Imagine you open your humidor to kick back and enjoy a premium smoke, only to find out mold has started growing. Unfortunately, mold can come from many different things. One of the key problems can be handling your cigars with dirty hands, so it’s always best to wash them before opening or rotating your cigars.
Mold can also appear when the RH in your humidor exceeds 75%. Thankfully, your cigars can be salvaged most of the time, especially if you catch mold early.
What can cause cigar mold?
After discovering some mold in your humidor, you may wonder what can cause cigar mold. The growth can be down to a range of factors, and preventing it is much easier when you are aware of some of the causes.
Here are some common culprits that can cause mold to grow in your humidor.
Using non-distilled water
The type of water you add to your humidor matters. If you don’t add distilled water or use a different type of water, such as tap or bottled water, this won’t work for preventing mold. If you don’t have any distilled water, you’re best just to let your humidor dry out instead of trying to humidify it with non-distilled water.
Temperature or humidity is too high
Another common cause of mold is that the temp and humidity are far too high when you put your cigars in the humidor. It’s essential to ensure the temp is reading exactly.
Is it mold or plume?
When checking on your cigars and you notice some mold in your humidor, you must check what it is.
Sometimes cigar lovers can mistake cigar plumes for mold. Plume is completely harmless and is a good sign your cigars are aging correctly. If you’re unsure if your cigars are carrying mold or plum, our guide explains the difference between mold and plume to help you identify between the two correctly.
If it is mold, remove any cigars and discard them right away to prevent them from spreading to any of your other cigars in your humidor.
How to clean a moldy humidifier
Unfortunately, any cigars carrying traces of mold need to be removed and thrown away. If a cigar is infected, it will only continue to worsen and infect whatever environment you are storing them in, so it’s best to remove and discard it as soon as possible.
Throw away your Humidification device
Suppose you try and salvage your humidification device. In that case, there is an extremely high possibility you may re-infect your humidor and ruin your cigars a second time, so it’s always best to remove and re-purchase a humidification device.
The best course of action is to invest in a new humidor and Boveda pack just to be on the safe side.
Vacuum the Humidor
When removing the contents of your humidor, go ahead and vacuum the interior out to suck any loose bits of mold or tobacco. This will reduce your chances of re-contamination and ensure you get rid of every last little bit.
Sand the inside of the humidor
Sanding down your humidor is necessary when the lining is cedar, but be careful not to sand it down more than you need. When inspecting the mold, you must see how much it has taken over your humidor.
If it has taken over the walls of your humidor and doesn’t appear to be removable, then throwing out your humidor and replacing it may be the best option. However, this is down to your discretion.
Once you’ve sanded down your humidor, vacuum the inside to remove all traces of mold.
Sterilizing your humidor is key to ensuring all mold is removed. Wipe the interior with rubbing alcohol and use steam-distilled water for extra impact.
Distilled water also dilutes any alcohol that may have crept into the lining of the humidor.
Once you have followed the above steps, leave the humidor open to dry for around a day or so to ensure it dries.
Restart the process
Once you have followed the above steps and are confident your humidor is nice, you can start storing your cigars again, as your humidor is practically brand new. Pick up a new humidification device or Boveda pack to prep and season your humidor.
Be sure to wipe down the interior, charge up your humification source, close the box, and repeat the process until you reach 70% RH.
You then must be patient and wait two weeks or longer. Once you achieve the desired RH, monitor this closely to verify your mold-free humidor.
Once you are confident your cigars are mold-free, you can go ahead and begin storing your them again. To be safe, we recommend keeping your removed cigars isolated and continue fresh with a new batch, as you could risk re-introducing mold to your clean humidor.
Thankfully, if you have followed this tips, you will have resolved your mold issue and taken the right steps to ensure you don’t experience this again. If you are still unsure of how to store your cigars, we offer plenty of information and guidance here at the Stogie Shop.