Moldy cigars or mold in the humidor are among the most common humidor problems. If you find mold on your cigars, first make sure that it really is mold and not cigar bloom (see Cigar Journal Edition 1/2010). If it really is mold, then the cigars must be removed. As for the humidor itself, there are various means of removing mold from the wooden surfaces.
Alongside various chemicals (none of which are suitable for use in a humidor (see Cigar Journal Edition 1/2010) I offer you a practical, if somewhat time-consuming recommendation. Empty the humidor and wipe it out with vodka or corn schnapps (it does NOT kill the mould, but is an effective means of cleaning the surfaces.)
Then dry the humidor with a hairdryer for at least 30 minutes, making sure that you heat the whole humidor thoroughly (to over 50°C – this kills the mould effectively). You can also heat the humidor in the oven to 50°C if you keep the door ajar, but you must be careful not to allow the varnish to become the next victim. If the wood in the humidor is very damp, the higher temperature will cause the water stored in the wood to evaporate more rapidly, and this can dissolve the varnish.
Rub the interior of the humidor down thoroughly with 120-grade sandpaper and use the vacuum cleaner to remove the resulting dust from any cracks. Rub the humidor over with alcohol once more and leave it to evaporate away (leave the humidor open for an hour). You can do no more for your humidor.
In extreme cases (and only if the humidor is very valuable) you should follow this procedure by varnishing the interior of the humidor with a 2K clear varnish and replace the liner. That is the 100% solution.
This article was published in the Cigar Journal Spring Edition 2011. Read more