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Humidor 101: A Complete Guide to Cigar Humidor Setup and Care

Updated: Feb 24



A cigar humidor with a glass top and 8 cigars inside.


People often ask us, "How long can cigars last?" The answer is that they can last indefinitely, but only if cared for properly. To age cigars gracefully, you need a quality cigar humidor, and your new cigar humidor will require proper setup and care.


Fortunately, it's not a complicated process but requires attention and patience. It all starts with seasoning your humidor. This blog post will outline the necessary steps for preparing a new humidor.


We'll cover setting up a humidor with a standard humidification device. For Boveda packs, follow different guidelines. See below for seasoning with Boveda. Feel free to contact us with any questions.


First, we're focusing on how to set up a humidor with a standard humidification device. You must follow a slightly different process using an alternative humidity source like Boveda packs. We've outlined how to season a humidor with Boveda at the end.


A humidor keeps premium, hand-rolled cigars properly humidified and needs to maintain optimal humidity to function correctly. Humidors are usually made of solid cedar with a wood veneer and come in different sizes and shapes. It's essential to store your humidor at a comfortable room temperature, away from heat sources or sunlight. Most humidors come with a humidification unit and hygrometer, but not all.


WHEN YOU BUY A NEW HUMIDOR, IT NEEDS TO BE PROPERLY SEASONED


What You Need To Set up a Humidor 

1. Humidification Unit 

2. Hygrometer 

3. Propylene Glycol Solution 

4. 1 Gallon Distilled Water 

5. A new, clean, and unused kitchen sponge 

6. A glass dish or stainless steel bowl 

7. A clean towel or dishrag 


Seasoning a humidor takes 3 to 5 days but can vary based on the materials, humidification method, and size. Some enthusiasts take up to 2 weeks to break it in gradually and thoroughly.


Step 1. Calibrate the Hygrometer 


A hygrometer is optional but essential for measuring humidity in a humidor. To ensure accuracy, calibrate it for 6-8 hours. All hygrometers need calibration. We recommend digital hygrometers for precise accuracy.


Step 2. Fill the Humidification Unit. 


1. Remove the humidification unit from its box and place it in a dish.

2. Fill the unit with propylene glycol or distilled water for crystal-based humidifiers.

3. Squirt enough solution into the unit or submerge it in a dish.

4. Shake the unit over a sink to drain the excess solution.

5. For foam units with magnets, apply adhesive magnets before humidifying.

6. Place the unit in the humidor.


Note: Never use tap water. We recommend propylene glycol to prevent over-humidifying.


Step 3. Humidify the Interior of the Humidor. 


Soak a sponge in cold distilled water, ring it out slightly but not entirely, and place it in a plastic bag inside the humidor. If your humidor has a tray or removable shelf, leave it in the box while humidifying the interior so that the shelf itself will absorb humidity as well. Close the lid and wait for at least 3 to 5 days. Place a calibrated hygrometer inside the box to measure the humidity level. 


Step 4. Measure the humidity. 


Check the humidity after 3-5 days. Ideal reading is 75-80% RH. Your cigars will absorb some of this excess moisture. Solid hardwood humidors take longer to humidify. Refill the humidification unit or re-soak the sponge if humidity is low.


Step 5. Fill Your Humidor with Cigars 


You can fill your humidor once your hygrometer reads 75% to 80% relative humidity (RH). We recommend filling at least half the humidor with cigars, but no more than 80 percent, to maintain proper humidity levels inside the humidor. This extra space allows air and humidity to move around more readily, ensuring all cigars can access adequate moisture levels.


Step 6. Perform Regular Maintenance 


As a cigar enthusiast, it's important to remember that your humidor and cigars require regular attention and maintenance. Maintain a 65% to 72% humidity level and refill your humidification unit when the hygrometer reading drops below 60%. Only use distilled water or propylene glycol to refill and avoid tap water to prevent mold growth. Rotate your cigars (move the ones from top to bottom and vice versa) every week or two to maintain humidity levels and ensure even aging. This process gives you a perfect excuse to enjoy your cigars even when you're not smoking one!


Alternative Ways to Season


After two weeks, check the humidity reading. It should be in the low to mid 80% RH.


Replace the 84% humidity pouches with pouches that deliver a lower humidity output. We recommend 65%, 69%, or 72% RH. 


Once your humidor is ready, you can fill it with your favorite cigars from your favorite local cigar shop. Replace the humidity pouches when their humidity level has been exhausted. Boveda pouches will stiffen up over time when their humidity is depleted. When the pouches become firm, it's time to replace them with new ones. 


The number of cigars you store in the humidor, and the number of pouches you use will affect how long each pouch will last. Generally, Boveda pouches last at least two months and sometimes much longer. We carry humidification system products such as Boveda and Propylene Glycol at retail cigar stores in Indianapolis and Carmel.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


1. How long does it take to season a humidor?

- It typically takes 3 to 5 days to properly season a humidor, but aficionados may take up to 2 weeks for a more thorough process.


2. What is the best way to season a humidor?

- The best way to season a humidor is to use distilled water or a propylene glycol solution to humidify the interior, ensuring the wood absorbs moisture gradually. A humidification unit and a sponge can help maintain consistent humidity levels during the seasoning process.


3. What humidity level should I aim for in my humidor?

- Aim for a humidity level between 65% and 72% RH (Relative Humidity) to preserve your cigars properly.


4. How do I calibrate a hygrometer?

- Calibrating a hygrometer involves placing it in a sealed bag with a humidification source for several hours to ensure accuracy. Each manufacturer often provides detailed instructions for specific hygrometer models.


5. Should I use distilled water or propylene glycol solution for humidification?

- Both distilled water and propylene glycol solution are suitable for humidification, but propylene glycol is preferred during the initial seasoning process as it helps prevent over-humidification and protects against bacteria.


6. How often should I refill the humidification unit?

- Refill the humidification unit with distilled water or propylene glycol solution whenever the humidity level drops below the desired range, typically every 1 to 2 weeks.


7. Can I use tap water in my humidification unit?

- Tap water should not be used as it can introduce impurities and potentially lead to mold growth. Stick to distilled water or propylene glycol solution for humidification.


8. How do I prevent mold in my humidor?

- To prevent mold, maintain proper humidity levels, avoid using tap water, regularly clean and inspect your humidor, and ensure adequate air circulation.


9. What temperature should I keep my humidor at?

- Keep your humidor at a comfortable room temperature, ideally between 65°F and 70°F, and away from direct sources of heat or sunlight.


10. Do I need to rotate my cigars?

- Yes, rotating your cigars periodically ensures even aging and prevents moisture buildup in certain areas. Rotate them every week or two to maintain consistent conditions.


11. How do I know if my cigars are properly humidified?

- Properly humidified cigars should feel firm but not too dry or spongy. Additionally, the wrapper should be smooth and free from cracks or tears.


12. What is the best way to store cigars in a humidor?

- Store cigars vertically in the humidor to allow for proper air circulation. Avoid overcrowding the humidor to ensure even humidification.


13. Can I use Boveda packs instead of a traditional humidification unit?

- Boveda packs are an effective alternative for maintaining humidity levels in a humidor. They release a predetermined humidity level and are convenient to use.


14. How often should I check the humidity level in my humidor?

- Check the humidity level in your humidor regularly, at least once a week, to ensure it remains within the optimal range.


15. Do I need to season my humidor if it's been sitting empty for a while?

- Yes, if your humidor has been empty for an extended period, it's advisable to season it again to maintain proper moisture levels before storing cigars.


Feel free to stop in or call us with any further questions. We are always happy to help.

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