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Cigars/Low humidity



A few years a go my wife got me a humidifier as a gift. I seasoned it according to the directions and used a salt solution to get the hydrometer up to 70%, give or take a few degrees. I never really stored cigars for a long period of time in it so I never noticed this issue until now. The cigars I put in it about 6 or so months ago have dried out and cracked. I was not sure what was wrong because the hydrometer said it was 70% and the room temp in the room was about 71. I went and bought a $30 digital hydrometer and installed it and found that the humidity was actually only about 44%. I then reasoned the humidor by wiping it down with distilled water and then placing a saucer with distilled water in it for 24 hours until the humidity was at about 74%. I removed the saucer and check it again ofter 24 hours and the humidity is back down at 54%. I currently use a humidifier gel and fill it with a solution I get from the Virginia Tobacco store. I also filled up the sponge humidifier that came with the humidor to see if that helps. Why is it that the humidifier will not remain at a steady 70%? Could the humidor be "defective"? The Humidor came from Cuban Crafters.

Thank you,

ANSWER: Hi Russell,

Yes, it sounds like your humidor could be defective.  If the humidor lid does not have a firm "seal" when closed or there is gaps or cracks in the lid or joints, humidity can easily leak out.  Thoroughly examine your humidor for any construction flaws in the seams and joints. The humidor lid should have a firm but not too tight "vacuum seal" when you close the lid.  If the lid doesn't have a firm seal when you close it or it is crooked when closed, it's best to return your humidor for a replacement.

Also, if your home has a really dry heat (very common during colder months), humidity in your humidor will wick away twice as fast.  It's best to keep your humidor in a cool room with a temperature similar to the ideal humidor temperature (67 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.) It's also important that you keep your humidor away from direct sunlight, direct incandescent bulb lighting or major appliances that emit heat (such as a computer or television) as this can deplete the humidity in your humidor more quickly.

If your humidor doesn't appear to have any construction flaws or defects, try re-seasoning your humidor a bit longer.  The best method to telling whether or not a humidor is fully seasoned is to leave a clean sponge saturated with distilled water in the center of your humidor (place the sponge in a dish or on top of a clear plastic bag to avoid direct contact with the wood.)  If after 24 hours, the sponge feels dry and has lost a lot of moisture, resaturate the sponge and repeat the seasoning process of wiping down the interior with distilled water.  When your sponge is able to sit in your humidor for 24 hours without losing much moisture, your humidor is ready.

If the problem persists, it's best to replace the humidor as it is defective and something is causing it to constantly lose humidity.

I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please feel free to just ask and I will be happy to help.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


I have done all the things you recommended and it has helped, but not as well as I had hoped. I seasoned it for 72 or so hours and the soaked sponge felt moist the whole time. I removed the sponge on the last day and wiped the entire inside down. 24 hours later the humidity had dropped down and has slowly been dropping a couple degrees a day. I put another sponge in it, about an inch in diameter, and plan on leaving it in there to help keep the humidity up. I have the humidor in the best location in my house, although it is in the dining room near the over head light. It's the only place that the temp stays around 70. I do not want to rush and replace the humidor just yet, I would like to see if it may be the dry heat we have in the house. We are moving to Virginia Beach in a few weeks so I hope that climate will be different, and being summer, we will not have the heat on.

Do you have any recommendations or ideas? Thank you again for all your help.


ANSWER: Hi Russell,

You've done everything correctly so yes, you should wait for the weather to warm up and see if the dry heat in your home is depleting your humidor's humidity.

You may also want to consider using an electronic cigar humidifier instead of a passive element.  An electronic humidifier is programmable and will automatically maintain the humidity at the level that you set.  Once the humidity level is optimal, the humidifier will go into "sleep mode" but will continue to monitor the humidity.  When the humidity drops to a certain level, the humidifier will activate again and begin to circulate humidity until the desired level is reached again.  

I prefer to use electronic humidifiers because they are extremely user-friendly and requires very little supervision.  Many units also has a large water reservoir so they can operate for 3-6 months before requiring a refill.

I hope this helps.  As always, if you have any more questions, please feel free to just ask and I will be happy to help.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


I have attached a picture of the humidor I have, it is a 50 capacity desk humidor. What electronic humidifier do you suggest? I do not want to spend to much money on it, but because this was a gift from my wife while I was deployed to Afghanistan, I do not want to get another humidor.

Thank you for all your help!

Hi Russell,

Cigar Oasis makes electronic humidifers suitable for 50-count humidors. Their Ultra model is small enough to mount under the lid but their XL model has a larger water reservoir.  

You can view Cigar Oasis humidifiers at their website  Your local cigar shop may also carry Cigar Oasis or other electronic humidifiers.



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James Yee


My main area of expertise is Cuban cigars and I can assist you if you have questions pertaining to Cuban cigars. I can also assist you with the following:

- General cigar-related questions and advice
- Humidor maintenance and troubleshooting (How to treat humidor mold, correct high/low humidity, humidor seasoning, etc.)
- Accessory maintenance and troubleshooting (Cigar cutters, hygrometers, humidifiers, etc.)
- Cigar restoration, preservation and troubleshooting (How to treat cigar mold/tobacco beetles, restoring vintage/dry cigars, etc.)
- Cigar/Brand identification
- Cigar etiquette

Unsure of a certain cigar brand? Wondering what a certain cigar tastes like? Have a question about Cuban cigars? Having problems with a humidor or Just let me know! I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. (NOTE: My main focus is on premium, hand-rolled cigars and not cheap, machine made, convenience store cigars.) IMPORTANT: PLEASE NOTE THAT I DO NOT PROVIDE CIGAR OR CIGAR-RELATED APPRAISALS. If you have a vintage cigar item and you want to know if it's worth something, please contact an antique dealer that specializes in "TOBACCIANA".


I currently have 19 dedicated years of cigar smoking and counting. I have smoked every brand of Cuban cigars and most reputable non-Cuban cigar brands on a regular basis so I know a fair bit about taste profiles, cigar etiquette and other fine nuances to cigar smoking. For 5 years, I studied with Cuban torcedores (rollers), catadores (taste testers) and revisadores (inspectors) on every aspect involving the production of the Cuban cigar and I am currently writing a book that will help beginners understand everything they need to know about cigars and cigar smoking.

Maple Leaf Gardens: Memories & Dreams 1931-1999 (1999; ISBN: 0920445616)
50 Things Every Guy Should Know How To Do (2006; ISBN: 0452286654)
The [London] Times (October 8, 2009)

B.A. University of Toronto

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