Humidor Seasoning

Humidor Seasoning

Humidor Seasoning

This post is to help you to understand why you need to properly season your wooden humidor and how to do so. I recommend that you read the HUMIDOR 101 post before venturing into this to familiarize yourself with humidors in general.

Background

You just got your first Spanish Cedar humidor. That’s great! You can’t wait to put your cigars in it and enjoy one of the basic, most traditional parts of the hobby: humidor storage. Not so fast… your humidor is made of dry wood and you will need to properly humidify it before it is ready for use. Traditional humidors are lined with Spanish Cedar. This wood helps to keep the humidity inside the humidor stable as well as assist in preventing mold. Spanish Cedar, like other aromatic softwoods, is also a natural repellent to insects like moths.

The process of preparing the wood so that your humidor can function most effectively is called “seasoning.”

Something else to be aware of… if you live in a particularly dry climate or an area that experiences seasonal dryness (low humidity in the winter), you may need to season your humidor each year.

Why Season?

Before you unpacked your new humidor, it has been in transit or in storage for a long time. The wood is very dry. If you put your cigars inside, the wood would draw the moisture out of your cigars, leaving them dry. Dry cigars are prone to an assortment of burn issues, not to mention they don’t taste right. What’s the point in spending the money on such a beautiful piece of equipment if it isn’t going to be effective? You need to add an initial amount of moisture to the wood, and to do so slowly enough that it is absorbed throughout the Spanish Cedar evenly.

Methods of Seasoning:

There are several methods of seasoning a humidor, and any one of these might be argued as better than the others depending on who you ask. I will address the three most common methods and give the pros and cons of each. Note: regardless of which method you use, you will need a calibrated digital hygrometer inside the humidor so that you can inspect the humidity content.

Method 1: The Shot Glass

    • Fill a shot glass with distilled water and place it inside the humidor.
    • Close the lid and leave it alone for 10-14 days. It is important that you do not disturb the humidor or open it during this time. The humidity will mostly be in the air inside, not yet absorbed by the wood. Every time you check on it, you release some of the humid air and will see a false high reading on the hygrometer.
    • After the prescribed time frame, check the hygrometer. It should read 70% or higher. If not, refill the shot glass, close the lid and let it go for another week. If the humidity never rises, see Accelerating the process below.
    • Remove the shot glass and place your desired method of humidification inside the humidor.
    • Check the hygrometer every 24 hours. When the humidity has stabilized at 70% or below, place your cigars inside and enjoy them whenever you choose!

Pros: Simple, minimal risk of damage to the humidor
Cons: Risk of spilling shotglass if the humidor is disturbed

Method 2: The Sponge

    • Place a new, clean, unscented kitchen sponge in a bowl of distilled water. for a few minutes until it is fully saturated.
    • Remove the sponge and wring it out to the point that no more water drips without squeezing. The sponge needs to be holding water, but not enough that it seeps water without pressure being applied.
    • Place a piece of plastic on the floor of the interior of the humidor. This can be plastic wrap, a baggie, a lid… just anything that water cannot seep through.
    • Place the sponge on the plastic barrier.
    • Close the lid and leave the humidor undisturbed for 72 hours.
    • After 72 hours, remove the plastic barrier and place the sponge directly onto the floor of the humidor.
    • Close the lid and leave it alone for 10-14 days. It is important that you do not disturb the humidor or open it during this time. The humidity will mostly be in the air inside, not yet absorbed by the wood. Every time you check on it, you release some of the humid air and will see a false high reading on the hygrometer.
    • After the prescribed time frame, check the hygrometer. It should read 70% or higher. If not, see Accelerating the process below.
    • Remove the sponge and place your desired method of humidification inside the humidor.
    • Check the hygrometer every 24 hours. When the humidity has stabilized at 70% or below, place your cigars inside and enjoy them whenever you choose!

Pros: Simple; low risk of damage to the humidor
Cons: Complex procedure compared to other methods; over-saturation of the sponge can cause minor warping to the wood on the floor of the humidor.

Method 3: Boveda Seasoning Kit

    • Place one Boveda 84% Seasoning Pack inside your humidor for every 25 cigars your humidor is capable of holding (example: a 100-count humidor requires 4 packs).
    • Close the lid and leave the humidor undisturbed for 14 days.
    • Remove the packs and replace with your desired method of humidification.
    • Check the hygrometer every 24 hours. When the humidity has stabilized at 70% or below, place your cigars inside and enjoy them whenever you choose!

Pros: Easiest method available; zero risk of damage to the humidor
Cons: None

Accelerating the process: Please note that this method has the potential to warp the wood, including the seal. You may cause irreversible damage if you use this method.

    • Use a brand new, never before used, unscented clean kitchen sponge. It is very important that the sponge be free of any cleansers, odors, bacteria, or other contaminants.
    • Soak the sponge in a bowl of distilled water. Wring it out thoroughly. It should be only slightly damp to the touch before using it, and no more water should be released when squeezing.
    • Gently wipe down the interior of the humidor. There should be no standing water or dampness. You should only see a very slight darkening of the color of the wood that indicates that moisture is present.
    • Wipe the edges of the seal with the sponge in the same gentle fashion.
    • Proceed with one of the above methods for seasoning.

Pros: Speeds up the process of seasoning; gives a boost to the seasoning process in humidors that are resistant to other methods discussed above.
Cons: Possibility of overhumidifcation which can make the environment hospitable for mold growth; chance that the wood or the seal may warp and the humidor will need repairs before use.

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