Even the most casual cigar collector probably has a humidor in which to store his or her cigars. The purpose of a humidor is to maintain the perfect humidity to preserve the cigar for as long as possible. Humidors are available in a wide range of sizes and capacities and are a necessity for anyone who wishes to properly store his or her cigars.
However, many collectors might be wondering how a humidor actually works. As stated, the purpose of a humidor is to maintain a steady rate of humidity inside the enclosure of the humidor. The typical “ideal” humidity level for cigars is seventy percent. So, how do humidors maintain that seventy percent humidity level? The answer is a combination of the materials used to construct the humidor and the humidor solution used to introduce moisture into the container.
Humidors are typically created with some type of material that is good at keeping in moisture and that does not absorb moisture out of the air. For example, humidors are often made from rosewood, ebony, leather and glass, wood and glass, and even acrylic. Glass and acrylic do not absorb moisture, but the most common construction element available is wood, which does absorb moisture. The woods used are typically the varieties that absorb less moisture, but humidors made of any type of wood must be seasoned to keep them from absorbing too much moisture.
In addition, all humidors contain some sort of humidifying system within that introduces moisture into the enclosure. A typical humidor system has a humidifying element that contains some sort of hydrating agent that evaporates to keep the air moist. One such hydrating agent is distilled water. However, there are now humidor solutions available that may function even better than the old standard of distilled water.
Humidor solutions are typically made up of some mixture of propylene glycol and distilled water. Manufacturers assert that the propylene glycol added to the distilled water acts as an agent that retards dehumidification. In fact, the chemical is often added directly to certain brands of cigarettes and cigars to help prevent them from drying out. Furthermore, the addition of propylene glycol in the humidor solution may retard the growth of mold in the humidor. Mold can be an issue in any very moist environment, therefore prevention of such growth is imperative.
So, for humidors constructed from wood, a material that “breathes,” humidor solutions may help prevent the wood from absorbing the moisture intended for the cigars. For humidors constructed glass and acrylic, materials that do not “breathe,” humidor solutions may prevent the growth of mold that can ruin the cigars stored inside. A humidor solution may indeed be the best solution to many typical humidor problems.