forget to fill up your humidifier on time. For this purpose, it’s better to use special humidification solutions which are usually made of polyglycol, distilled water, and mold inhibitors. The second factor that can guarantee the wonderful taste of your cigars over time is the level of humidity, it must fluctuate at the level of 65%, plus/ minus 2%.
The temperature is also important. Aim the range from 65° f to 72° f. To be sure that the conditions are just what you want, you can check the cigars the next way. Press your cigar a little under the band with your thumb. If your cigars feel firm and elastic it means they are in a good condition.
Hard but crispy feelings indicate under humidification, and vice versa very spongy and soft cigars are over humidified.
The so-called white bloom like a mold sometimes appears on the wrappers of cigars. Excessive humidity can be the reason, but it will not spoil the taste. Take a special brush for shaving or any other soft brush and get rid of the bloom, moving towards the open end.
Fresh air is a must for Havana cigars. From time to time open the humidor and rotate your cigars. If you are not a regular smoker do it weekly. Replace the cigars from the bottom layer to the upper one and vice versa. Never store other objects, for example, lighters or cutters inside the section for storing cigars.
Tips and tricks for taking care of your humidor
- Choose a safe place for your humidor to avoid its falling down.
- Direct sunlight is forbidden as it can heat the humidor interior and fade the exterior look of the wood.
- Don’t put anything on the top of the box.
- A soft cloth will suit the best for cleaning the humidor.
- For safe cleaning and polishing, both ordinary furniture polish and beeswax are great. Do it regularly and your humidor will look fantastic.
- If you don’t want to damage the wood, never wipe the humidor inside with a wet cloth soaked in water or any other solution.
When you get a new humidor you can’t wait to fill it with your precious collection of cigars, but stop. You must wait, following several simple steps described above, you will not damage the content. If you start using your humidor before it actually reaches the level of 65% humidity, the results will be very disappointing.