It is interesting to note that both cigars and humidors are crafted from organic materials that react to environmental conditions. For example, the cigar is full of cut tobacco leaves and wrapped up with a full leaf as well. The cigar humidor is built from decorative wood, and lined with soft cedar. The cedar and the tobacco leaves will both lose their moisture if the right level of humidity is not available. This means that properly using humidors requires them to first be balanced and completely humidified before any cigars can be safely added.
Does this mean that you must humidify the humidors when you first buy them? This is a yes and no answer because only a hygrometer can tell you the actual conditions inside of each box. For example, you might get home, put the box in a good location, add the hygrometer and leave it for a few days after which time you see that the humidity level of the empty box is at 72%. This is an ideal level, and good cigars could be added right away.
The solution is to first use the right equipment and accessories to get the box into working order, and only then should the cigars be added. The best tool for measuring the condition of the box is the device called a hygrometer. This will indicate the current dew point inside of the humidor, and the ideal level is around 70%.
To resolve this issue the owner must leave the box empty of cigars, but put the hygrometer and the humidifier inside of it. They must then leave the box closed for several days and make periodic checks on the hygrometer reading. If it is unchanged after a day or two they may need to rebalance the mixture in the humidifier to allow evaporation to happen a bit more rapidly. This is done by changing the percentage of the PG (Propylene Glycol) to distilled water by small increments. Usually it is a 50/50 mixture for ongoing hydration, but if the wood is completely dried out, this mixture could be shifted to a bit less PG to allow more water to escape.
Once the box has reached a 70% level for a few days, the humidifier should be returned to the 50/50 mixture, and cigars can be safely added for short or long-term storage.
Dave Sabot is the owner of an online specialty butane lighters store. With expert knowledge of cigar accessories, including triple torch lighters, Dave also owns a premier online cigar humidors store.