Have you ever been tempted to buy a vintage humidor on Ebay, but were concerned about how effective it would be? There were no cheap imports from China, these were all made by English craftsmen and the equivalent today would cost you thousands of pounds from companies like David Linley. You still need to be cautious and take a careful look at the condition of the interior but if this doesn’t put you off you might be pleasantly surprised.
The first thing you should do is lightly sand the interior cedar wood with a very fine sandpaper just to remove any surface stains then thoroughly vacuum your humidor interior with a soft bristle attachment. You’ll want to remove as much of the residual dirt and dust that may have built up inside the humidor over the years. You may also wish to leave the humidor open for a period of time as it may have been closed for over decade!
Never use tap water in your humidor as prolonged usage of tap water in a humidor can also develop a chalky, powdery substance (mineral trace). This is what can give your cigars a bad, alkaline taste. Mineral deposits from the tap water may also have built up inside the humidification device so it’s best to replace it with a new unit. If your humidor uses an aqua-foam humidification device, it’s very inexpensive and a replacement. Alternatively if your are fortunate to buy an vintage Dunhill humidor, open the humidifier and buy a replacement interior aqua foam. Interestingly, few vintage humidors have a hygrometer so you may wish to buy a digital hygrometer.
Once your humidor is clean, you can now re-season it with either distilled water or humidification solution. Using distilled water, season your humidor.
It’s a different method of seasoning, of course. (Humidors don’t perform well when filled with oil and put over an open flame.) But the wood interior of the humidor needs to absorb humidity before it can become the ideal home for your cigars. Here’s what to do.
With a new sponge—unscented, free of soap and liberally dosed with distilled water—wipe down all exposed wood, including any trays and dividers, as well as the interior lid. Avoid using a paper towel or a fraying cloth; these will literally leave a paper trail on the wood. After you’ve wet the wood, squirt the sponge with more distilled water, then place it inside the humidor on a plastic bag (to avoid contact with the wood) and close the lid.
Fill the humidifier and be sure to wipe it down to remove all the excess water. Rest it on a hand towel for approximately 30 minutes. Add the humidifying element to the humidor and close the lid, leaving the damp sponge inside, and leave it overnight. The next day, refresh the humidification device if it needs more humidification solution, and check the sponge. If it is fairly dry, add more distilled water. If it is very damp, leave it alone. Let the humidor sit another night, then remove the sponge and plastic bag. The walls of the humidor have now absorbed all the water they need, and you can safely.
Alternatively if it just sounds like to much trouble, you can always buy a Simply Cigars humidor!