Knowing how to rehydrate cigars is a beneficial skill. Many people underestimate the effect that temperature and humidity have on cigars; in fact, cigar dehydration can occur so slowly that it goes completely unnoticed until much later when the damage has already been done. Dehydration can be caused by various factors that contribute to the same effect: dry cigars.
Different cigars have different hygrometers and humidifying solutions, but there is some common ground among them regardless. The following set of instructions will go into depth about rehydrating your cigars in different ways depending on what you have available to keep up with their needs while still trying not to break the bank.
First, we’ll talk about re-humidifying cigar cellophane. Then we’ll move on to other means like using humidifiers, gel packs, or simply keeping your cigars in a standard Tupperware container at room temperature for a couple of hours. These practices work best for Havana cigars or vintage pre-1960’s cigars because they are more delicate and need a re-humidifying solution.
Leave the Cigars in a Naturally Humid Room
One of the simplest ways to rehydrate your cigars is to use the natural atmospheric moisture of a particular place. A humidor is usually best for this, but if you don’t own one of the cigars in 3rd party cellophane, try to find a large room that has been kept at high humidity levels.
This will work best with Cuban cigars because they are used to being stored in very humid conditions. Leave the plastic wrapper off your cigars and place them wherever it’s naturally humid, like a bathroom where there is frequently steam coming out of the shower or an attic that isn’t heated/cooled all year long. Once your cigar feels somewhat spongy again, slowly re-wrap them and put them back into their natural environment while still keeping in mind to be careful not to drop them from too great of a height as they could break easily due to the weakened leaf tobacco.
Rehydrating Cigar Cellophane
Cigars wrapped in cellophane while being stored for long periods of time require special attention and care. Cellophane must be periodically soaked to maintain optimum humidity conditions; this can be tedious and irritating if you have many cigars in an airtight container with layers upon layers of cellophane on top.
Instead, purchase some cigar saver packets from your local tobacconist. These packets instantly re-humidify the area around your cigars and will last for about a month’s worth of humi time, depending on the size of the humidor. The best part about cigar savers is that they are messy-free and simple but still cost-effective. Cigar Saver packets retail around $2-$3 each, depending on where you live.
Rehydrating Cigars Using Handheld Humidifiers
The next most recommended technique to rehydrating cigars is using a handheld device with gel or beads as its holding solution. This technique is quick and easy to perform and can dry out other cigars in your humidor if not done properly, so try not to use it for more than four hours at a time (if there isn’t any room left between cigars). These devices generally only require one cartridge per container, which will save you money in the long run.
The best desiccant (which is what it is) to use is propylene glycol for about $7-$20 depending on its size or strength; this will also ensure that humidity levels remain stable in the long run. This technique is great because of its versatility and low cost, even though it has been debated about cigar connoisseurs for a while. But keep in mind that drying out other cigars with one of these devices for too long might ruin them, so try not to overdo it!
Also, many different kinds of handheld humidifiers are available, ranging from $100-$350 per item. You can find these at tobacco shops or online. The best way to rehydrate your cigars using a handheld humidifier is by purchasing a cigar box with a built-in humidifier that comes with its own refillable cartridge (pictured above).
Rehydrating Cigars Using Gel Packs
Another great strategy to rehydrating cigars is through gel packs, which give you more flexibility than humidifiers do. With this technique, all you need is commercial-grade aluminum foil, plastic wrap, and a Tupperware container with an air-tight seal. Would you please fill up the Tupperware container with gel packs and place them below your entire collection of cigars inside their original packaging? This will slowly re-humidify your cigars for about a week’s worth of storage in a humidor.
Keep the gel packs under each cigar horizontally to ensure that they receive enough humidity before their smoke time, and continue to do so every four or five days until you’re ready to start smoking those sticks!
If you want this technique to be even more cost-effective, dry out an entire bag of oyster crackers at home (about $3-$4) and wrap up individual pieces inside plastic wrap so that it looks like a little chocolate bar; now, place these inside your Tupperware container with some water (enough to cover all the cracker pieces). After 48 hours, please take out the plastic-wrapped pieces of crackers and replace them with more plastic-wrapped crackers; this will help re-humidify your cigars while saving you money at the same time.
