A cigar humidor is a box or any kind of container in which the humidity level is controlled in order to create the ideal environment for storing cigars or tobacco. In this simple guide, we tell you everything you need to know about using a humidor to keep your cigars in prime condition.
What is a cigar humidor?
In order to retain the optimum flavour and strength of your cigars, it’s essential you keep them at a temperature as close as possible to 21°C with near 70% humidity. This is best done using a cigar humidor.
How does a cigar humidor work?
A cigar humidor is designed to mimic the ambient climate required to keep cigars at their best. Storing your cigars in a humidor will ensure they mature well over time. Much like a fine wine, cigars are at their best when they’ve been given a chance to age, but they have to be stored correctly at the proper temperature and humidity, or else they will rapidly lose their freshness and quality.
How do you prepare a humidor?
Don’t make the common mistake of stacking a humidor full of cigars immediately. It needs to be properly prepared in order to function properly.
Before you begin to prepare your humidor, ensure you have all the necessary materials to hand. These include:
- A hygrometer (a device which measures moisture)
- Distilled water
- Plastic bag
If you wish, you could choose to use a complete humidor hydrating kit, which includes everything you need to prepare your humidor prior to use.
You need to ensure your hygrometer is calibrated correctly to measure moisture. To do so:
- Dampen a cloth with warm water
- Wrap the hygrometer in the damp cloth. Leave for half an hour
- Remove the hygrometer from the damp cloth
- Calibrate it to read between 95% and 97%
- If the hygrometer already reads between 95% and 97%, it is ready to use and you do not need to calibrate it
The next step in preparing your humidor is to clean it, if this is necessary. If your humidor is new, it may not need cleaning, but if it has been used previously, you’ll need to remove any tobacco.
To do so, simply spray the inside of the humidor with compressed air, then wipe around the interior of the humidor with a soft cloth.
Next, you will need to season the humidor.
How to set up and use a humidor
- Submerge the humidifier fully in a bowl of distilled water. Do not use tap water as it can damage the element
- Keep the humidifier submerged, face down, for up to 3 minutes
- Remove the humidifier from the bowl, then wipe away any excess water
- Line the bottom of your humidor with a plastic bag
- Dampen a sponge with distilled water then place the sponge on top of the plastic bag
- Place the hygrometer and humidifier in the lid of the humidor
- Close the lid of the humidor, then leave it closed for 12 – 24 hours. The longer you can leave it, the better
- Repeat this process
- The humidity level should now be between 65% and 75%, ready to store your cigars
How to Charge a Cigar Humidifer
In order to ensure your humidor remains at optimum humidity, you will need to charge your humidifier at intervals:
- Remove the humidifier from the humidor
- Using the grate, squirt a specialist humidifying solution, or plain distilled water, into the humidifier. Only use a small amount of liquid, as the aim is to moisten the humidifier, not soak it through
- Using a dry cloth, wipe any excess solution from the front of the unit
- Replace the humidifier in the lid of the humidor
Taking care of your humidor
To ensure your humidor lasts and functions well, you will need to care for it properly. Some handy hints include:
- Store your humidor where there’s no risk of it being knocked over
- Keep your humidor out of direct sunlight
- Use a soft cloth and beeswax polish to clean your humidor
- Do not use water on your humidor, as the wood will be damaged. A damp cloth will suffice
Taking care of your cigars
- An easy way of checking if your cigars are in an optimum condition is to press your thumb below the band. They should be firm to the touch, but spring back when you press them. If they don’t spring back then they are not humidified enough. If they feel soft and spongy, they’re over humidified
- Over humidifying can result in a white, powdery ‘bloom’ forming on your cigars. Whilst this is not harmful, it is unsightly and can easily be removed. You can simply brush the mould away from top to bottom using a shaving or pastry brush
- Ensure you rotate the layers of cigars from top to bottom from time to time if you don’t smoke them often
- Don’t store anything but cigars in your humidor. Your lighter, cigar cutter and any additional cigar accessories should be stored separately so as not to damage your cigars.