If you’ve been smoking cigars for a while, you might have noticed that they just don’t seem to be as flavorful as they used to. Your humidor may need some tender loving care in the form of a deep clean. Here are a few steps to maintain your cigar humidor so your smoky treasures can stay fresh and moist, no matter how long you store them there.
Clean the humidor
Starting with the humidor itself, you’ll want to start cleaning it with something like a Brillo pad or dampened paper towels. You should not use anything abrasive, like soap or a vacuum cleaner. It is better to clean the humidor with dampened paper towels than to dry it out by spraying it with water and then using an abrasive tool. Once you have cleaned the humidor, you’ll want to remove the metal cigar stands. You can do this by taking your warm humidor out of the box and gently pulling the individual wooden cigar stands away. Rubbing the surfaces of the wooden stands against a smooth surface like a chalkboard will smooth out the tight, evenly distributed clumps of mold and bad smells that have formed there over the years.
Add distilled water to the humidor
Not only does water add a great aroma and lubricate the cigars, it also helps to keep them fresh. You can also use distilled water if you have a tankless water heater. This is a little trick I picked up from my dad. He adds a little bit of water to the water hose when he gets his morning coffee, and it adds the perfect amount of steam to help get the mug hot. For an easy way to get distilled water, ask your hardware store for a small glass container with the dispenser already removed. Simply pour a few inches into the reservoir. You will be able to add distilled water at the sink as well. Dust the cigars Just like when you clean your other appliances, it is important to dust your humidor as well. This will help prevent mold growth and keep any dust from accumulating.
Put a loaf of bread in the humidor to absorb excess moisture
If your cigars aren’t leaving as much of a mark on the wrapper, then you may need to do some deep cleaning to make sure that moisture isn’t accumulating on the wrapper and brick. This is the main reason for why your cigar tobacco leaves are getting drier and drier. Cover your humidor with an old, clean towel. Rubbing alcohol will get rid of all the dust, if it’s too thick, just cover it with a layer of paper towels instead. Be sure not to rub over the metal. Do not use something like a cheese grater on it. You can remove excess moisture by leaving a thin layer of water on your cigars. That water will evaporate as the humidity inside your humidor drops. If you store your cigars in a plastic bag, you may need to replace that with a second bag or a more airtight one.
Place cigars in a cigar tube or aluminum foil wrapper before placing them in the humidor
This gives your cigars room to breathe and helps you keep an accurate count of how many cigars you have. To clean a humidor, remove all tobacco, cigars and ash from the humidor and wash the inside of the lid thoroughly with a damp cloth. Sprinkle half a teaspoon of baking soda onto the lid. The baking soda will help absorb excess moisture from cigars. The damp cloth can be gently rubbed over the top of the box to remove any excess moisture, followed by a brief rinse in warm water. Replace lid and use the damp cloth to gently clean the inside. Use a damp towel to wipe the outside of the humidor to remove any dust and tobacco and then replace lid and the damp towel.
Replace the lining of your humidor
A couple years ago I ordered some beautiful, classic, hand-stitched, waxed cotton humidors on eBay. Because they weren’t my original, I needed to spend a bit of time cleaning and filling each of them with humidifying crystals. After only a few days, it became obvious that there was a clog in the system. The gasket between the leather and the wool lining had nearly gone.
In order to maintain the correct humidity level, you need to occasionally pull back that gasket to allow the crystals to properly saturate the fabric. So, it became a daily task to let the humidifiers soak up as much moisture as they could, then pull them out and let them dry before returning the gasket back in place. I managed to keep the gasket pretty tightly in place, but periodically a small nick would show through.
I know that buying a humidor, cleaning it, and maintaining it takes time, but it’s worth it. If you want to keep your favorite cigars and lighters from becoming stale and tasteless, just keep reading for the easy steps.