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How to prepare your cigar humidor?

Have you just purchased a Cigar Humidor?

It is imperative to prepare it well before installing your cigars. Above all, do not store cigars there yet. Indeed, you must first season it.

If you want to know more about how a cigar humidor works, go to our dedicated article: " CIGAR CELLAR, HOW DOES IT WORK? "

Do not skip this important step.

This can affect both your cigars and the humidor itself!

Thus a good preparation, where seasoning will allow:

  1. To prevent the wood of the cellar from absorbing the humidity of your cigars
  2. Reduce the risk of warping and mold
  3. To maintain a perfect and constant humidity necessary for the good preservation of the taste and flavors of your cigars.

A) Why is this important?

    Thanks to our dedicated article on the " CIGAR HEADER, HOW DOES IT WORK? " and having acquired one in our Cigar Humidors Collection , you now know that the first thing to do is to season it.

    It is essential never to store your cigars in an unseasoned humidor. Indeed, one of the properties of wood is to be hygroscopic, that is to say that it absorbs moisture .

    Thus, storing cigars in an unprepared cellar, i.e. before the wood has had a chance to be moistened, will result in them drying out, because the cellar will absorb the humidity of your cigars.

    This drying out will make your cigars unfit for consumption.

    This is why you need to be sure that the humidity level is correct before storing any cigars in it.

    To do this, we will use 2 tools to help ensure this: The Hygrometer and the Humidifier.

    B) Calibrate the Hygrometer of a Cigar Humidor

      Even though hygrometers are calibrated after they are made, it is always a good idea to test them yourself. For that, just make sure they provide accurate readings through a calibrating your hygrometer .

      This little test, simple and quick to set up, will require very little equipment:

      • Salt
      • Tap water
      • A bottle cap
      • An airtight freezer bag
      • A screwdriver (if analog hygrometer)

      First a bit of science

      You should know that if you mix a little water with salt, this mixture will have the particularity of emitting exactly 75% humidity .

      Luckily, this is precisely the rate we desire inside a humidor .

      The purpose of this little scientific experiment is therefore to create a perfect environment for storing cigars (75% humidity), to place our hygrometer there and to adjust its setting for perfect calibration.

      1. Place a teaspoon of salt in a bottle cap.
      2. Moisten with a few drops of water without dissolving it. The salt should then have the consistency of a cake. If the salt begins to dissolve, there is too much water. Wash the bottle cap and start again.
      3. Carefully place the wet salt and the hygrometer in the plastic bag and seal it tightly.

      In order not to falsify the results, it is important that the air cannot enter the interior of the bag.

      1. Let stand for 12 hours.
      2. Without opening the bag, read the reading on the hygrometer.

      If the hygrometer reads 75%, it is well calibrated. Otherwise, the parameters will have to be adjusted.

      Depending on whether the hygrometer is analog or electric, the method will be different:

      • Analog hygrometers have an adjustment screw on the back for adjustment. With your screwdriver, turn this screw until the dial reads exactly 75%.
      • For electric hygrometers, a simple click on the "calibrate" button is sufficient.

      Your calibrated hygrometer, you can now place it inside your humidor!

      Properly prepare the humidifier of your Cigar Cellar

      As mentioned above, the humidity of your cellar must be constant and for this, everything depends on the humidifier!

      It is therefore important to soak it according to the right method.

      CAUTION : The following explanations apply only to foam humidifiers. Indeed, humidifiers with acrylic crystals only require distilled water and the use of propylene glycol solution with them could have negative consequences on their performance.

      The shopping list for humidifying your humidifier:

      • A receptacle able to hold your humidifier
      • A solution of Propylene Glycol (50% Distilled Water / 50% Propylene Glycol)
      • A clean rag

      A bit of science: Propylene glycol is an organic, liquid, colorless and non-toxic compound that has two very useful properties for humidors.

      First of all, it is an effective means of preventing the appearance of mold and bacterial contamination.

      Then, these properties allow your cellar to self-adjust its humidity level. Indeed, when used in a cigar humidor, it coats the wood with a layer of natural enzymes which:

      • Absorbs moisture when humidity exceeds 70%
      • Emits humidity when it drops below 70%.
      • Also prevents the formation of mold and bacterial growth.

      When used for the first time, a foam humidifier can take a few days to stabilize the humidity level of the humidor at its optimal level. This is, in fact, the time necessary for the formation of the layer.

      If you decide to use propylene glycol, make sure it is mixed with distilled water in a 50/50 ratio.

      HUMIDIFIER PREPARATION METHODOLOGY

      Preparing your humidifier will only require 3 steps:

      1. Fill the container with the Propylene Glycol/distilled water solution.
      2. Fill the humidifier by fully submerging it in the container. Keep the humidifier face down. Leave it in the water for 2-3 minutes.
      3. Place the humidifier face down on the clean cloth for an hour to make sure it doesn't leak into the basement.

      Your humidor is now ready to be placed inside your humidor!

      In order to maintain a good level of humidity in your cellar, this operation will have to be carried out again in the future when your hygrometer indicates a drop in the level of humidity. An acceptable humidity level for good conservation is between 65 and 75%.

      Now that your tools are ready, it's time to move on to the seasoning stage, where humidifying the cigar humidor.

      • The professional method: Seasoning

      Seasoning a humidor is a simple process for humidifying your humidor. It only requires a few materials besides your hygrometer and humidifier.

       

      THE SHOPPING LIST:

      Stationery

      Ratings

      Distilled water or propylene glycol solution

      It is essential to always season your humidor with distilled water (demineralised water ) or with a solution of propylene glycol.

      NEVER , ever should you use tap water or bottled water.

      In fact, tap water not only contains minerals that can reduce the effectiveness of the foam, but also chlorine and bacteria that can lead to the formation of mold.

      NEW kitchen sponge

      Soap, dirt or grime can damage your humidor in the same way as mineral deposits.

      NEW plastic bag

      It must be clean and large enough to be able to slip the sponge into it.

      Clean cloth

      To clean water overflow during operation.

      A big bowl

      To soak your sponge

      Practical work: seasoning in 6 simple steps!

      1. Install the plastic bag at the bottom of the cellar.
      2. Place the sponge in a bowl filled with distilled water or propylene glycol solution. Wring it out, but not too much J The sponge should be completely saturated but should not run.
      3. Place the sponge in the humidor ON the plastic bag. This tip will help protect the wood in the cellar, avoiding too much water saturation.
      4. In addition to the sponge, place in your humidor:
        • The humidifier
        • The hygrometer
        • Trays or wooden dividers (if you have them)
      5. Close the cellar and store it in a place where it will not be disturbed and wait 48 hours. During the 48 hours, your hygrometer could indicate high humidity levels of around 80 to 85%, this is completely normal!

      The humidity should normally only be 70%, but during seasoning it is usual for it to be higher.

      1. At the end of those 48 hours, check the humidity again. An acceptable humidity level is between 65 and 75%. If it's between 72% and 73%, that's fine. Indeed, the cigars that you put in your cellar will absorb a little humidity.

      Depending on the climate of your region and the size of the box, you may have to repeat this process and those as many times as necessary if the desired humidity level is not reached after 48 hours.

      • The impatient method: Wiping

      There is a faster, but risky method of humidifying a humidor: the wiping method.

      It's not as widespread, but it's faster. Using it will save you at least 24 hours.

      The shopping list:

      Stationery

      Ratings

      Distilled water or propylene glycol solution

      It is essential to always season your humidor with distilled water (demineralised water ) or with a solution of propylene glycol.

      NEVER , ever should you use tap water or bottled water.

      In fact, tap water not only contains minerals that can reduce the effectiveness of the foam, but also chlorine and bacteria that can lead to the formation of mold.

      NEW kitchen sponge

      Soap, dirt or grime can damage your humidor in the same way as mineral deposits.

      A big bowl

      To soak your sponge

      Practical Work: Wiping in 6 simple steps.

      1. Place the sponge in a bowl filled with distilled water or propylene glycol solution. Wring it out, the sponge should be very damp, but not too much. Indeed, the use of too much water can deform the wood.

      There are also seasoning wipes commercially available, which are pre-moistened and contain enough water to wipe down a small to medium-sized humidor.

      1. Empty your cellar of its hygrometer and its humidifier, then moisten all the interior walls of your cellar. Proceed step by step and slowly to avoid the formation of puddles. The goal is to leave a thin layer of water on the wood, not to drown it out. After wetting the wood , it should darken slightly.
      2. In the same way, moisten the wooden dividers and trays supplied with your cellar, then put them back in your cellar.
      3. Close the cellar and store it in a place where it will not be disturbed and wait 24 hours.
      4. After 24 hours, calibrate your hygrometer and humidify your humidifier using the method described above. Then install the assembly inside your cellar and close it again for 24 hours.
      5. After this time, the interior of the humidor should be dry and your hygrometer indicates 72-73% humidity in the air. If not, close it and give it more time.

      As stated above, this method is risky, because it is an easy way to warp the wood of your humidor.

      Badly done, this "shock seasoning" can cause a lot of damage, especially on Spanish cedar humidors which are particularly sensitive to it, as they are more sensitive to the absorption of shock water.

      In the event of deformation, the integrity of your humidor will be compromised. Especially if the lid no longer closes properly.

      Indeed, since the lid is no longer able to provide a solid seal, your humidor will gradually lose its humidity and dry out your cigars .

      If you don't yet have your own humidor, don't wait any longer and check out our Cigar Humidors .

      Once this seasoning step has been completed, your humidor is now able to store and age your cigars in optimal conditions, as long as you refill the humidifier regularly and keep the lid sealed.

      moisture content inside your humidor will prevent the wood from drying out and preserve your cigars for many years.

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