Cigar Q&A: Preventing Mold on Cigars
Q. What’s the best way to keep my cigars from developing mold?
– Tommy J. in Memphis, TN
A. It all starts with keeping your temperature and humidity properly regulated. I’ve learned over the years that my cigars have fared better at lower temperature and humidity, with the latter averaging closer to 67% RH. Once you let the temperature and/or the RH climb significantly above 70, you open the door to potential problems.
Secondly, make sure you only use distilled water or polyglycol-based charging solution in your humidifier. If you don’t you not only risk getting mold, but mineral deposits may form on the unit, too. Tap water is definitely a no-no.
It also helps when you have good air circulation between the cigars in your humidor. If you have all of your cigars laid out in neat rows in your humidor like they are in a factory box, try to space them out a bit. I had a friend who would put the cigars in his humidor in no particular order. It wasn’t pretty, but because they were lying in the box at various angles, he had better air circulation.
Open your humidor for about 15 minutes once a week to help give your cigars a breath of fresh air, too. This is especially important if you keep your cigars in a mason jar type humidor or a sealed plastic container.
Finally, if what you perceive as mold is more like a white powdery substance on your cigars, don’t panic – yet. Chances are it’s “plume” or “bloom,” which is a naturally occurring process caused by an accumulation of oils in the wrapper leaf. It usually occurs at higher temps and humidity ranges, is virtually harmless, and easily brushes off with your finger. If it’s not plume, but actually mold, it will leave a stain on the wrapper leaf and you’ll have to trash the stick.