Seasoning Your Humidor
It takes time, patience and a little know-how to get a new humidor ready to hold cigars. You’re trying to recreate the tropical environments where most cigars are made, and you can’t rush the process. Putting cigars into a dry humidor can ruin good smokes, so take the time and read and follow the directions below.
Most humidors have an interior made of untreated Spanish cedar, the preferred wood for humidifying and aging premium cigars. The wood needs to be humidified, or seasoned, before the box is ready to hold cigars. If you purchase a Cigar Oasis Humidifier you will not have to season your humidor manually as the Cigar Oasis will do this for you in eight hours.
The first thing to do Take a NEW sponge- make sure it is unscented and free of soap — and wet it with a liberal dose of distilled water (Do not use Tap Water). Wipe down all the exposed wood, including any trays and dividers, and the interior of the lid. Do no wet Exterior wood surfaces. Avoid using a paper towel or a fraying cloth; these will literally leave a paper trail on the wood. After you’ve wiped down the wood, squirt the sponge with more distilled water, then place it inside the humidor on a plastic bag–to avoid direct contact with the wood–and close the lid.
Close the humidor with the damp sponge inside, and leave it overnight. The next day, check the sponge. If it is fairly dry, add more distilled water. If it is very damp, leave it alone.
Let the humidor sit another night, and then remove the sponge and plastic bag. The walls of the humidor have now absorbed all the water they need, and now you can safely store your cigars.
Examine the hygrometer. Follow instruction for the device if specific instruction is provided. Otherwise, most units can be easily removed from the humidor. Most hygrometers are pre-calibrated; wait at least 48 hours after installing it in the humidor before proceeding with the next step. If the hygrometer is removable follow these instructions: place the hygrometer in a wet cloth for 1/2 an hour or until the unit reads 95 – 100%. If the hygrometer does not reach 95-100%, you will need to calibrate the hygrometer as detailed below for the salt test.
Setting Up Your Humidifier and Maintaining Humidity
When you first set up your humidor you will need to charge the humidifier. Charging the humidification device simply means to fill it properly. To prepare your humidification device, use only humidor PG Solution or distilled water. Do not use Tap water as it contains minerals that will destroy most humidification systems by leaving deposits that will clog the humidification element.
Fill the humidifier initially with Humidor PG Solution or distilled water. Simply fill a container large enough to hold the humidification device then add PG Solution or distilled water to the container covering the entire humidification device and let it soak for at least 20 minutes. Your goal is to have the device(s) well moistened but not totally saturated. Then remove the humidification device and wipe it down to remove all the excess water. Rest it upside down on a hand towel for approximately 10 minutes. Any moisture that escapes was simply excess.
Once ready, select the location where you will place your humidifier inside your humidor. Some humidors have a pre-designated location while others allow you to decide where to place it. Some humidification devices come with a method of attachment to the humidor. This may be Velcro or a magnet. These attachment methods use an adhesive which must attach to a clean, dry surface. Allow 1-2 hours for cure time before fastening the device as the moistened humidifier will pull the adhesive if not cured properly.
You will periodically need to add more humidity to your humidor. How frequently will be determined by numerous factors including the location the humidor is placed, environmental conditions, frequency opened, etc. The easiest way to tell you need more humidity is to monitor the hygrometer. A reading of 70% relative humidity (RH) is the most desirable. Once the humidity drops 3 to 4 percentage points below your chosen ideal RH 70%, it is time to add more humidity. You should use PG Solution or Distilled water following the steps above when you first set your humidification device.
Occasionally a humidor will become too humid. On these occasions, you can leave your humidor open partially to allow some of the humidity to escape, or add some cigars into the humidor. The cigars will help absorb some of the excess humidity.