How to Clean Your Moldy Humidor
If there is one thing that scares a cigar aficionado the most, it’s the presence of mold in their humidor. If left untreated, mold in a humidor can infect and spread to your entire premium cigar collection, rendering your pricy investments useless and impossible to smoke.
But if you have humidor mold, not all are for naught! It is possible to save your humidor, and your prized cigars, by following some of the tricks and tips laid out in this article. We will also briefly go over how to prevent mold from developing in your humidor with proper maintenance.
Tips for cleaning your moldy humidor
First and foremost, it should be noted that if your humidor is overrun with mold, chances are you will not be able to salvage or restore it. These remedies are intended more so for spot treatments and ensuring an infection does not spread. However, it could be worth the attempt if your humidor is rare or exceptionally expensive. That said, let us explore the methods you should employ should you ever find a spot of mold in your humidor.
The very first thing you want to do is remove your premium cigars from the humidor to prevent further spread. See further down the article for how to identify mold on your cigars or in the humidor, but if you see any cigars that have mold on them, it is best they be thrown out. It is better than trying to save them and putting up with a subpar smoking experience, or worse, reintroducing the mold to your humidor.
Once you have the cigars separated and in resealable bags so they stay at the top-quality freshness, you can begin your work on the humidor. With a paper towel or lint-free rag, gently wipe an isopropyl alcohol solution, preferably a high concentration like 91%, all over the entire humidor’s interior. This will kill off the mold plaguing the humidor.
You may also want to take 120-150 grit sandpaper and sand down the afflicted areas of the humidor. By sanding off the top layer, you will also remove much of the infection. It’s important to clean up any remnants or dust with a vacuum or brush so there is no trace left. You should also consider doing an isopropyl wipe-down after any sanding to ensure that the isopropyl permeates as far as it can.
After wiping down the interior with isopropyl, leave the humidor open to dry for at least an hour. Most of the isopropyl will evaporate at this time. After a couple of hours of the humidor drying and the isopropyl evaporating, you will want to re-season your humidor with distilled water and a clean sponge. This will remove any excess isopropyl and prepare your humidor for accepting your cigars.
After applying the distilled water to re-humidify your humidor for seasoning, make sure you wait a couple of weeks before returning any cigars to the humidor. Be vigilant about making sure the humidity is at appropriate levels and that mold does not reappear. If mold does start to reappear, repeat the steps listed above, or you may have to cut your losses and procure yourself a brand new humidor.
The bottom line is that mold spores are everywhere and will get everywhere. Mold spores are just as pervasive, if not more so than bacteria and viruses, so you will never be able to completely purge all mold and spores from your humidor. The best you can do is keep the conditions inside your humidor suitable for cigars while discouraging the growth of mold.
Tips for keeping your humidor fresh
While above you can find ways to remedy humidor mold, it is far more prudent and simpler to prevent mold from ever being an issue. The key to this is by keeping your humidor fresh and in top-notch condition. An unkept humidor is one of the many mistakes a beginner aficionado can make.
The very first step in making sure your humidor stays fresh is making sure that it’s properly seasoned. If your humidor is over seasoned, it could be holding onto too much moisture. Too much moisture or humidity can lead to severe mold issues, so be conservative with how much-distilled water you use when seasoning a humidor.
You will also want to keep the environment inside your humidor at around 68-70% relative humidity. Mold thrives in damp environments, and anything above 75% RH inside your humidor is asking for trouble, and that goes double for when it is warm. Make sure your humidor is stored in a cool, dry place to inhibit mold growth, and things should turn out fine.
How to revive dry cigars
Just like how a cigar humidor can be too humid, the environment inside can also be too dry. This can cause your cigars to dry out and become stale. But fear not, as there are many ways to revive a cigar that has dried out, just like there are ways to rectify a moldy humidor.
Much like preventing mold from growing, preventing your cigars from drying out all comes down to proper maintenance and care for your collection of top-shelf cigars. I am sure you have a ton more questions about how to do that, so check out our extensive library of articles that are brimming with helpful information!