Before you even start thinking about cleaning your humidor- Stop! Why are you thinking about doing it? Have you discovered mold on your humidor or cigars? Have you recently been the victim of a tobacco beetle infestation? Have you maybe used bad water to recharge your humidor and have scale buildup? Do you have a lot of Tobacco dust and debris in your humidor? Other than these reasons, or if you just haven’t done it for a few months or more, you probably don’t really need to clean your humidor. In order for it to do the job it was meant to do, you really should leave it be for the most part.
That being said, unless you’re polishing the outside finish of the box, you shouldn’t really use any chemicals. Using any kind of harsh chemical on the inside of the box could ruin the finish, cause warping or otherwise damage the wood, or impart chemicals into the wood that could transfer to your sticks. The following products are recommended to clean the inside of your humidor, with a small explanation for what they’re ideally used for:
– Isopropyl Alcohol: If you’ve mold, you’re going to want to gently rub down the inside of the humidor with a slightly damp with Isopropyl Alcohol lint-free cloth. Obviously, you’re going to want to remove your cigars first and place them in a plastic zip bag to keep them fresh. Remember not to scrub the walls, this is just a light wiping to kill any spores that might be lingering. If you’ve mold on a certain part of the humidor, you might need to use a little more force to get it off, or move on to the next item.
– 150 grit (extremely fine) Sandpaper: If you’ve scale buildup or a mold spot that’s being a little stubborn, you can use some extremely fine grit sandpaper to take a small layer of the wood off of the inside walls of the box. If you do this, you should wipe it down with a slightly damp, lint-free cloth afterwards. An added plus to using the sandpaper is that it could (if you’ve a cedar humidor) release some of that nice cedar-y scent.
– Steam Distilled Water: Never, under any circumstances, use tap water for anything in your humidor because it has so many chemicals, minerals and impurities that’ll do damage to the humidor, potentially cause scale buildup, and generally not work well. If you don’t wanna use Alcohol, use steam distilled water to slightly dampen a lint-free cloth and wipe down the inside of the box.
Cleaning your Humidor should not be an every week event. Most people recommend once every couple of months. Like the old saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Monitoring the temperature and humidity levels of the humidor will help you clean it less often, keep your cigars at the optimal humidity, and allow them to mature properly.