How to Remove an Unwanted Smell from Your Humidor

Recently we received the following question from one of our readers:

“I’ve been storing some cinnamon-flavored cigars in my humidor and, even one month after I removed them, the humidor still smells of cinnamon, which is affecting my other cigars. How can I get this smell out?”

There are a lot of cases where something like that may happen. Maybe you have a situation similar to our reader’s, and some stogies you stored with a particularly strong aroma are starting to affect the other cigars. Or maybe you just bought a brand new humidor and the cedar smell of the wood is particularly strong, and that is impacting the flavor and aroma of your cigars. Or perhaps you were using your humidor for some other storage application, and whatever you had in there previously left an odor behind it.

Whatever the situation, there is a solution! Or several solutions, as it turns out.

  • Let it air out. Sometimes, this is all it takes! Just leave the humidor open for a few days and let the smell die down. This works very well with new humidors that have an overly strong wood smell and can work great in other situations too. Placing the humidor outdoors during this process can work very well so long as you do not need to worry about precipitation.
  • Wipe down the inside of the humidor with isopropyl alcohol or denatured alcohol. You do not need to use a lot. Wait for the box to dry (leave it open so that it can air out thoroughly). After about a day, the aroma will hopefully be gone.
  • Baking soda may also do the trick. You may already use this to keep odors out of your fridge. Keep it in a container so that it doesn’t spill, and take out your cigars before you place the baking soda inside. Remove the baking soda as soon as the odor is gone and put your cigars back. This process could take up to a week, but it works great for a lot of odors.
  • Try a glass of whisky or brandy. If airing out the humidor doesn’t get rid of the smell, this non-conventional tactic may work to clear out the old smell. The “drawback” is that the new smell will linger for a long time even after you take the glass out again. The reason I say “drawback” is because some people actually like the impact this has on their cigars, and deliberately put a few drops of whisky in their humidors whether they need to get rid of an odor or not. Close the humidor when you try this technique.
  • I’ve also heard people say that placing thinly sliced potatoes inside a closed humidor for a few days can also help you get rid of unwanted smells. Disclaimer: I haven’t tried this technique.

As you can see, there are a number of different options you can try, so there is no need to give up on your old humidor. Just be sure to take care of your cigars during the process. In the future, it would be wise to store flavored cigars elsewhere (this part you have probably figured out on your own!).

What tricks have you used to successfully clear out unwanted odors from your humidor? Please share in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “How to Remove an Unwanted Smell from Your Humidor

  1. So I bought a Heritage White House humidor really cheap but it smelled like pipe tobacco had been stored in it. Certainly worth a try given how little I paid.

    It took me 3 full months to get it to the point where I could put cigars in it with little worry.

    I started with open containers of baking soda but that did very little I think.

    Then I bought a 1 pound bag of activated charcoal pellets (they sell them for aquariums, etc..). Amazon has them for about $5 (Acurel brand in my case) but you can buy them outright to or go to a pet store that sells fish stuff.

    My humidor was a large 300 count with 3 layers so I basically used the whole bag and I just poured it on the levels after putting them in a plate didn’t seem to work very well. I eventually just used the whole pound, probably overkill but cheap enough and I wanted it to work. A smaller humidor would obviously take less and you could do two “treatments” for a smaller humidor if you wanted to.

    For the last week or so I crumbled up some black and white newspaper and put it close to the walls that still had a smell. That drew out most of the remaining smell.

    I was sensitive to the smell after all that time and I could still get a sense of it but it was very slight and frankly might have been in my mind given that the cedar has a smell too.

    Then I vacuumed out the pellets and lightly wiped the inside with a towel moistened with distilled water. I had already initially seasoned it so I was good to go.

    Passing this along in the hopes it helps someone since I found a lot of discussions but no one ever reported back with results.

  2. Has anyone tried lightly sanding the interior of their humidor? Using a fine grit sandpaper, and lightly sanding the cedar planks in my closet seemed to release the cedar aroma again.

    Again, I haven’t tried this technique with a humidor–just with other cedar wood products. Would need to use some cheesecloth to clean up the wood dust when you’re done too.

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