So you have that humidor at home that may have one or two cigars left in it, or empty, and the conditions are as dry as the Sahara desert...what to do? It's not too late to show her some love again - a little extra TLC and watch what happens!
I have an old cherrywood humidor that I got dirt-cheap as a package deal with some cigars many years ago. At one time, I had about 3 completely dried out cigars left in it - some leftover old unbanded cigars from a Nicaraguan bundle a retailer gifted me. See, I had a much sexier humidor that was getting all of my attention...it was a black patent leather humidor that stored only about 25 cigars, but it was a beautiful piece with a gold plate engraved with my name. However, this beauty became very high-maintenance - couldn't maintain a decent level of humidity to save my life, stayed dry as a bone, and it was not conducive to long-term cigar storage. In addition, I noticed that the hinges were of poor quality and the humidor would not seal properly upon closure.
So, instead of purchasing another humidor, I decided to re-invest a little time, energy, and dedication to Old Cherry once again...apologize for my negligence, revive her, and show her some love again. And she is returning the love BIG TIME! After all...I'm entrusting her with the care of my babies, right??? Now, my cigars stay fresh and in excellent condition with minimal maintenance, and the relative humidity stays constant. Absolute perfection - so what did I do???
As with a brand new humidor, Old Cherry had to be "seasoned" in preparation for cigar storage. Your humidor must be primed properly to maintain the humidity and environment for your cigars. The following steps are suggested to return the necessary humidity and environmental stability for your smokes in your old neglected humidor.
Zip-lock storage bag
New sponge or cloth hand towel
Ensure that the humidor has a hygrometer for measuring and monitoring the relative humidity. Digital or analog...your choice. You must ensure that it is calibrated properly to provide accurate readings. I like to use the salt method to calibrate my hygrometers.
Place the humidification unit in a bowl and fill with distilled water. NEVER USE TAP WATER - Tap water contains chlorine and other minerals and particulates which can damage the humidifier unit. Submerge the humidifier halfway into the distilled water and allow it to soak for about 3-5 minutes. Remove the humidifier and wipe off the excess water with a paper towel.
Dampen (not soak) a new sponge or cloth hand towel with distilled water and wipe down the cedar interior of the humidor - everything including the sides, bottom, inside of the lid, dividers, and trays. You do not want to soak the cedar interior, just dampen enough to darken the wood.
Lay a plastic zip-lock bag flat in the humidor and place the dampened sponge/towel on top of the plastic. Again, ensure that it is not dripping wet.
Re-install the humidifier and hygrometer and close the humidor - leave closed and undisturbed for about 24 hours
After 24 hours, open the humidor and remove the sponge/towel and the plastic bag. Refill the humidifier with distilled water, re-install it, and leave the humidor closed and undisturbed for another 24 hours. This should raise the humidity level to the range of 65% to 75%, where you want it to be. As it may take some time for the humidity to stabilize and for the hygrometer to adjust, I would not place any cigars in the humidity level reaches that range.
You may need to repeat the process until desired results are achieved. If desired results are not achieved, make sure that the humidor is closing properly and maintaining a good seal. If you notice that the humidification is too high or the humidor is getting too moist, you may add some cedar strips or blocks to absorb some of the extra moisture and bring down the humidity. Remember, humidity too high or too low are both conditions that may be detrimental to your cigars. Once the humidor is back in working order with stabilized humidity, it's ready for your cigars.
Some keys to long-term humidor maintenance for best results:
Rotate your cigars at least once a month (to ensure that all of your cigars are taking advantage of the air circulation and humidification within the humidor).
Keep the humidor away from direct sunlight, direct interior lights, or heating/air conditioning ducts.
Open the humidor as little as possible, and do not keep it opened for prolonged periods of time, in efforts to maintain proper humidity level. Periodically check the hygrometer and re-moisten the humidifier with distilled water (may also use propylene glycol [PG] solution as well - check the instructions of your unit prior to doing this).
If your humidor is wooden, keep clean and regularly dusted with a soft cloth or dust mop. Keep her pretty! Be careful using furniture polish on the outside of the humidor - you do not want any of the polish to get inside of the humidor, as the odor will ruin your stash completely.
Keep showing your humidor the love it needs from time to time - it takes minimal effort on your part, and the love will be returned multi-fold. A happy humidor...a happy cigar lover!