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How to Season a Humidor for Optimal Cigar Preservation

Chris, Chief Editor

Updated Jan 24, 2024

Human experts evaluate all our content

To season a humidor, you need to create a consistent humidity level inside it, as no humidor is ready to go straight from the manufacturer.

This is achieved by using a type of humidification device, such as Boveda packs or the built-in humidifier you find in traditional wooden humidors, and monitoring the levels with a calibrated hygrometer.

It sounds complicated, but trust me, it’s not. You do need to be aware of factors like the humidor’s size and the climate, and it generally takes a few days up to two weeks to season it fully.

We’ll dive into how to exactly season a humidor and things to consider for optimal preservation of your luxurious cigar collection.

Seasoning a humidor

What Should You Consider When Seasoning a Humidor?

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caseelegance /Instagram

Things to consider when seasoning your humidor boil down mainly to using a proper humidification unit and calibrating the hygrometer for accurate readings.

Wooden humidors, often made from Spanish cedar, require proper seasoning to maintain a consistent humidity level and prevent cigars from drying out or becoming too moist.

Once the humidor is set up correctly with the steps described below, you only need to be patient and let it do its thing.

Before you can call your humidor fully seasoned, the humidity level should ideally be between 65% and 72%. This balance ensures that your cigars are preserved in the best possible environment, allowing them to age gracefully and retain their distinct flavors and aromas.

Choosing the Right Humidification Unit: What to Look For?

Choosing the correct humidification unit is a key part of controlling the humidity inside your wooden humidor. There are various types of humidification units available, some suck, and others excel, such as:

  • Floral foam humidifiers: The most basic units and are generally bad at providing steady humidity.
  • Boveda packs: The easiest thing ever to keep a steady humidity level, but they need to be replaced every 3 months. There is a 1-year Boveda version as well.
  • Crystal gel humidifiers: These are decent and only require a fillup every 3 months.
  • Cigar humidifier beads: They are easy to use and never need to be replaced; spray them with distilled water every three to four weeks once you see the color change on the beads.

The size of your brand-new humidor plays the biggest role in determining the appropriate unit, as larger humidors require a greater amount of humidity to maintain the desired level. If you have a HUGE cigar collection, then you might want to opt for a fully electric cigar humidor instead.

Which humidification unit is the best for you will depend on factors such as:

  • reliability
  • efficiency
  • durability
  • ease of use
  • compatibility
  • low maintenance

I personally like the Boveda packs for the simplicity to kickstart the seasoning of your humidor, and once they run out I add my cigar beads that are low maintenance. Or chug in a 1-year Boveda pack and forget all about maintenance if you have a smaller cigar humidor.

Why are Boveda Packs Fast and Effortless for Seasoning?

Boveda packs are handy and efficient for seasoning your cigar humidor or humidor bag for the following reasons.

These packs maintain a specific humidity level through a two-way humidification process. If the target relative humidity (RH) is lower than the current RH, Boveda packs absorb humidity. Conversely, if the target RH is higher, they release moisture.

This unique feature helps maintain a consistent and optimal humidity level inside the humidor, allowing the wood to absorb moisture evenly and effectively.

The lifespan of Boveda packs used for seasoning generally ranges from 2 to 6 months, depending on the environment and humidity. Using a Boveda seasoning pack makes the seasoning process fast and effortless and is the most effective in my experience of storing cigars.

How many Boveda do you need to season a wooden humidor fast?

The number of Boveda packs needed for seasoning a wooden humidor depends on the size of the humidor and the desired humidity level.

Boveda packs are available in 60g sizes and come in different RH levels, such as 65%, 69%, and 72%.

A general guideline is to use one Boveda pack for every 5 cigars the humidor can hold for the humidity level to remain consistent and preserve your cigars in the optimal environment.

So let’s say you have a collection of 20 cigars, use 4 Boveda packs, and monitor the humidity levels.

Is There a Specific Cleaning Method for Humidors Before Seasoning?

It’s necessary to clean your humidor before seasoning to eliminate any dust, debris, or contaminants that might affect your cigars’ quality. They are sensitive, after all, and you don’t want to spoil the taste.

A clean environment helps maintain the flavor and aroma of your prized collections. Before cleaning your humidor, buy distilled water (this is important!).

Tap water contains impurities that influence the quality of your cigars, and you don’t want these inside your cedar wooden humidor.

How to Properly Wet the Interior Without Causing Damage?

