Your humidor is the easiest and most important way to keep your cigars in good condition and tasting great. But without proper “seasoning,” your humidor is just a plain wooden box—and an improperly seasoned humidor can actually damage your cigars. No one wants to ruin a fun investment.
While every humidor is a little different, they all have a few very basic things in common. The Spanish cedar inside your humidor has to soak up moisture to maintain a basic level of humidity. Too much or too little humidity inside a humidor can cause the wood to warp, and can also cause cigars to dry out or get too moist.
We designed the seasoning process listed below to work specifically with our humidors, but it can work with other humidors as well. Learn more about the seasoning process below, and you’ll have your humidor set at ideal humidity in no time.
What Does a Humidor Do?
A humidor is more than just a handsome box to hold your cigars. They’re designed to keep your cigars in excellent condition. Without a humidor, cigars are subject to the elements around them. Whether that’s extreme cold, heat, moist environments, or dryness, the elements can wreak havoc on a stogie, causing them to suck up moisture and even mold, or dry out—and turn what should be a delicate, flavorful smoke into an acrid, ashy puff.
A humidor is designed to maintain a relative humidity that’s ideal for the storage of cigars. In these ideal settings, a cigar isn’t drying out nor is it getting laden with moisture. It just maintains all the qualities it was made to have. And some cigars can actually improve with time when properly stored.
That said, a humidor requires a little maintenance to make sure it’s an optimal storage space. This is where properly seasoning your humidor comes in.
Why Season a Humidor?
Seasoning your humidor is the most important step in cigar storage. Proper seasoning allows for the cigar to retain a perfect amount of moisture to provide a really nice smoking experience. If you expose your cigars to too high a humidity, they can mold and rot. Too low a humidity and they dry out, turning the smoke acrid.
It’s difficult to maintain humidity in a dry box. A dry box has random pockets of humidity, so some areas will be moister than others. Like when you season a cast iron skillet (which creates a bonded non-stick surface), seasoning your humidor means the Spanish cedar interior absorbs a certain amount of moisture. Then, the humidifier is able to maintain a precise range of humidity that keeps your cigars safe and ready for you. In other words, seasoning your humidor preserves the cigars’ taste and flavor.
The Steps to Seasoning a Humidor
It’s not difficult to season a humidor, especially using the steps we’ve outlined for our humidors. That said, you’ll often hear about popular two-way humidification systems. These are great for travel humidifiers, but in our research, they just don’t provide the optimal humidity levels for a medium or large-sized humidor.
Some suggest simply wiping water onto the interior lining of your humidor with a sponge. Putting water directly onto a Spanish cedar lining can cause warping, which ruins the lining and makes it much more difficult to maintain a humidity level. Using the method below, you’re allowing the wood to naturally absorb moisture.
Another important thing to note is that your Klaro humidor includes everything you need to start the seasoning process. Additionally, after you receive your Klaro humidor, when you register the product you’ll have an opportunity to join our Klaro Membership, which provides a year’s worth of materials to keep your humidor seasoned. This is very important because routine seasoning and maintenance of your humidor is necessary to keep it—and your cigars—in tip-top shape.
We formulated the solution used in the process below to create an optimal environment. Other solutions may use salt, which isn’t recommended. Salt-based solutions can change a cigar’s taste, and even cause the lining of your humidor to corrode.
- Level your humidor. Most smartphones have level apps that are perfect for this. Check the level from both front-to-back and side-to-side.
- Rest the wood tray in the bottom of the humidor. Remove the lid from the hydro tray, and rest that on top of the wood tray.
- Open the solution, and add solution to each quadrant of the hydrotray. Don’t overfill or spill. The quadrants don’t need to be completely full.
- You’re looking for 68 percent humidity or higher for 12 hours. This can take 3-5 days. If you have difficulty reaching that level, we recommend using our specially-formulated Winter and Dry Climate Solution, available through the Klaro Membership.
- After hitting 68 percent or higher for a full 12 hours, open the gel solution packet. Sprinkle it into each quadrant. Add more solution, making sure to moisten every crystal.
- Analyze the humidity reading. On many Klaro Humidors, the hygrometer (which measures humidity levels) is a digital reader on the front of the humidor.
- If the humidity level is 70-75 percent, move on to step 8.
- If it’s reading between 65-69 percent, add more solution to each quadrant, then move to step 8.
- If it’s below 65 percent, we recommend that you use the Winter and Dry Climate Solution.
- If it’s above 75 percent, remove the hydro tray for between 12-48 hours. Then reinstall and determine the reading.
- Put the lid on the hydro tray, and remove the hydro tray. Then remove the wood tray from the bottom of the humidor.
- Carefully sit the hydro tray on the bottom of the humidor. Try not to spill. Place the wood tray on top.
- Put your cigars in. When you’re first placing cigars, we recommend that the humidity be set somewhere between 67-75 percent. The cigars will soak up some humidity. For storing, the humidity should be between 67-72 percent.
Those 10 steps cover the gist for seasoning a humidor. That said, each humidor has its own nuances that may be different. Make sure to learn how to season your humidor specifically.
How to Check for Accurate Humidity in a Humidor
Now that your humidor is seasoned, how can you be sure that it’s maintaining humidity levels that are perfect for your cigars? There are two key things to keep in mind when you’re measuring humidity.
First, don’t place the hygrometer directly on top of the water tray. There, the hygrometer is more likely to get saturated with water and read higher. Ideally, sit it on the wood tray where you store your cigars.
Second, remember that your humidor will take time to adjust. The best way to measure its saturation and humidity level is to fill it with 20 cigars—or however many it holds—and wait two weeks. As the cigars absorb some moisture, the humidity inside the humidor will equalize and you’ll be left with an accurate reading.