Your Guide to Mold on Cigars: Can Cigars Get Moldy?

Moldy cigars
Think of moldy cigars like zombies—they’re alive, but dead to you and therefore, should be avoided.

You’ve just finished a long day at work, itching to kick back on the deck with a drink and a Cohiba. Or you’ve arrived at a destination wedding with a box of fine Davidoffs in your duffle. Only, when you go to sniff that stogie, instead of reveling in the warm, spicy tobacco notes, you catch a telltale waft of must. Your cigar is moldy. 

To answer the question posed in the title: Yes, you can get mold on cigars. Like all organic matter, tobacco is susceptible to the elements—including hungry mold spores hitching a ride. And while mold is irreversible (sorry), it is preventable. In this blog post, let’s explore how to spot cigar mold, what to do if you find mold on a cigar, and how to ensure its prevention with a cigar starter kit.

How Mold Grows on Cigars

As mentioned, tobacco is organic matter, so it contains the requisite food and water for mold to grow. It may not have the same water content as, say, a cucumber (which spoils quickly on a countertop), but a cigar typically has a moisture content between 12% and 15% at the time of sale

In a high-humidity environment (north of 72% RH), mold may find a hospitable, nutrient-rich environment in your humidor—just enough water and food to thrive. 

Damaged Cigars—Too Dry or Too Wet

Learning how to tell if a cigar is dry is relatively straightforward. A cracked wrapper and crumbling tobacco are tell-tale signs that your cigar is too dry to smoke. A papery, desiccated cigar burns too fast and lacks flavor.

Before they’re this far gone, dry cigars can be rehydrated by storing them for a month in a Boveda Humidor Bag.

On the other hand, telling if a cigar is over-humidified is a bit more complex. When a cigar is too moist, it feels soft, looks bloated, and will be tough to light. As the binder and filler expand, they can also split the wrapper. But how do you know if a “wet” cigar is moldy?

What Does Mold on a Cigar Look Like? How to Spot Cigar Mold

Cigar mold comes in an array of textures and colors. Commonly, it looks white and fuzzy (as mold often does). But other times, cigar mold is black, gray, green, or even orange. You’ll spot it on the cigar wrapper. If you wipe away the visible bits of cigar mold, you may still see some “staining” left behind by the fungi. (Yes, cigar mold is a fungus.)

Colorful mold in a petri dish.
Cigar bands should be colorful, not cigar wrappers. If you see black, white, gray, green, or orange spots on your cigar wrapper, that cigar is moldy. DO NOT SMOKE IT.

What to Do if You Find Mold on Cigars

We’ve read articles that suggest you can brush small amounts of mold from the foot of a cigar and smoke away. But we don’t risk it, and neither should you. 

It’s impossible to tell how deep the mold penetrates. Think of the mold that you can see as the top of a small tree—with a vast unseen network of roots below the surface. So instead of inhaling potentially harmful fungal spores, just throw a moldy cigar away and start fresh. Yes, it’s unfortunate. Yes, it’s a waste of money. But the potential health risks of smoking a moldy cigar outweigh your loss. Vow to properly store cigars in your care and move on.

Humidor filled with cigars and a 69% Size 320 Boveda mounted on the inside lid
Using Boveda 2-way Humidity Control packs prevent mold in your humidor and dried-out cracked cigars, too.

How to Prevent Moldy Cigars in the First Place

Here’s the thing about cigar mold: It shouldn’t happen in the first place. With a good humidor and the right Boveda packs for your setup, you’ll prevent moldy or dried out cigars. Every cigar will smoke perfectly because it’s perfectly humidified.

As we’ve explored previously on the blog, you find cigar storage that’s right for you—a properly seasoned Spanish cedar humidor, travel cigar humidor, acrylic humidor, tupperdor, or humidor bag. Next, add in Boveda with your cigars and replace the packs every three (3) months.

Use the Boveda Humidor Calculator to find out what Boveda you need. Need more help? Click the chat icon in the bottom right corner, and we’ll field your cigar-related queries.

Check out this handy Humidor Calculator to find out how many and which Boveda packs to use in your humidor.
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A Boveda pack will maintain a consistent ideal RH in your humidor, inhibiting mold growth and preventing your cigars from drying out. Its 2-way moisture control draws moisture from overly humid environments and emits moisture in excessively dry environments. No moldy cigars, no shriveled stogies—just a fresh smoke every time. 

Mold is a surprising, upsetting part of life. It turns up when you least expect it to put a damper on your day. But leave the mold to your bathroom tiles. For your cigars, always use Boveda wherever you store cigars.