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KnowledgeBase --> Cigar Articles --> Kitty Litter for Humidification by Cigary
Kitty Litter for Humidification by Cigary

Kitty Litter for Humidification

For those of you out there that have had questions about using Kitty Litter in your humidor, here is an article written by our Cigar Geeks member, Cigary.

What’s the R/H in your Home?

I ask you this because in Atlanta where I am it is close to 90% outside right now and 75% in the house. I have been running dry litter in my humi since spring. I probably won’t add water until December. Even then I run a humidifier in my home and try to keep it no less than 50% in the home at all times. So I add just enough water to bring it up to the 63-65% I am looking for. You see, the litter pulls the excess moisture out of the air. My humi is 64-65% running dry litter. If it gets dry for a couple of days then it releases the moisture it has collected. So hydration is really not necessary unless it is dry for extended periods of time like winter when it gets bone dry. Many of you tell me you add water to the litter and the R/H is 80%. That's because you shouldn't be adding anything when the R/H in your home is higher than you want in your humidor. Even then, never hydrate more than 50% of the litter.

Setup:

Any unscented silica will work. Put a small dish or Tupperware full in a humi and I guarantee in no time you will be around 60%. In a vino 28 start with 2 pounds and add as necessary.

I have 18 humidors of varying sizes and styles - wood, tupperware and coolerdors.

  • For a humidor/tupperdor that stores around 300 cigars I use about 3/4 of a pound of litter.

  • For a humidor/tupperdor that stores around 250 cigars I use about 1/2 of a pound of litter.

  • For a humidor/tupperdor that stores around 200 cigars I use about 1/2 of a pound of litter.

  • For a humidor/tupperdor that stores around 150 cigars I use about 1/3 of a pound of litter.

  • For a humidor/tupperdor that stores around 100 cigars I use about 1/3 of a pound of litter.

  • For a humidor/tupperdor that stores around 50-75 cigars I use about 1/4 of a pound of litter.

  • For a humidor/tupperdor that stores around 25-50 cigars I use a small open credo that holds about 4-6 ounces of litter.

  • For 48 qt. coolerdor I use 1 to 1/2 pounds

  • For larger coolerdors, like 100 qt. to 165 qt., I'd suggest 2 pounds in a flat container to expose as much KL as you can.

Most vinos run 24 hours on about a gallon of water but that's in a room where it runs all day. In a cabinet it’s going to go on and shut right off in a small area. Plus the litter absorbs the excess moisture. They really don't go on all that often. My buddy uses them in 3,000 cigar tower cabinets. In the dead of winter he told me they last for months between fills.

I have found litter works best spread out in a dish or container with a mesh screen. They are not beads and beads are more refined silica and even they work better spread out.

A little bit of litter is not going to do miracles - you have to use it like beads. I find twice as much litter as I would use beads as a starting point. You usually take some out but that is what it is - trial and error with not much error. Start out with enough KL and use minimal amounts of distilled water (DW).

I like to put it in a container that exposes the most surface area – the same as beads, and I've found that mesh bags or panty hose aren't as efficient because they are just in a big lump...they need to be spread out so they can do their job more effectively.

Hydrating

I suggest not hydrating any of the kitty litter when you first put it in...put it in dry so you can get your baseline and once you do that then start spraying DW on the surface of the litter with a couple of sprays (depending on the size of the humidor.) But never more than 50% of the whole container...ever. The smart thing to do depending on how big your humidor is to just start with dry litter and see where your RH is and add DW as necessary to bring up RH where you want it.

An example for a 200 count humidor is to use the same amount of litter as you would beads and spritz DW about 5 times. Let it set overnight and then see where you are the next morning. If its low, then spritz more DW (maybe 2-3 sprays). If the RH is too high just dump out some of the KL (or just save that and put it in with another humidor that you would set up later) and add dry litter to the receptacle. KL is cheap so don't worry about tossing it out.

I know this is repetitive but here is another method to setting KL up in any size humidor or coolerdor:

  1. Set up Dry

  2. Put in enough KL for the size humidor you have

  3. Spray DW over the top surface of the KL in a shallow container

  4. Start with 2 sprays and see where your RH is the next morning (spray at night so it sets up when you wake up the next morning)

  5. If the RH goes up only 1 % then you have your average of 2 sprays per 1%. Your mileage may vary but you should be within your tolerance within 2 days.

Also, something to keep in mind if you're new to this (or even if you're not) is that this is NOT advanced chemistry. Don't count beads and try to make sure EXACTLY 50% are clear. Just take your time, do a little at a time, and see where it takes you. You will get the numbers you want quickly. You will also get a feel of how much liquid will make what effect on the RH in your enclosure.

Here is a link and picture of the ones I use. Yes, they have the "blue crystals" and they are perfectly fine so don't worry about it as the rumor mill has been saying the blue crystals are not the right media. I've been using mine for about 6 months now and friends of mine have been using them for years with not one negative issue.

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11256828

Safety Concerns:

I see in terms of Safety, I am a Safety Director for the entire Weyerhaeuser Program along with a team of about 10 others. Silica is a compound that has a ton of uses and is used safely but does and can cause adverse health issues for those who are already pre disposed to allergies/respiratory problems, etc. In its present form in KL the amount of silica is so diluted that it is safe for cats and for households that have cats that use this stuff. Cats continually are pawing and scratching when they use their litter boxes. Imagine an amount of dust generated from this the 2 or 3 times a day that cats urinate. A one time scoop of this in a container with our cigars is so negligible it almost doesn't merit a reply but I understand people’s tendency to worry about anything or everything. If one is reluctant to use this compound then certainly they should think of using something else. They'd flip if they knew how much silica is in Beads, or in those packets in our prescriptions, or in our shoes when we buy them. They are all over the place. Trust me, the FDA would never permit KL in general use if they thought there was a grave health issue.

From Cigar Geeks member, Cigary



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