Cigar mold is typically a humidity-related issue that affects every cigar enthusiast or collector at some point in their lives. Moldy cigars can be a recurring nightmare for many of us!
Are cigars prone to mold?
Molds are typically found on plants or animal matter. They are part of the environment, and be it indoor or outdoor; they can be easily found. These mold spores cause a breakdown of things that they are attached to, which is important to keep the cycle of the environment.
Moreover, most mold feeds on sugars and will quickly expand or spread in an atmosphere containing a combination of these factors.
Cigar humidors provide a nutrient-rich environment. However, if the ideal conditions are not met, the heat and moisture can spur mold growth. That’s why it is better to use a Boveda pack than distilled water.
Mold is especially fond of relative humidity levels above 70%, with 70% being the standard right level for storing cigars. After all of this, it is no surprise that this has become a dilemma for cigar collectors.
They usually just appear like a white spot, but these things even come with different variants. Sometimes they could be white, gray, yellow, blue, or even green. All of these, however, is not very appealing to us.(1)
Are cigar mold and plume the same?
Perhaps to attract buyers, the industry has been telling us that old enough cigars can develop plume as the time flows. It is said that the oil seeps out of the cover and crystallizes outside as something called ‘bloom’ which is said to be a good thing.
However, this doesn’t seem to be the case.
You have been fooled into believing that the white dust on your cigar is plume, but it turns out it is just mold.
There are always enthusiasts who tell people this, but people ignore it or outrightly disagree with it. Now, there is science to back it up. The scientific testing confirms what we’ve speculated all along and yet were hesitant to admit. Yes – there is no such thing as plume, only mod. As this is just a common bacteria everywhere, we should expect it on our cigar especially as they just stay in the humidor. (2)
But, is cigar mold dangerous?
Mold is everywhere, and we breathe or digest it regularly. Our immune systems have adapted to effectively isolate and kill pathogens. However, there is a threshold, and if we consume too much, we may become ill or develop an illness. Although the thought of mold on your cigars may seem alarming, it’s important to remember that we’re all exposed to small amounts of it on a daily basis.
If you recognize mold on your cigars, it’s usually more of an irritation than a cause for concern.
Mold is three-dimensional and can have a fluffy or hairy appearance. When you look at a piece of mold under a microscope, you’ll notice a slender stem covered by spores that can jump from one cigar to the next. They will not spread just in the cigar wrapper and mold only appears in spots and just a small group. If you look closely, you could observe webbing between the smudges. However, the problem can’t only be solved just on its surface.
Experts warn that it could be dangerous if you notice a mold on the cigar’s foot. It had undoubtedly accumulated inside the cigar. If you come across this, it is recommended that you dispose of it; however, if you are unwilling to part with your cigar, you could simply snip it off. You should be fine if you don’t find any mold on the cuts you’ve made.
If you encounter cigar storage that all of them contain molds, you may have to discard it. Even having a different smell can be a sign of mold, and it’s best to avoid them because smoking a lot of mold can be dangerous, even if it’s fine with you. (3)
How to prevent cigar mold
There are certainly ways to prevent cigar mold.
You could invest in cigar accessories such as a hygrometer as it would be good. Also, you should know that digital hygrometers are better than the analog ones, they are far more accurate, so they should be worth investing in.
Inspect Your Cigars For Molds
Check your cigar box weekly, or if possible, on a daily basis. Rotate each of your cigars and check for possible cigar molds so that you can stop its spread and save the affected cigar.
Is Your Source Legit?
It is important that when you buy cigar you should choose the already-known brands. You are spending money anyway, so why not spend a little more to buy quality cigars? If you try to save by buying low-quality ones you might even encounter cigars that are already affected with mold.
Managing Your Humidor
Remember not to use tap water when refilling the reserves of your humidor. You should use distilled water or a propyl glycol solution as this will decrease the chance of mold appearing on your cigar. (1) Safest in our opinion is to use a Boveda pack listed for 69% or 65%.
How to get rid of cigar mold
If you find mold even if it’s just one precious cigar, you should already be inspecting your cigar box. As mentioned earlier, moulds can simply jump and infect another cigar. What you should do then is, take out all cigars from the humidor and remove the mold you see on the surface. After that, store them in a dry place.
After completing these, place your humidor on a clean surface and start brushing it as there could be little molds growing already without you noticing. You should also be careful when cleaning it as you may damage the wood interior or stain it. A towel with isopropyl alcohol to wipe the outside is a good way to finish it.
On already infected, moldy cigar, you can try cutting just a part and you will be able to see if molds have already developed inside. Do not try to smoke them if they are too infected as molds are usually toxic. (3)
Can you brush off cigar mold?
Yes and no. You can brush off the molds you see outside the cigar carefully and you should not spread it on the cigar. At least try instantly brushing it off without touching any parts of your cigar as to prevent the mold from sticking to it. However, just brushing the mold off won’t be any good if the mold was already building up for too long as it could have already infected the inside. This could still be remedied just as mentioned before, by cutting end of the cigar and removing the mold on the outside. (4) However, to be safe, if you see mold on the end of the cigar, it is better to throw it out as it could be all the way inside and not visible.
- Shane K., Tips for Preventing Cigar Mold, https://www.holts.com/clubhouse/cigar-101/prevent-cigar-mold
- Plume, Boom,..Or Just Mold? https://www.cigarhabitat.com/news/plume-bloom-or-just-mold
- Cigar Mold And Cigar Plume – JR University, https://www.jrcigars.com/blending-room/university/cigars-101/mold_plume/
- What is Cigar Mold & How to Prevent It, https://bespokeunit.com/cigars/mold/