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Relative Humidity, Hygrometer Calibration and Humidor Preparation
Storing premium hand made cigars with the correct humidity levels is important to keep cigars in top condition. The cigar humidor allows the cigars to be stored at the proper humidity levels. In order to keep the humidor at the proper humidity levels, there are certain routine maintenance procedures that need to be followed.
Preparing a New Humidor for Cigar Storage
When a new humidor is purchased, there are certain preparations that must be made to effectively store the cigars so that the proper humidity level is maintained. These preparations are important because the interior of the new humidor will absorb moisture if not properly cured before use. The humidor will actually absorb moisture from the cigars and leave them dry.
The following instructions are for the preparation of the humidor.
- Soak a new sponge with distilled water or humidifying solution and wet the inside of the humidor.
- Fill the humidity apparatus that came with the new humidor with distilled water or humidifying solution. Place the humidity apparatus in the humidor.
- Ring out sponge so that it is still damp and place the sponge inside the humidor on a plastic bag.
- Shut the lid on the humidor for 12 hours
- Remove the sponge and wait at least another 12 hours before storing cigars.
- Insure that the proper humidity level is achieved before storing cigars.
Maintaining the Proper Cigar Humidor Humidity Level
It’s important to maintain a proper humidity level. Optimal humidity level is between 65% to 75% relative humidity at room temperature of 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. As a general rule the higher the temperature the lower the relative humidity. So 70 degrees at 70% relative humidity would be ideal. If the relative humidity is too low, the cigars will become dry and crumble or unwrap. If the relative humidity is too high the cigars can become moist and hard to draw.
Calibrating the Humidor’s Hygrometer
The Hygrometer is the gauge or meter that most cigar humidors come with to measure the relative humidity. Not all hygrometers are properly calibrated so it’s important that it measures the proper humidity.
- Pour about a half of teaspoon of salt into a small container.
- Add a few drops of distilled water to the salt.
- Place the small container of salt and hygrometer inside of an airtight container for about 8 hours.
- Remove the hygrometer and immediately look at the reading. The hygrometer should read 75% relative humidity if adjusted properly.
- If the hygrometer has a different reading then 75% degrees there should be an adjustment mechanism on the back of the hygrometer. Adjust the hygrometer quickly before it adjusts to its surroundings.
If the proper procedures are followed and the proper humidity levels are maintained, cigars can last indefinitely. In fact premium cigars are like fine wines, they improve with age. If cigars are left to the elements and become dry, simply leave them in the cigar humidor for a few months to rejuvenate.