How Long Does a Cigar Humidor Take to Reach 70% Humidity?

smoking a cigar by jay | Posted on May 3rd, 2024

Cigars are delicate creations. Premium cigars, made from carefully fermented and rolled tobacco leaves, require specific storage conditions to preserve their flavor, aroma, and overall quality. That’s where the humidor comes in, designed to maintain the ideal environment for cigars, with a relative humidity (RH) of around 70% and a temperature of roughly 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

cigars and humidor

The Seasoning Process: Key to Success

Before you store your precious cigars in a new humidor, it’s essential to season it. Seasoning involves raising the humidity level within the humidor, allowing the wood lining to absorb moisture. This process is crucial, as it prevents a dry humidor from prematurely drying out your cigars.

Why Seasoning is Essential

  1. Prevents Cigar Damage: The most important reason to season your humidor is to protect your cigars. Dry cedar wood will rapidly suck the moisture right out of your cigars, leading to cracking, splitting wrappers, and an unpleasant, harsh smoking experience. Conversely, if cigars absorb too much moisture, they can swell, become difficult to light, and even develop mold. Seasoning properly ensures the cedar becomes saturated enough to provide a stable environment.
  2. Humidity Regulation: Seasoned wood acts as a buffer within the humidor. It will release moisture when the humidity levels drop and absorb some moisture when levels get too high. This creates a more balanced environment for your cigars, avoiding rapid fluctuations that negatively affect their quality.
  3. Flavor Preservation: Cigars are meant to be enjoyed at their peak, and that means maintaining the right balance of moisture. Seasoning prevents cigars from drying out, which compromises the delicate flavors and aromas from the expertly blended tobaccos.
  4. Enhanced Longevity: Properly stored cigars can last for years, even improving with age. Seasoning is the starting point for ensuring your cigars not only survive but thrive over time.

The Importance of Following a Process

Seasoning isn’t just about getting the humidor damp. Doing it correctly ensures even, gradual moisture absorption into the wood, making the humidor more effective and less likely to cause warping or damage. By following proven seasoning methods (as outlined in the previous article), you lay the groundwork for a humidor that will work optimally for years to come.

How Long Does Seasoning Take?

The length of time it takes to season a humidor depends on several factors, including:

  • Humidor Size: Larger humidors have more wood to saturate and thus will naturally take longer to season.
  • Humidor Materials: The type of wood used to construct the humidor will influence how quickly it absorbs moisture. Spanish cedar is the most common choice and is known for its moisture-regulating properties.
  • Climate: Seasoning a humidor can be quicker in areas with higher ambient humidity. Drier climates may take a bit longer.

Typically, the seasoning process takes anywhere from a few days to around two weeks.

While the previously mentioned factors (size, materials, climate) play a crucial role, let’s zero in on the timeframe for achieving 70% humidity:

  • Minimum Time: At the very least, the seasoning process should take 3-5 days. This allows for some initial moisture absorption and stabilization.
  • Ideal Time: Aiming for a full two weeks of seasoning provides the best results. This extended period lets the wood more thoroughly absorb moisture, ensuring a longer-lasting, stable environment.
  • The 70% Goal: During seasoning, you might see humidity levels spike above 70%. That’s okay! The goal is to initially saturate the wood, and the humidity level will stabilize around the 70% mark after the seasoning process is complete and you switch to your regular humidification system.

Other Factors that Influence Seasoning Time

  • Humidification Method: The type of humidification device you choose plays a role.
    • Traditional sponge-based humidifiers often require more frequent refilling and might take longer to achieve full seasoning.
    • Boveda packs or humidification beads offer controlled release of humidity, which can sometimes speed up the process.
  • Frequency of Monitoring: More frequent checks on the hygrometer and adjustments to your humidification help maintain steady humidity and could shorten the overall seasoning time.

Key Point: Reaching 70% humidity in a new humidor takes time. It’s crucial to be patient and ensure the wood is fully seasoned before introducing your valuable cigars.

Patience is Key

While you may be eager to fill your humidor with your prized cigars, rushing the seasoning process can be detrimental. Adding cigars before the wood is adequately seasoned could lead to them absorbing too much moisture or, conversely, drying out.

Tips for Faster Seasoning

Tips for Faster Seasoning: Ranked from Best to Least Effective

  1. Boveda Seasoning Packs: These specialized packs contain a high concentration of propylene glycol solution designed to release a precise amount of humidity within an enclosed space. They are the most reliable and controlled option, often seasoning a humidor within a few days.
  2. Distilled Water in a Container: Placing a small bowl or shot glass filled with distilled water inside your humidor will provide an extra source of humidity, accelerating the process compared to relying solely on the humidifier.
  3. Humidification Beads or Gel: These alternatives to sponge-based humidifiers often have a higher capacity for moisture and provide more controlled humidity release, potentially leading to faster seasoning.
  4. Wiping Down with Distilled Water: While essential for the initial step of the seasoning process, this method alone won’t fully season your humidor. However, slightly dampening the inside of the humidor can give the process a gentle boost.
  5. Sponge-Based Humidifier: This traditional option works but typically requires more frequent refills and might lead to a slightly longer overall seasoning time.

Important Considerations:

While everyone wants a quick process, be cautious of methods that promise to season a humidor overnight. Excessively fast moisture absorption can warp the wood and cause long-term problems. Regardless of your chosen method, a reliable hygrometer is essential to monitor the humidity levels and know when the 70% range is consistently reached.

Once Seasoned, It’s Time to Shine

When the hygrometer readings inside your humidor show a stable 70% humidity level for at least 24 hours, your humidor is seasoned and ready to house your cigar collection. Now your cigars can enjoy the perfect conditions to remain fresh and flavorful!

smoking a cigar


Self proclaimed cigar expert. I've been smoking since 2010. I've practically lived at a cigar lounge from 10am to 10pm and trying every new cigar that came out for years.

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