Humidor: Humidification Unit in the Lid

The Most Common Humidor Problems and How to Solve Them

Disappointment when cigars are stored in a humidor is often caused by nonsensical construction of the used product and inadequate use. Here are the most common problems encountered when storing cigars in a humidor and suggestions on how to fix them.

Cigars become damp

Probable causes and their solutions:
1 – Cigars are being stored too close to the humidifier, especially when a tray is being used. Store cigars which are kept near to the humidifier in aluminium tubes, or increase the distance between the cigars and the humidifier. In small humidors insert a layer of veneer from a cigar box between the cigar and the humidifier.
2 – The evaporation surface of the humidifier is too large relative to the size of the humidor. Cover a section of the evaporation surface with sticky tape or choose a smaller humidifier. Install an active humidifier with air flow function.

Cigars are too dry

Probable causes and their solutions:
1 – The evaporation surface of the humidifier is too small relative to the size of the humidor. Choose a larger humidifier or install an active regulated humidifying system with air flow function.
2 – The wood in a new humidor is still dry and is taking moisture out of the air. Wipe the humidor lining with a damp cloth every 2 to 3 hours to re-humidify the wood.

The humidor has damp spots and dry areas at the same time

Probable causes and their solutions:
1 – Tray is hindering even distribution of moisture in the air. Remove tray or drill extra holes in it, ensure that air holes above/below the humidifier remain unobstructed. Install an active humidifier with air flow function.
2 – Drawers in cabinet humidors are preventing moisture distribution. Remove some of the drawers, move the humidifier onto the back wall of the cabinet and store cigars in boxes. An active humidifier can only be installed where the cigars are being stored in boxes, it cannot be installed in a drawer.

Musty smell in the humidor

Probable causes and their solutions:
1 – Untreated MDF surfaces (slots in tray, dividing strips). Varnish the inside of the air holes with two-component clear lacquer, or remove the tray completely. Replace the dividing strips.
2 – Excessive humidity causing mustiness in the wood of the lining. Re-line the humidor with Spanish cedar.
3 – Use of unsuitable wood. Re-line the humidor with Spanish cedar.

Mould in the humidor

Causes: Excessive humidity levels in the humidor over an extended period. Leakage of water from the humidifier.
Solution: Wipe the humidor out with a damp cloth, sand down with 120 grit sandpaper and remove all dust. Dry the humidor with a hairdryer (min. 50°C). (Wiping down with vinegar, alcohol etc, is totally ineffective.) If the mould appears to have affected the cigars verify that it is mould and not cigar bloom. Remove any mouldy cigars.

Torn wrappers and burst tips

Likely cause: Extreme fluctuations in humidity levels in the humidor, tension caused by expansion of the filler beyond what the wrapper can compensate for.
Solution: Keep humidity levels as constant as possible. Use an appropriately sized passive humidifier or install an active humidification system.

Loss of bouquet over time

Possible causes and their solutions:
1 – Too large a humidor is being used to store too few cigars. You can solve this issue by placing large closed boxes in the humidor to reduce the volume of open-air space. If storing a small number of single cigars in the humidor, store them in boxes.
2 – Humidor is aired regularly. Under no circumstances air your humidor. If excessive moisture levels threaten, then reduce the size of the evaporation surface of the humidifier, or install an active regulated system. Do NOT air the humidor. (Read here why it is not necessary to air your humidor on a regular basis)


This article was published in the Cigar Journal Winter Edition 2009.

Marc André is a passionate cigar smoker and humidor manufacturer. He has developed various humidification technologies for humidors, consults on and creates special humidor series and custom orders, and is in high demand as a lecturer on topics like cigar storage and humidor construction. His website,, features his 100%-made-in-Germany Century series, which offers a range of professional solutions to cigar storage – from small table humidors to aging cabinets.


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