To properly wet the interior without causing damage to the wood, follow these steps:

  1. Lightly dampen a clean sponge with distilled water.
  2. Gently wipe down all the cedar wood inside the humidor.
  3. Avoid using excessive water or any harsh chemicals, as this can cause damage to the wood and impact the quality of your cigars.

After cleaning your humidor, you can begin the seasoning process with the Boveda packs.

How to Calibrate Your Hygrometer Accurately?

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humidorsecrets /Instagram

To calibrate your hygrometer that monitors the humidity levels, you can use either a salt test or a calibration kit.

For the salt test, follow these steps:

  1. Place a teaspoon of salt in a bottle cap.
  2. Add a few drops of tap or distilled water to moisten the salt.
  3. Place the hygrometer and salt-filled bottle cap in an airtight container, such as a ziplock bag.
  4. Leave the container undisturbed for at least 24 hours.
  5. After 24 hours, check the hygrometer reading, which should read 75% relative humidity.
  6. If the reading is not 75%, adjust the hygrometer accordingly.

Calibration kits provide a similar process, with step-by-step instructions for accurate calibration.

How Long Should You Wait Before Adding Cigars?

Once your humidor has been seasoned, it’s necessary to let the humidity level stabilize before introducing cigars inside it.

Ideally, you should wait 1-2 weeks for a new humidor to reach a stable humidity level. Adding cigars too soon can result in difficulty maintaining the ideal humidity level, so make sure to wait to stabilize and adequately prepare the cigars for preservation.

Patience pays off, as your cigars will be stored in the best possible environment.

Troubleshooting Common Issues During the Seasoning Process

During the seasoning process, you might encounter a few issues that could disrupt the ideal environment for your cigars. Here are some common problems and how to troubleshoot them:

  1. Humidity Levels Fluctuating: If you notice that the humidity levels inside your humidor are constantly changing, it could be due to a faulty hygrometer, or your humidor might not be sealed properly. Check the calibration of your hygrometer and check that the humidor is well-sealed. In the worst case, you might have to change the entire humidor for a new one.
  2. Humidity Level Too Low: If your humidor’s humidity level is persistently low, you may need to add more humidification sources or check if the humidification unit is working correctly. The low humidity could also be due to the dry climate, in which case, re-seasoning might be necessary.
  3. Humidity Level Too High: If the humidity level is consistently too high, it could lead to mold growth. In this case, you might need to remove some humidification sources or leave the humidor open to remove some moisture.
  4. Unpleasant Odor: If your humidor starts to smell bad, it could be a sign of mold or mildew. Clean your humidor thoroughly and check the cigars for mold.
  5. Cigars Drying Out: If your cigars are drying out, the humidity level is too low, or the humidor isn’t properly sealed. Check the seal and consider adding more humidification.

Regularly monitor the conditions inside your humidor and take action when necessary.

Maintaining Your Humidor Post-Seasoning

After your humidor has been correctly seasoned, you’ll have to do light maintenance for it to remain in tip-top shape. These are the steps to consider for optimal humidor maintenance:

  1. Monitor Humidity Levels: Regularly check the humidity levels using your hygrometer; once a week is enough. As mentioned, the ideal humidity level is between 65% and 72%. Adjust the humidity so you stay within these thresholds.
  2. Refill Your Humidification Device: Depending on the humidification device you use, refill it with distilled water or replace it at regular intervals.
  3. Rotate Your Cigars: Every few weeks, make sure to rotate your cigars in the humidor so all cigars get evenly exposed to the humidity. This helps maintain their quality and an even distribution inside of the humidor.
  4. Clean Your Humidor: Clean your humidor every few months to prevent the build-up of dust or mold. Use a soft cloth dampened with distilled water and gently wipe the interior. Make sure the humidor is completely dry before putting the cigars back in.

By now, you should be a cigar humidor seasoning PRO. Now go and enjoy the marvel sitting at your office desk, you’ve deserved it!

Chris Starkhagen MSc.

Entrepreneur and Founder of chrisstarkhagen.com

Chris writes for men about what to know and how to be a high-value man and networking with high-net-worth individuals. Chris guides readers on men’s business, men’s home office, men’s performance, men’s accessories, and the best products for men to craft a timeless style. Whether you’re already a high net-worth man seeking your next luxury watch or a young G who wants a lifestyle upgrade, Chris connects men with the resources needed to elevate life as a man.