How to season your new humidor - step by step guide

Rod

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Season a humidor correctly the first time to ensure proper setup and operation. A common question asked among new cigar smokers is “How do you season a humidor?“ Here’s a quick guide that should answer most questions…

Assuming you just purchased a new desktop humidor, you’re going to want to wait before putting any cigars in it until it has been properly seasoned, and is holding humidity at the proper percentage. It’s important to properly season your humidor, because if you don’t, your cigars will dry out and you’ll never be able to maintain proper RH (relative humidity). Your humidor is made of wood (typically Cedar). Wood is very dry, therefore, if you put your cigars in your humidor without properly seasoning it, the wood will absorb any moisture that is in your cigars, causing them to dry out. Therefore, make sure you season your new humidor properly, and don’t rush the process. Following this guide will ensure a well seasoned humidor that will provide the proper RH and years of headache free maintenance.

Before we get started with the step by step procedure for seasoning your new humidor, let’s go over some components of your new humidor. Most humidors ship with a very basic hygrometer (usually analog) and a very simple humidifier. Aside from your humidor having a good seal, these two components play a major role in maintaining proper humidity. It’s a good idea to upgrade to a better humidifier (possibly humidification beads or a gel jar – both work well and are low maintenance). You’ll also want to consider upgrading to a quality digital hygrometer. Analog hygrometers tend to be inaccurate. When it comes to charging your humidification device (your humidor will typically ship with a cheap floral foam humidifier) be sure to use PG Solution. PG Solution is a mixture of distilled water and propylene glycol solution. PG helps maintain humidity at 70%. You can also just use distilled water, though if you’re charging floral foam, it’s best to use PG Solution as it is mixed to create a 70% humidity environment.. If you’re charging humidification beads or gel, you’ll want to use distilled water.

Components of your new humidor

  • Floral Foam Humidifier
  • Analog Hygrometer
It is recommended that you upgrade to the these items
  • Gel Jar Humidifier ($5) or Beads ($15)
  • Digital Hygrometer ($20)
Now that you are more familiar with your humidor and it’s different components, lets move on to the seasoning process.

Choose the location for your humidor

Find a location for your new humidor. It’s always a good idea to pick a cool location, where the sunlight won’t beat on it all day long. You don’t want to subject your cigars to unnecessary heat, as it will have a negative affect on your cigars. Always best to store your cigars in a cool location and in a safe place (where it won’t get knocked down).

Charging the humidifier

Charge your humidifier with PG Solution and install the hygrometer (they both usually affix to the underside of the top lid). If you’re using beads or a gel jar, use distilled water. Note: do not use both the floral foam humidifier and the gel jar, use one or the other. If using the gel jar, simply place the jar somewhere in the humidor. Follow directions on jar for re-charging it.

Season with distilled water

Next, get a sponge and dampen it with some distilled water. Place the semi-wet sponge on a flat plate, and then put it in the humidor with the lid closed. This will help accelerate the seasoning process, just remember not to open the lid for a few days. Every time you open the lid, all of the humidity will escape, making the seasoning process less effective.

You can also place a shot glass filled with distilled water inside of your humidor as well. Again, leave it there for at least 5 days, with the lid closed.

Allow humidor to season

Close the lid on your humidor, and let sit for 5 days. On the 5th day, open up your humidor and check the RH reading. It should be around 75%, or perhaps a little higher. Reason it’s high is because you have added extra humidity sources (shot glass of distilled water). If your humidor is reading at least 72% or more on the 5th day, remove the shot glass (or sponge). Close the lid and let sit for at least 2 or 3 more days. Do not unnecessarily open the lid, you will get best results by allowing your humidor to rest and allow the seasoning process to do its thing.

Check humidor regularly

If after a few more days your humidor is reading and holding steady at 70%, go ahead and start filling it up with cigars.Sometimes it’s best to gradually add cigars; for instance, start by adding only 25 cigars. Wait a day, and if your humidity is holding steady at around 70%, feel free to add more cigars. You don’t have to gradually add cigars, it is just a suggestion.

That’s it! You’ve properly seasoned your new humidor. Having followed this guide will take a lot of the headache out of maintaining proper RH. Assuming you maintain your humidor and make sure the humidifier is always charged, and your RH has not dramatically dropped, you’ll never have to season the humidor again.

What is the proper RH to store cigars?

Some notes pertaining to RH… Everyone has their own opinion on how much humidity you should maintain in your humidor. The general rule of thumb is 70%. Personally, I feel this is too humid, and doesn’t allow the cigars to burn properly. High RH also covers up some of the true flavors from the cigar; plus it can cause mold to grow. I like to keep my cigars at 65% RH, as I have noticed they smoke best at this point and also burn evenly without constantly going out.

The safe RH range is 60%-70%. Experiment and see what works best for you. Dropping below 60% may cause your cigars to dry out; going above 70% WILL cause mold to grow.

What is the proper temperature to store cigars?

The last point I’d like to touch upon is temperature. Without going into too much detail, it’s a good idea to keep your cigars between 60F-75F. If the temp goes much higher than 75F, you’re at risk for tobacco beetles. Tobacco beatles like to lay eggs on tobacco leaf, and if your cigar has eggs in the tobacco, they may hatch at 80F +. If the eggs hatch, the beetles will eat your cigars, and you’ll be left with cigars that look like swiss cheese. Aside from beetles being a threat, cigars prefer it at 75F or less; this will prevent them from becoming damaged.
That’s all there is to it. I hope you enjoy your new humidor!

Cigar Cello – Leave it or take it off?

Most new cigar smokers always ask – “Cello on or off?”. This again is a personal preference. My advice is to leave the cellophane on, even if you’re aging cigars. The cellophane will help keep the cigar from getting damaged (cigar wrappers are very delicate and will crack/split easily). Also, if you’re storing different types of cigars and the cellophane is off, the cigars will “marry” over time, and pick up each others flavors. I highly advise leaving the cellophane on, though do what works best for you.
 

MichaelD

What does this button do again?
#2
There is still some great info here but with the introduction of Boveda packets, some of the above technics have fallen out of favor. It's just so much easier to throw in a couple of 84% Boveda seasoning packets and a dish of distilled water for a couple of weeks and call it a day.
 
#3
Good evening gentlemen,
After reading through, carefully, the instructions at the head of this thread and noting the suggestion for Boveda seasoning packets I would like to ask an opinion, or two.

I recently stepped up from a 25 count Humidor to a 50 count, partitioned Humidor with partial glass top. (See picture)
I have a digital Hygrometer inside the unit to keep a check on the Analog and they seem to be in disagreement.

After three weeks of "water dish" and humidifier work I have the analog reading at 58% (up from 48% when purchased and after overnight treatment) The digital Hygrometer is reading 75% at 77.2 degrees F

The Humidor is not branded but is marked with "Sure Seal Lid Technology".

I am somewhat loathe to place any cigars in it until I can figure out some reason for the difference between the Hygrometers.

Any opinions/ ideas would be welcomed.
Kind regards,
L
 
#7
Good afternoon, just thought I'd stop back this way and update on how far I've gotten.

According to my digital Hygrometer I had it stable, with no sticks in it, at 76.3 deg. F and 77% humidity. I took the water bowl treatment away and put in the circular humidifier that I bought with the humidor. I also added a jar of the humidity control beads that I got from Thompson's. After a few days the temperature was steady at 73 deg F and the humidity had fallen away to 63%. In the meantime my new digital hygrometer arrived and I set it up along with a bowl of water again. At this time/date I have the following figures; 71.4 deg. F and 72% humidity.

I have 20 pieces, budget price but reasonable enough smokes, to put a little stock in and see what happens. Will report back after action. Tally ho, wot!!! :D
 
#8
Good afternoon, yep, it's Lionheart again with another riveting episode in the "Show and tell Humidor Preparation Show" :p

Okay, 24 hours ago, the cigars I mentioned had arrived. I checked the humidor and I was sitting at 68.6 deg F and 76.7% humidity. I put 12 sticks in and left it for 24 hours with 1 circular humidifier (came with the humidor) and a jar of Gel beads (ex Thompson Cigars) When I checked a little while ago it was recording 75.9 deg F and 69% humidity.

The humidity may be a little high but bear in mind I only have 12 sticks in a 50 capacity humidor. I would prefer the humidity around 64% so that's what I'll be working on now. Lower the humidity a little and maintain it there.

Any thoughts, further suggestions and helpful hints greatly appreciated and I hope that this 'blow-by-blow' description might give others some useful pointers.
Cheers, Tally Ho wot!!! :D
 

Rod

Administrator
Staff member
#11
Lose the gel and foam humidifiers.

Get a couple of Boveda packs and walk away.
Doing this will get you the best results with the least amount of work. Kinda like that "set it and forget it" thing that guy used to sell on TV in the 90's. :D
 
#12
Good afternoon all,
Thanks for the advice, will investigate. At this point, beg to report, 72 hours in, temp at 73.2 deg F, humidity level at 65%.
Will get me some Boveda packs ASAP.
Thanks again, Tally Ho wot!!!
T
 
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