Cigar Humidification

How to Season a Cigar Humidor

You’d been keeping your cigars in a Tupperware container for months, and nearing the point of overflow, you broke down and invested in a good humidor. But before you put your cigars in that shiny new box, you have to “season” it.  Why? Since the wood that makes up your new humidor is dry, the walls need to absorb moisture, and seasoning your humidor contributes to the ebb and flow of moist air to help your cigars settle and age properly. It’s real easy, but you need a few days to do it the right way. Patience is definitely a virtue here, but it will pay-off in cigars that will smoke and taste better. So here’s how to season a cigar humidor “by the numbers”:

  1. Place your cigars in a Ziploc baggie or an airtight plastic container, and place it in a cool, dark place.
  2. Put both the hygrometer and humidifier in place to make sure each of them fits. (Set the hygrometer aside for now. (We’ll discuss calibration later.)
  3. Soak the humidifier in 100% DISTILLED water (about 79¢/gal at most grocery stores) for half an hour. Make sure it’s drained completely, without dripping, and put it back in place under the lid.
  4. Soak a NEW, clean kitchen sponge in a clean stainless steel pan or plastic container filled with distilled water, and squeeze any remaining chemical residue that may be present within the sponge. (Look for soapy-looking bubbles in the water.) Replace the “dirty” water with FRESH distilled water. Soak the sponge again, leaving enough distilled water to saturate the sponge without it dripping.
  5. Place the saturated sponge on top of a sandwich baggie on the bottom of your humidor to protect the base of the box from any leakage.
  6. Close the lid and wait three days; checking after two days. By the third day the hygrometer should show a high reading very high (in most cases above 85%).
  7. After the third day, remove the sponge and baggie, being careful not to allow water to seep onto the bottom of the box. (Actually, it’s a good idea to check this after the first day, just to be safe.)
  8. Even though the hygrometer will likely be showing a high reading, go ahead and place your cigars in the humidor. In a few hours you’ll notice the needle dip back down. Once it stops, take a reading. If it’s within the 65% – 75% RH range, your hygrometer is likely OK, but for those of you who prefer accuracy, make sure to follow the next step.
  9. Most digital model hygrometers are accurate by design, but if it’s an analog model, you’ll want to complete the hygrometer calibration salt test. Make sure to follow the directions carefully. (Note: the hygrometer calibration salt test will also work for digital models.)

It will take several months, or even more, for your humidor to fully season. Just keep an eye on things and you’ll be fine. A good average RH is 67%, with a temperature of approximately 70ºF.

Keep the humidor out of direct light (natural or artificial) because it can negatively affect the temperature and RH.

There’s another method we’ll cover in a later blog, but this method is pretty fool-proof. Whether you store your cigars with or without the cello, you’re sure to notice an improvement in your cigars within a month.

Keep in mind, there are cigar smokers who prefer their cigars more, or less, supple. So as you smoke cigars over time,  you’ll likely find yourself adjusting the RH to your personal liking.

John Pullo

John Pullo

Editor in Chief

This is not his picture, nor does he even have a beard. A solid 'B' student and occasional low-fi musician, John is a medley of cynicism and sarcasm crammed into a wrinkled Oxford shirt who makes it nearly intolerable to watch reality television with him in the same room. Interestingly, his Social Security number is all ones.

Show all John Pullo's Articles
How Much of a Cigar’s Flavor Comes from the Wrapper Cigar Advisor Cover

Cigar Q&A: How Much of a Cigar’s Flavor Comes from the Wrapper?

Even the blending experts don’t always agree on how much of a cigar’s flavor comes from the wrapper leaf – learn why, plus we pay forward a cool trick you can try to test your favorite cigar to see how much its flavor comes from the wrapper leaf.

Read More
5 cigars that made my career Michael Giannini Ventura cigars Cigar Advisor Cover

5 Cigars That Made My Career: Michael Giannini of Ventura Cigars

Starting with La Gloria Cubana, Michael Giannini has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with many of the best people in the premium cigar business – so which cigars have had the most impact on his nearly 40-year career? Watch Michael count them back to Gary Korb in this Advisor exclusive.

Read More
davidoff cigars guide cigar reviews cacover

2018 CA REPORT: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide To Davidoff Cigars

When it comes to super-premiums, Davidoff cigars are without peer. See this Tasting Guide for reviews of 11 cigars from Davidoff’s prolific assortment of line extensions, including their Winston Churchill selections – and find the Davidoff cigar that’s right for you.

Read More
CACover 2017 CA Report: Top 8 Golf Cigars to Improve Your Game

2017 CA Report: Top 8 Golf Cigars to Improve Your Game

A round of golf is better when your bag is loaded with good smokes - Here are our suggestions for the top golf cigars to fire up while you're on the course!
Read More