Rehydrating Cigars Using Reusable Bead Humidifiers
The final and most recommended technique to rehydrating cigars is using a reusable bead humidifier, which is better in some ways than handheld devices because they have a much longer life span. These devices usually have over 50 beads inside them that slowly absorb liquid when placed on top of your cigar collection. After about four days, these beads should be coated with liquid giving you enough humidity for 20-30 cigars. However, keep in mind that the larger your collection becomes, the longer it will take these to work again, but luckily they last for years once properly used.
These are great because they can easily fit inside of any cigar box you have lying around, and the beads don’t stick out, so they won’t ruin the aesthetics of your collection. You’ll never have to worry about having to replace these every season, or if one breaks either, so they’re definitely worth their $7-$15 price tag! One thing we recommend is keeping them in a separate container from your cigars (with plastic wrap) just so that it is easy to see when you need to re-humidify them; this way, you will know for sure that none of your sticks are drying out. If, by chance, one of the beads does break, then purchase a new device before starting up with this whole rehydration process.
Create Makeshift Humidor by Placing Cigars Inside Tupperware Containers
As mentioned above, if you’ve got many cigars that are starting to dry out, then it might be time to make a makeshift cigar humidor with some Tupperware containers. This may sound like an odd idea, but it’s actually much more effective than you think!
Using this technique, you won’t need any fancy devices, just some Tupperware and a few Boveda packets (which can be found online). For years now, people have been successfully reusing these little packets for all sorts of things, so here is how they work: Bovedas are special plastic wrappers that use “saltwater” inside of them which reacts with the oxygen in the air by slowly releasing a chemical that helps keep cigars fresh without the need of any water or gel packs.
Pro Tip: It's hard to believe, but these little wrappers really work, so much in fact that you can actually use one Boveda packet for over 150 cigars... which means you won't have to buy another humidifying device for years to come! The only thing you do need is some double-wrapped plastic wrap (found at most grocery stores) and Tupperware containers with lids on them.
This method works so well, besides using Boveda, because it allows each cigar room to breathe before being re-humidified by its own container, increasing freshness and preventing mold from forming inside your sticks. This method is great for re-humidifying a small number of sticks (maybe about 5 or so), but if you’ve got a larger collection, it would be best to use the Tupperware method mentioned above instead.
Use Your Shower to Rehydrate Cigars
This is the simplest way to re-humidify your cigars, and it doesn’t require any tools or supplies. All you have to do is place them inside of a Tupperware container with double wrapped plastic wrap (just like in the Tupperware method), then put the container in your bathroom while you take a hot shower.
Within 10 minutes, all of these cooped-up sticks should begin to smell like they used to again! This technique works great because as warm air rises from around your feet, the humidity contained within that air will be sucked into the bottom of the shower and slowly rise upwards towards where your cigar collection is sitting. By circulating this ambient humidity throughout your entire room by using an exhaust fan, you’ll be able to re-humidify hundreds of your cigars within minutes! As long as you keep it warm in your bathroom, this method will work great and is very simple.
If you’d rather not use an exhaust fan while showering, try using this method instead: what worked best for us was placing our Tupperware container full of cigars right above the tub’s drain, which prevented some humidity loss shower (besides the heat). This works because after filling up a hot bathtub with water, the humid air inside of that water will float upwards towards your cigars, giving them time to absorb moisture before you even start taking a shower properly.
The only downside to this method is that if anyone in your household takes baths or showers after you, they will absorb some of the humidity in that air, which can dry out your cigars. So keep in mind that this technique is best used when everyone else hasn’t taken a shower or bath for a while.
All of the techniques mentioned above will help you keep your cigars just as fresh as they were right after leaving the store or factory if used properly and often enough, but the truth is that it’s almost impossible to completely avoid having to dry out your sticks because we all like to take long breaks between smoking our cigars.
If you’re a casual smoker, then these three methods should be plenty enough for ensuring that your collection stays well humidified for years at a time, but if you are an avid cigar enthusiast with hundreds or thousands of sticks, then don’t forget about using wooden cigar boxes with built-in humidifiers, or even better yet use one of these large desktop humidors.
The point here is if you’re going to spend money on cigars, then we highly recommend having a way to hold onto them for longer periods of time so that they stay as fresh as the day you bought them. But if you don’t like the hassle of buying one of these larger devices, then at least make sure that they have an airtight seal and keep them in their original packaging; this will help preserve their moisture content for longer periods!
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