Cigars are a symbol of class. So, for something as rich in taste and feel, only the best care is needed when it comes to storage and maintenance. That’s where the humidor comes in. But, it’s not enough to buy a good humidor. You must clean and more importantly, season the humidor box
But what is a humidor, and why and how do you clean a humidor and season it?
Cigars are the divas of the tobacco world - if they get anything more or less than the perfect amount of humidity, they can lose their quality and can even go bad. So, you need a humidor to maintain proper moisture levels for cigars and keep them fresh and flavorful for an optimized smoking experience. Using a humidor to store your cigars will also help them improve with age - yes, like wine, even cigars can get better with age, but only if preserved properly.
Part of the process of setting up a humidor is the seasoning. The inside of your new humidor can be dry and can suck all the moisture out of your cigars, leaving them dry. However, seasoning can prevent that by providing moisture to the humidor wood directly. Seasoning will further help seal the humidor properly (in most cases). So, simply put - seasoning is essential for both the cigars and the humidor.
You may pick any of the listed methods to season the humidor but before you choose any method, it’d be best to examine the instructions in the manual or on the box to check for any specific steps for cleaning or seasoning your humidor. In any case, first make sure that when you open the packaging, you remove all the debris from manufacturing.
Unless there are specific manufacturer’s instructions on “how to clean the humidor”, you can clean it with a “just damp” cloth or sponge dipped in distilled water as well if you like. However it’s crucial to ensure that you do not pour any water inside the humidor or use a dripping wet material to clean the interior part - use only a slightly damp cloth or sponge.
Water tends to easily damage wood, making it warp. Most humidors are made of Spanish Cedar wood, which preserves the freshness and flavor profile of your sticks. However the disadvantage is that it can absorb water easily in comparison to other woods. So treading with caution is key when you’re cleaning or seasoning your Spanish Cedar humidor with distilled water.
Also remember that it’s not a good idea to use tap water to clean the inside of your humidor, as it may leave stains of mineral deposits. Moreover, be sure to use a clean sponge or preferably a new sponge that has never been used before to clean the interior of the humidor box.
You’ve understood that both cleaning and seasoning a humidor box are an essential part of setting it up. In the previous section, we’ve discussed “how to clean a humidor”. Now let’s look at how to season it:
A. Traditional Seasoning Method
The conventional method of seasoning a humidor is a thorough process that takes a reasonably long time. It starts with the calibration of the hygrometer.
Hygrometer Calibration Using Salt Test
A hygrometer is a tool used for measuring air humidity. It’s a useful accessory in the process of seasoning the humidor box. First, you’ll have to calibrate the hygrometer. Hygrometers come calibrated from the factory. But it’s a good idea to test your hygrometer to ensure an accurate reading.
Calibration is a time-consuming but easy process. For this, you’ll need salt, distilled water, a plastic bag, and your hygrometer. The principle is simple: when you add a few drops of water to a tablespoon of salt, 75% humidity is released.
Here’s how to go about the calibration:
● Take a tablespoon of salt and add a few drops of distilled water to it to get a cakey mix. Make sure that the salt doesn’t dissolve. Place this mix in a bottle cap.
● Next, put the cap filled with the wet salt inside a plastic bag, along with the hygrometer.
● Then seal the bag shut and let moisture build up inside of it. This process will take 8-12 hours.
● Check the hygrometer. If the reading shows 75%, the hygrometer doesn’t need adjustment.
● If there’s an error, you can either adjust it or keep a note of the degree of error value and consider it when measuring the humidor humidity level.
You can also use a calibration kit containing a plastic bag and salt packets for this process.
The process of seasoning a humidor is quite simple. For this, you’ll need:
a) Distilled water or propylene glycol
b) New kitchen sponge
c) Paper towel
d) Plastic bag
e) Large clean bowl
f) Calibrated hygrometer
g) Cigar humidifier
Now it’s time to start the actual seasoning process. Here’s a step-by-step guide for you:
a) Soak the sponge in propylene glycol or distilled water for humidor seasoning.
b) Once the sponge gets completely saturated, wring the sponge so that the sponge is not dripping. But make sure that it’s still very wet.
c) Now, put the plastic bag in the humidor and place the sponge on it to prevent any liquid from seeping into the wood.
d) Next, put propylene glycol or distilled water in the large bowl.
e) Now, soak the humidifier in this bowl’s liquid till it’s saturated.
f) Then, take the cigar humidifier out and place it on paper towels, face down, for about half an hour. This will help drain out the excess liquid.
g) After this, you need to place the humidifier and the hygrometer inside the humidor, along with any other wooden trays or dividers that the humidor might have come with.
h) Keep them locked inside the humidor for a day and then check the hygrometer. It should read 80-85%.
i) Put the hygrometer back and wait for another day. Recheck the hygrometer. This time, the reading should come down to around 70%, which is what you’re looking for.
j) If you notice that the humidor humidity is 74% or above, you’ll need to wait for another day.
Another method of seasoning the cigar humidor is the wipe down approach.
Here’s a step-by-step procedure of what you’ll need to do:
a) Soak the sponge in distilled water properly and wring out every bit of the excess water until it’s nothing more than damp. You can also use pre-moistened seasoning wipes instead.
b) Remove the humidifier and the hygrometer from the humidor.
c) Wipe down the humidor’s exposed surface areas inside. Be slow and leave nothing but a thin water layer on the wood, only to darken the surface color slightly.
d) Don’t forget to wipe the wooden trays and dividers, as well.
e) Now, place them inside the humidor for 24 hours.
f) During this time, you can calibrate the hygrometer.
g) After 24 hours, add the hygrometer, along with the cigar humidifier box, inside the humidor.
h) Now, wait for another day, after which the hygrometer reading should come to around 70%, which is the best humidity for cigars. If it’s more than 74%, then give it a little more time.
Even though this method is a little faster than the traditional way, it’s not popular, for obvious reasons. That’s because this method can easily saturate the humidor, as wood is more susceptible to warping or developing mold, as previously explained. This kind of shock seasoning can harm your humidor’s seal, too.
The ideal way to season humidor boxes is to go traditional. Once it’s seasoned, make sure to fill at least 50% of your humidor with cigars so that the biosphere inside remains consistent.
The ideal humidity inside the humidor is around 70%. So, keep checking the humidor and the humidifier every 2-3 weeks. With proper care, your humidor should be able to protect your cigars for a long time, keeping them fresh and enhancing their flavor with time.
Now that you know how to clean a humidor and even season it, it's for you to get one. Browse through our catalog of cabinets, lockers, coolers, desktop or travel humidors and then get the right air purifier to go with it. Get all you need right here!
Read other article:
How to choose a humidor that will keep your cigars fresh.
How to keep the air clean around you when you smoke:
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