Cigar 101: How to Properly Set-up and Maintain Your Humidor – By Mike Holmes

So you have just purchased your first humidor to protect your investment of cigars. Congratulations on entering the world of cigars! Now you might be wondering to yourself, “How do I set up my humidor?” I am glad that you asked that question because I am now going to answer it for you. 

The Initial Set Up

It doesn’t matter what kind of humidor that you have, the set up will virtually be similar. There will be Spanish cedar wood inside of your humidor that you will have to wipe down using distilled water. You should not soak the wood while doing this. Use a clean non-scented sponge, ring it out, then wipe down all of the wood on the inside of your humidor.

Once the wood is wiped down I personally recommend that you pour some distilled water into a shot glass and set it inside your humidor. Now close the humidor and do not touch it for a couple of days. This process could take anywhere from 2-15 days because sometimes you need to repeat the process depending on the size of your humidor.

When your hygrometer (the device on your humidor that measures humidity) reads anywhere from 65-70% then you are ready to add cigars. It is important to add cigars based on how big your humidor is. If you have a small desktop humidor (20-50 cigars) you want to fill it as close to capacity as possible (the same with any other size humidor). The reason you want to keep your humidor filled is because your humidor will hold the humidity better.

I also suggest using Boveda Packs in your humidor to maintain a prescribed consistent humidity level. Keep in mind, Boveda packs work 2 ways, so they give off more humidity or take it out of the air based on the environment that your humidor is in. Boveda packs are an excellent tool for keeping your cigars in pristine condition. Usually you need one 60 gram Boveda pack for every 25 cigars. This will keep your cigars in perfect condition.

There are many ways to season a humidor but for the sake of keeping the process simple for you I did not mention other ways I kept the process very basic. If you have a larger humidor, such as a cabinet humidor, there might be a fan included to keep the air flowing throughout the air space or there might be a humidification device for your humidor which will keep things in pristine condition. These are often set to turn on and off automatically. 

Avoiding Mold

If conditions inside of your humidor get too humid then you are at a high risk for mold to grow on your precious collection of cigars. Always monitor the temperature of your humidor which should be no higher than 73 degrees with 62-73% humidity.

Now you might be asking yourself; ‘What does mold on cigars look like?’ You usually see mold on the cigar wrapper itself. It can be black, white, blue or green in color. I have read, that it is OK to smoke a cigar if the color of the mold is white and hasn’t infiltrated the inside of a cigar, but my personal opinion is, you shouldn’t smoke a cigar with any mold on it.

I personally recommend that you get rid of any cigars found with mold and empty your humidor then wipe the interior with a mixture of isopropyl  alcohol and distilled water. Don’t soak it but wipe it down thoroughly and then leave your humidor open for a few days to let it dry completely. After the interior of your humidor is dry, re-season it and be sure to watch the humidity levels carefully before re-stocking your humidor. 

What are these things called Tobacco beetles? 

Have you ever seen very tiny pin holes on a cigar? Unfortunately that is the result of a tobacco beetle. These small insects eat through cigars and are a very big problem and will destroy your entire stash if not immediately addressed! Tobacco beetles occur when the temperature in your humidor rises too high. Too warm of an environment causes the eggs to hatch and the larvae are the ones that eat the tobacco in order to survive.

If this occurs, you have to pay attention to every single cigar. Toss the cigars that have holes and bag up the ones that don’t. Once you bag up the cigars, put them in the freezer for 3 days. After the 3 days, put the cigars in the refrigerator for 24 hours to bring the temperature down to prevent the wrapper from cracking. During this time clean your humidor thoroughly. Remove any bugs that remain and any eggs. Once the humidor is clean return the humidification device. After the 24 hour period in the refrigerator return your cigars to the humidor and let them acclimate back to the ideal temperature. Keep your humidor away from any heating elements such as too close to a window or anywhere that gives off heat. Keep it in a cool part of your house to avoid another outbreak. 

In Closing

In conclusion, I hope this article has helped you to be more informed about getting started with your humidor and to be aware of the pitfalls that can be a problem. The information in this article is the most basic information. There are other tips and tricks that can be mentioned as well but my goal was to keep it simple and to the point. If you have any questions or comments, always feel free to contact me or post them to the article and I will be happy to chat with you. 

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