So you have taken the leap and bought your first humidor. Congratulations! Before you start stacking your stogies inside of it, however, you will need to set it up and season your humidor, in addition to knowing how to clean it in the future. Below are some helpful tips for setting up and cleaning your cigar humidor.
Setting Up Your Humidor
- Make sure you have all of the necessary materials for setting up your humidor. In addition to the humidor itself, you will need distilled water, a sponge, a plastic bag, a clean cloth or rag, a towel, the humidifier, and a hygrometer (the last two items are often included with the humidor. If they are not, you will be need to purchase them from a cigar shop).
- Calibrate the hygrometer, as you will be able to complete the other steps while waiting for it to be ready. Dampen the towel in warm water and wrap it around the hygrometer for 30 minutes, or until the hygrometer reads 95 to 97% humidity; if it already has this reading, you will not need to calibrate it.
- Wipe down the inside of the humidor with a dampened clean cloth or rag, particularly if the humidor is old. If there are loose bits of tobacco still inside of the humidor, a compressed air can is useful for getting them out.
- Place the humidifier face down in a bowl of distilled water and keep it submerged for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not use tap water, as it can hold bacteria that will cause mold within the humidor, causing it to smell and ruin the cigars it will hold. Dry the outside of the humidifier before placing it inside the humidor to avoid drips.
- Line the bottom of the humidor with plastic and place the damp sponge on top of it inside the humidor to increase the humidity inside. Use distilled water again -never tap water.
- Install the hygrometer and close the humidor, leaving it undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Once this time has passed, repeat the whole process again. Once the hygrometer reads between 65% and 75% humidity, you have successfully seasoned and set up your humidor. If it still has not reached at least 65% humidity, you will need to repeat the process again until it does.
Cleaning Your Humidor
The only real reason to clean a humidor is if it has mold in it, and luckily, it is a far less involved process than setting it up and seasoning it.
- Wash your hands thoroughly. Bacteria from your hands can cause mold in some cases, and you want to be sure that you are not adding to the problem you are trying to remedy.
- Remove the cigars within the humidor and place them in a zip-lock plastic bag to keep them fresh while you clean.
- Lightly sand the inside of the humidor with #150 fine grit sandpaper to remove any possible mold spores; this will give the humidor a fresh cedar smell, as well.
- Lightly wipe down the inside of the humidor with a paper towel or lint-free cloth and rubbing alcohol to treat any remaining mold spores.
- Wipe down the humidor with distilled water to dilute the alcohol. This may increase the humidity in the humidor, so leave it open for a few minutes to allow the moisture to disperse and the walls to dry before closing.