It is very important to season a humidor before it is used. Seasoning a humidor is the process of getting the humidor ready to accept and regulate the proper humidity for cigars. When you get a new humidor the cedar is almost completely dry and needs to be "moistened". If you put cigars in an unseasoned humidor, the dry cedar will suck all the moisture out of the air, thus lowering the humidity and drying out your cigars. Not seasoning your humidor is just as bad as not having a humidor at all! Most of our humidors come with directions on how to properly set them up and season them, and I strongly suggest that you follow the directions for the specific humidor you have purchased.
However, some of our humidors do not have directions and will require one of the following techniques:
1) Boveda Seasoning Packs
:This is the "No Muss, No Fuss" solution and the one I recommend over any other method. Simply buy one seasoning pack for every 50 cigars that your humidor holds, plus an additional one. For instance, a 100 capacity humidor would require 3 seasoning packets. Simply open the packets from the clear cellophane wrappers, arrange them in the humidor and close the lid for 10 days. When you open the humidor, simply take the packs out, fill up your humidifier and throw your cigars in. I like this method the best because it prevents the wood from warping, which is an issue I will explain further in the next section. Yes, the packs cost $3.95 each, while the other methods I will outline are essentially free, but when you have a humidor filled with hundreds, even thousands of dollars worth of smokes over the course of many months, a couple of bucks for a no fail solution is cheap insurance, and well worth the investment.
2) The Wiping Method: This is the quickest and most direct method, while also being the most risky if it is not done correctly. I only recommend this if you have successfully done this in the past. First take a chemical free, clean rag or sponge that is non abrasive and moisten it in DISTILLED water. Do not use any other kind of water, including tap water. Make sure it is just moistened, not dripping wet. With the humidifier and cigars out of the humidor, wipe down the cedar on the inside of the humidor so that you are just moistening the wood, not drenching it. You'll know the wood is being moistened by the slight change in color between dry and wet wood. Do this twice a day for two days. On the beginning of the third day, you can throw in your cigars and install your hygrometer and humidifier.
The problem with this is that if the moisture is not wiped onto the wood properly, it can warp the wood and compromise the seal of the lid, which will render your humidor useless due to the fact that it will not effectively retain a near 70% humidity. Another reason I don't like this method is that the chemicals used to make sponges and rags are really nasty and you're essentially rubbing all that stuff into your wood, though this can be avoided by purchasing an organically made sponge. Sure it is quick, but again it can be dangerous and I only recommend this if the humidor company specifically states it in their manual or if you are a seasoned pro...no pun intended.
3) Other Methods: If you ask 5 cigar pros how to season a humidor, you will get probably get 4-5 different answers. There are many methods out there; some useful, others destructive and it's important to differentiate the winners from the losers. But if you're scratching your head as to who's right and who's wrong, I recommend the seasoning packs because it's the most effective and safest way to season a humidor. Also, it is important to note that your humidity will not hit 70% immediately. It will take a couple of weeks for the humidor to settle and reach it's proper operating humidity. Don't worry if the humidity says 73% or 64%. If it is properly seasoned and you have the proper humidification installed, everything should be fine within a couple weeks.