Seasoning a new Cigar Humidor

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 may have heard of people lightly wiping down the cedar with a damp cloth. Some people recommend this, while others say you’ll damage the cedar. Probably best to use the sponge/plate method above, to ensure your humidor doesn’t get damaged.

Allow humidor to season

Close the lid on your humidor, and let sit for 3 days. On the 3rd 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 3rd day, remove the shot glass (or bowl). 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.

Discuss here:

Check Also

Proper way of lighting a cigar

Lighting a cigar correctly is important to enjoying a good smoke, as you want your …


  1. good points but have to disagree with cigars out of cellophane will marry with other cigars flavors. Cellophane is porous so leaving it on will still marry with other flavors. Otherwise if this was true then leaving cigars in cellophane would also not make cigars be able to breathe therefore making it useless to reap the benefits of controlled RH in a humidor.

    • Yes cellophane is porous, but I think he meant more, if the cigars are out of the cellophane touching each other, the favors will meld together a lot quicker. the cellophane acts as a filter/barrier. Plus most people smoke their cigars within the year of purchase, so not a worry if you ask me.

  2. Great advise! Got humidifier as a gift and looking forward to some good smoking.

  3. Part of your process is putting a damp sponge on a plate in the humidor for 3 days. But elsewhere in your instructions it says that somewhere along the way we have put a shot glass or bowl of water in the new humidor, and we are to take it out at a certain point. I have re-read your instructions several times and can find no reference to putting a shot glass or bowl of water in the humidor. If we are to do that, when?

  4. I’m still on the fence on cellophane on or off, I first went with leave them on but found that the head of the cigar were drying out and splitting when cutting them, but if I slide the cellophane down 1/2 a inch or so it would take care of the problem, but it takes up more room in the humidor. So if I’m going to be smoking them soon aka in the next few months I take off the cellophane.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *