How to Prepare a Humidor

By Jerry Garner
Cigar box humidor
pknitty86, Creative Commons License

Using a humidor will keep your cigars and fine tobaccos fresh and flavorful, even if stored for long periods of time. The two primary components of the humidor are the humidifier and the hygrometer. The humidifier provides moisture to maintain humidity inside the humidor, while the hygrometer acts as a gauge to show you what the humidity is inside the humidor. As long as you take the time to make proper preparations for your humidor, your cigars and smoking products will enjoy a long life in perfect humidity.

Calibrate the Hygrometer for the Humidor

Prepare a source of humidity. Keep the lid from a 2 liter bottle of soda. Fill the lid most of the way with ordinary table salt. Using a spoon, drizzle a small amount of distilled water onto the salt until it has the consistency of wet beach sand.

Carefully place the cap full of wet salt into a sealable storage bag, such as a Ziplock. Place the hygrometer in the bag with the salt and seal it shut. You will need to leave the hygrometer sealed in the bag for 8 hours before opening it.

Wipe down the inside of the humidor. While the hygrometer is sealed in the bag for 8 hours, use the opportunity to wipe the inside of the humidor with a damp cloth, then use a dry cloth to absorb any excess moisture. Do this every other hour to condition the cedar wood to the humidity that it will soon be subjected to.

Remove the hygrometer from the storage bag after 8 hours. Check the reading on the hygrometer to see what it says the humidity is. After being sealed in a bag with a cap full of damp salt for 8 hours, the hygrometer should be reading 75 percent humidity. If the reading is far from this mark, use a jeweler's screwdriver to slowly tighten the screw on the back of the hygrometer until the needle is pointing at 75 percent. This will recalibrate the hygrometer to make up for any bumping or other rough treatment it may have endured before making it to you. Alternatively, you can take your hygrometer to a cigar dealer to have it professionally calibrated.

Install the hygrometer in the humidor. The hygrometer should push right into place into the lid of the humidor. It should be arranged so that the display gauge is facing the outside of the box and can be seen without opening the lid to the humidor.

Prepare the Humidifier for the Humidor

Place the humidifier in a small bowl. A cereal bowl or any other small kitchen bowl will work just fine, as long as it is large enough to hold the humidifier.

Slowly pour a small amount of distilled water into the bowl. Be careful not to completely submerge the humidifier. If the water comes half way up the side of the humidifier then an ample amount has been poured into the bowl.

Soak the humidifier for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the water and carefully dry the exterior of the humidifier with a damp towel.

Install the humidifier into the humidor. The humidifier should pop into position next to the hygrometer, or it can rest in the bottom of the humidor box.

About the Author

I am also the publisher of, and hold a position at the local newspaper.