Congratulations! You got a brand new, beautiful humidor for Christmas! It lovely and pretty and just sitting there because you’re unsure about what to do next. Don’t put your cigars in it yet! First, you need to season your humidor so that it keeps your cigars in pristine condition.
Your New Humidor
A humidor is an airtight container for keeping your cigars and tobacco moist. It’s important, when you first get a humidor, to season it so that it retains humidity better. Although this process takes several days, it’s not complicated. It’s definitely a process you’ll want to use, though, as it will preserve your cigars more effectively. In fact, if you put cigars into a humidor before the wood has had a chance to absorb any moisture, it will absorb the moisture from your cigars and dry them out, ruining them!
Seasoning Your Humidor
Because humidors are wood, and wood is porous, you need to increase the moisture content of the wood so that it continues to maintain the proper humidity level.
Start by wiping down the inside with a dry cloth (a damp cloth can cause the wood to warp).
Next, make sure your hygrometer is calibrated properly to ensure that it’s measuring the amount of humidity in your humidor accurately.
The Wipe Down Method
This is one of the most popular methods because it’s very simple. However, although it’s simple, if it’s not done properly you risk damaging the wood of your humidor. For this method, you will need distilled water (it’s very important that you use distilled water to avoid any mineral deposits that could clog up or damage your humidor), a clean unscented sponge or cloth, and some patience.
Get Your Humidor Ready
Start by dampening your sponge or cloth with the distilled water, then wipe down all the wood inside of the humidor, including the lid and any trays. Be very careful not to overly saturate the interior wood with water. Once you’re finished, wipe down any wooden dividers and trays that came with your humidor using the same method and place them in your humidor.
Next, moisten the sponge with more distilled water so that it’s damp but not dripping, then place it inside the humidor on a plastic bag (to avoid contact with the wood) and close the lid.
Prepare your humidification device according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the humidification element is filled, be sure to wipe it down to remove all the excess water. Rest it on a hand towel for approximately 30 minutes.
The Hard Part
Finally, close the humidor for 24 hours and wait. The next day, repeat the wipe down procedure using distilled water and the sponge, but do not leave the sponge inside this time, and wait another 24 hours.
If you have a hygrometer inside the humidor, use it to ensure that your humidity level is between 68-70%. If the humidity is lower than 72% on the day after the second treatment, then repeat the wipe down procedure for a third time (you may also need to test your hygrometer or recharge your humidification device). Once your humidor holds stead around 70-72% for 24 hours, it’s seasoned properly and you can safely load it with your cigars (your cigars will absorb some of the moisture and your humidor should stay around 68-70% humidity).
This video will give you a visual demonstration of how to season your humidor.
Other Seasoning Options
There are other ways to season your humidor, including one by Boveda, which offers a comprehensive set of instructions for how to use their products to properly seal and maintain your humidor. If you are concerned about using the Wipe Down method, you may want to read up on their seasoning tools.
Another option is to use “Active” seasoning. This is similar to the wipe down method, except that you start by placing the sponge in a bowl, and soaking it with distilled water or propylene glycol solution. Then wring it out and place it in the cigar humidor on top of the plastic bag (to keep it from saturating the wood). After you place the cigar humidifier (and any wooden trays or dividers) and hygrometer in the humidor, you close it up and wait for 48 hours.
After 48 hours, the sponge should be completely dry. Remove it and refill the cigar humidifier by soaking it in water or propylene glycol solution again. Just like before, drain the excess liquid, place it back in the humidor, and close it for another 24 hours. After another 24 hours, check the humidity level. It should be close to 70 percent. If it’s at 72-73 percent, that’s fine. If it’s higher than 74 percent, wait for another 24 hours and it should fall to the right level.
Now that you’ve properly seasoned your humidor, it’s time to load it up with your cigars!