So you get a nice new humidor in the mail, and the first thing you want to do is open it and fill it with your cigar collection. We ask you to please resist that urge and properly season the thing before you put in your prized stogies—if your humidor isn’t seasoned, you might as well be leaving them laid out on the kitchen counter next to a few humi-paks.
Humidors are typically lined with sheets of Spanish cedar, which is used because it retains a lot of water and resists mold and rot. This allows for a tight seal that keeps your cigars fresh, happy, and contaminant free. If the cedar isn’t saturated with water already, it will lower the humidity by constantly absorbing the water out of the air inside the humidor. Additionally, it might not have a tight enough seal and your cigars won’t benefit from the humidifier. Humidors are the best way to store your cigars and keep them fresh for just the right moment that you want to smoke them, and it just takes a little preparation to ensure that your humidor will work perfectly and keep your cigars in optimum smoking condition.
There are a few easy ways to season your humidor. One way is to wet a sponge with distilled water and wipe it along the inside of your humidor, making sure to get all the walls, the interior of the lid, and any dividers or trays inside the humidor. Make sure that the sponge is not pre-soaked with any kind of scent or soap, as this will leave behind residue. After wiping down the interior, prepare your humidification device and install it into the humidor. Then put the wet sponge in the humidor on top of a Ziploc bag or some shrink wrap to make sure it’s not in direct contact with the wood and leave it closed for 24 hours.
The next day, repeat the same process of wiping all of the interior surfaces of the humidor with distilled water, only this time, do not leave the sponge inside. Leave the humidor closed for another 24 hours with the humidification unit and use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity. During the seasoning process, it may be higher than you want it to be, but it shouldn’t be any lower than around 70 percent. If the humidity drops drastically, wipe down the sides of the humidor and leave it closed for another 24 hours. Repeat this step as many times as you need to until your humidor retains the desired humidity level.
It’s important to only use distilled water when seasoning your humidor or filling your humidification device, as tap water could contain various pathogens you don’t want growing on your cigars. With tap water, you also run the risk of ruining your humidifier with mineral deposits.
The simpler yet slower way is to get a humidor seasoning packet and leave it in the humidor for 14 days. The number of seasoning packets you’ll need coincides with the amount of space in your humidor. Seasoning packets are convenient in that they require little work and leave nothing to chance. Bear in mind, however, that they do take much longer to take effect so you’ll need some temporary storage for your cigars until the humidor is ready—I recommend a plastic bag with some humi-paks in it. The seasoning packet is the method that I personally recommend, as it is the absolute way to ensure that your humidor is seasoned properly.
If your cigars are under-humidified, you’ll know it almost immediately. On top of being hard as rocks and having cracked wrappers, under-humidified cigars tend to have very troublesome burns. Keep your cigars humidified in your properly-seasoned humidor, and you’ll be smoking them the way they were meant to be smoked.
Here are a few more articles that explain the process of humidor seasoning: