Storing your cigars in a humidor will help you keep them in optimal condition, without them ever becoming overly moist or dry. While setting up a humidor and storing your cigars can seem like a difficult process at first, it’s extremely quick and simple.
Below, we’ve explained how to set up your cigar humidor and store your cigars, from unboxing your humidor to configuring the humidity level.
Before you start
Before you start setting up your humidor, you’ll need to buy a humidifier. Cigar humidifiers come in a variety of designs and types. The most common humidifiers are bars, which contain a type of activation solution, and gel humidifiers, which use distilled water to create humidity.
You can also use humidity packs, such as the Boveda Humidity Control Pack, which maintain a consistent humidity level. If your humidor comes with a humidifier, use it — there’s no reason for you to buy a third party one.
Cigars are best stored at a humidity level of 68 to 70% and an average temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Before you can store your cigars, you’ll need to calibrate your humidor to maintain the right humidity level and temperature.
Step 1: Setting up your humidor
Start by removing your humidor from its packaging. If there is any cardboard or foam packaging inside the humidor, remove it.
One of the most common cigar humidor mistakes is to rinse the inside of the humidor with a wet sponge. Don’t do this. Your humidor is made from Spanish cedar, which is very absorbent. If it gets wet, there’s a serious risk of the excess moisture warping and damaging the wood.
Step 2: Calibrating the hygrometer
Your humidor will come with a hygrometer. This is an analog or digital instrument that monitors the humidity level inside the humidor. Because it’s so important to keep your humidor in the 65 to 70 percent humidity range, you’ll need to check that your hygrometer is calibrated properly.
The easiest way to calibrate your hygrometer is to use the towel method. Take a damp towel (not soaking wet, but damp enough that you can feel the moisture) and wrap the towel around the hygrometer.
Leave the towel wrapped around the hygrometer for at least 45 minutes, then quickly unwrap it and check the reading on the hygrometer. If it reads 100%, there’s no need to calibrate it. If it’s below 100% (it will usually be in the 85-90% range), adjust it so that it reads 100%.
Once you’ve calibrated the hygrometer, place it back inside the humidor. You should check the hygrometer every six months to make sure it gives an accurate reading.
Step 3: Setting up the humidifier
Your humidor is designed to maintain a specific humidity level, usually between 68 and 72%. To set the humidity level inside the humidor, you’ll need to add a humidification device.
If your humidor came with a humidifier, apply the activation solution (propylene glycol) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If it didn’t come with a humidor, insert the humidor you bought and activate it by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Insert the humidifier into the humidor, making sure that no moisture comes into contact with the cedar lining. If your humidor feels wet, gently dry it with a towel before placing it inside. You can also place a small towel underneath the humidifier to prevent it from dripping onto the cedar.
Step 4: Insert a second source of moisture
Once you’ve inserted the humidifier, you’ll need to add a second source of moisture. There are two ways to do this:
- Fill a small glass with distilled water, then place it inside the humidor.
- Soak an unused sponge in water, then place it inside the humidor on a plate/tray.
Both methods are fine. Just like with the humidifier, it’s important to be careful not to let the glass or sponge drip onto the cedar lining when you place them inside. If they drip onto the cedar, use a clean cloth to wipe away the moisture before continuing.
Step 5: Monitor the humidity level
Before you can store any cigars in your humidor, you’ll need to let the humidity reach the 60 to 70 percent range. This typically takes several days, although it could take less time if you live in a humid region.
You can monitor the humidity level using the hygrometer on the front of your humidor. Once it’s in the 65-70% range, you can safely begin to store cigars inside the humidor without any risk of damaging them.
Step 6: Store your cigars
Once the hygrometer is showing a steady reading of 65-70% for the air inside your humidor, it’s time to store your cigars. Place your cigars inside the humidor (use the shelf, if necessary) and enjoy your new humidor.
It’s important to note that the humidity level will vary on a day-to-day basis. As long as it’s within the 65 to 70% range (or up to 73%, if you live in a warm, humid climate), there’s no need for you to adjust the humidifier.