Cigars 101

Fighting and Removing Mold in a Cigar Humidor

Heat, moisture, and organic material are a surefire recipe for the growth of mold. Unfortunately, these conditions also describe a cigar humidor that is properly maintained. Indeed, to care for cigars is to walk a razor’s edge: too much heat and humidity, and you risk developing mold and tobacco beetles. Not enough moisture, and you risk your cigars drying out and becoming stale.

In this article, we’ll focus on restoring your humidor to its former glory after developing mold.

The first thing to know is that mold spores are literally everywhere, so it’s not worthwhile to think of them as the enemy. Only under the right conditions – plenty of heat, humidity, and organic material – do they develop into the visible colonies that can plague cigars and humidors. The recommended threshold for heat and humidity is 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 72% humidity, but cigars can be stored long-term at a Rh of 60% or even 55%. Once these conditions are exceeded, that’s when the spores begin to manifest as the colorful splotches that cause off-flavors and aromas in a cigar.

Mold grows relatively slowly, so if you check your humidor on a regular basis, you’re likely to first notice a musty smell. Whether you’re in those early stages or you have a full-blown mold outbreak on your hands, the sooner you mitigate the problem, the better.

Begin by emptying your humidor. Brush any mold off your cigars, and place them in a cool, dry environment while you clean your humidor. Next, take the humidor outside and carefully brush any growing mold from the humidor, so as not to cause staining on the interior wood surfaces.

Once complete, it’s time to kill the spores. Using a light solution of distilled water and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, wipe down all of the humidor’s interior surfaces, and leave it open while it dries. This will kill any visible mold, but remember that most of the mold is not actually visible.

Another proven tactic is to lightly sand the interior surfaces with a fine grit sandpaper. Just make sure to wipe down after sanding to clean up any dust.

Your humidor may require several such treatments to completely remove all existing mold, and even then, there may still be a funky, musty smell. Place a paper plate of baking soda into the humidor to absorb these smells, changing as necessary.

Even then, some smells may linger. These will dissipate over time, especially if you commit to maintaining proper humidity and temperature, and keep it filled with plenty of cigars.

It’s time to re-season your now-dry humidor by wiping down the walls with a new sponge and distilled water.

2
Leave a Reply

avatar
0 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Tomasz GombosPhilip Trombetta Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Philip Trombetta
Guest
Philip Trombetta

question really. what if it’s just one drawer do I still need to clean whole humi

Tomasz Gombos
Guest
Tomasz Gombos

the damn thing gets everywhere, another solution is to spray it with vinegar and leave it for few hours

Lou Tenney

Lou Tenney

When he's not busy writing, editing, smoking cigars, or raising his many, many children, Hayward " "It's Lou, not Hayward" " Tenney spends his days combating confusion about his real name (it's Hayward, but please - call him " "Lou" ") and mourning the matrimonially-induced loss of his moustache (what's he gonna do with all that moustache wax he made?).

Show all Lou Tenney's Articles
music and cigars cigar advisor playlist volume 2 Cigar Advisor Cover

The Cigar Advisor Playlist: Volume 2

Have you ever paired music and cigars? We have, and we wrote it down for you…Click to check out this guide, listen along, and download The Cigar Advisor Playlist!

Read More
fan mail cigar questions part 27 cigar advisor cover

Fan Mail: More of Your Burning Cigar Questions, Answered (Part 27)

For this installment of Fan Mail Q&A, we’ve compiled some of the more interesting cigar questions we’ve received about retrohaling, pigtail caps, cigar mold and controlling RH – and we thought our answers were worth sharing out loud. Watch now!

Read More
cigar journal trophy award cigars 2018 cacover

2018 CA REPORT: The 2018 Cigar Journal Trophy Awards Cigars

It’s the 2018 Cigar Journal Cigar Trophies: Read as we reveal to you – and give our take on – the winners for “Best Brand,” “Best Cigar,” “Best Value” and more, along with a few reasons why each cigar earned its trophy.

Read More
7 Big Cigars by Cigar Advisor

2014 CA Report: 7 Big Ring Cigars of the Week

Here are 7 of the best big ring cigars - one for enjoying each day of the week. Make room in your humidor for them. You'll need it...
Read More