Whenever you buy a new humidor, you always need to ensure that it is seasoned before you put any cigars into it. You need to allow 2 to 5 days to season a new humidor, sometimes longer. If you put your cigars into it before it is ready, you run the risk of ruining the cigars.
Many humidors come with instructions which tell you how they should be seasoned. If these are included make your follow them or you may void any manufacturer’s warranty.
Why do you need to season a humidor?
Humidors keep your cigars at the optimum humidity so you can enjoy your cigars whenever you want to. If your humidor isn’t properly seasoned, you risk damaging them.
- If your humidor does not have enough moisture in it, your cigars will dry out, crack and soon become unsmokeable.
- If you humidor has too much moisture in it your cigars could quite simply go moldy.
Seasoning your humidor will mean that it is perfectly set up to retain the moisture by treating the Spanish cedar wood which goes inside. Spanish Cedar has unique properties. It absorbs moisture, so if there is too much moisture in your humidor, the wood will absorb it. If your humidor is too dry, the wood will release the moisture back in to the air to stop your cigars from drying out.
What you will need
When you have your new humidor there are a number of items you will need to help you season it and set it up. You can buy kits which have everything you need, or you can purchase the items individually. Many things you need you will already have
- A humidifier, which usually comes with the humidor.
- A hygrometer calibration kit to help you monitor the humidity.
- 1 bottle of distilled water. Do not use tap water as this can contain chemicals which can damage your cigars.
- Charging or wetting solution.
- A dry, clean kitchen sponge or a shot glass.
- A large bowl or container for the water
- A plastic sandwich bag or cellophane
- Paper towels or a clean rag
How to season a humidor
To get the best results and make sure your cigars are well stored, take your time and make sure that all steps are followed. Seasoning a humidor is not a process to be rushed.
- Using paper towels, a dry rag or a clean dish sponge, first wipe down the inside of the humidor with distilled water. You just need to cover the inside with moisture and not saturate it. If your humidor smells of chemicals leave the lid open for approximately one day to allow it to dry.
- Now you need to set up the humidifier. Fill the humidifier with distilled water then turn it upside down and shake it. You can also fill it with a 50/50 solution or a polyglycol solution. Hold it over a sink or bowl until it has stopped dripping. Put it inside the humidor, ideally on the underside of the lid towards the center.
- Before you put your hygrometer in the humidor, you should calibrate it first. This can take up to 6 hours and you can buy kits to help you test it. Once it has been calibrated, put it in the humidor, either next to the humidifier or in one of the corners of the lid.
- Put your plastic sandwich or cellophane in the bottom of the humidor.
- Fill a clean bowl with distilled water and put your kitchen sponge in it. Squeeze the sponge and if any soap bubbles appear, throw the water and sponge away and start again. You need to get the sponge full of water, but not so full that it is dripping, and then put it in the humidor on top of the cellophane or plastic bag. Now you need to close the lid and wait for at least three days. The longer you leave it the better your humidor will be seasoned. During this time as the water in the sponge starts to evaporate, the Spanish cedar will slowly absorb it.
- Check the hygrometer and don’t worry if it reads rather high. You need it to reach 80% or more, then take out the sponge and the bag and close the lid again. Leave the humidor until the reading is 70% and it is then ready you to put your cigars inside.
Leave your cigars in the humidor for a couple of days until your reading is approximately 67%. You cigars are now ready for you to enjoy or you can leave them until you are ready to smoke them.
Some larger humidors will take longer to season, but the same process applies. As you add to your collection you may find you set up humidors for different kinds of cigars. The more you experience you have with seasoning humidors, the more you will be able to gauge the time you need to allow for each part of the process.