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Black mold in the humidor?

dostodosto Posts: 4
Recently purchased a used humidor on ebay on a whim (lesson learned!) When I received it, I saw 3 visible black patches, and a particularly large one on the corner. (3rd patch not pictured as I couldn't get it to transfer to my computer.) Quite sure it's been over-humidified because I saw very small patches of fuzzy green mold on slits of the tray but figure it could be sanded off and removed very easily, or even not used at all should it come to it. However, my concern are the black patches found in the humidor; upon recently reading on the dangers of black mold, I figure the humidor may be a lost cause if it's the case.

I've never seen black mold in an humidor before, and the pictures that do come up in searches are very very small black dots dotted in the cedar; admittedly different from the large black patches seen in this humidor. But I figure the difference stems from in the amount of time that passed in improper humidification. There is no fuzz as I can see but it has ingrained itself in the wood. And everyday since I've received it, I've been wiping it down with alcohol pads and distilled water once a day, and found no black residue on the cloths at any time. All 3 black patches are similar in close inspection; the large one being the darkest of the 3-- going darker towards the corners like the one found on the lid. The one not shown is the smallest and lightest of the three and is found near the middle of the humidor away from the corners and sides.

Anyway, here are some photos:
Bottom corner, large patch
image
Lid Corner, small patch
image


So is this black mold? What are your opinions? Imo, I think it is as I can't think of an explanation that explains a black discoloration that isn't mold. The seller argues that the black stains either came naturally from humidification or from the bloom of his cigars (lol). But I have not read anything yet about black discoloring, or any discoloring (outside of the cedar looking 'wet' from long term humidification) in humidors. Are there instances of discoloring that occurs that is not mold? If so, is it generally considered safe? I should note, there are no visible signs of glue or nails where the black patches are seen. Can the bloom of cigars stain the cedar in humidor? If so, to such a dark, black color?

I hardly believe the bloom argument, as bloom is white. But regardless, I'd like some more opinions and info. I know that perhaps many of you would suggest to just toss it... and I normally would but I'd like to recover most of what I paid and having more info and evidence to reference would help. Anyways, I appreciate any info and help. Thanks!

Comments

  • webmostwebmost Dull-AwarePosts: 6,526 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Crap. Hope someone knows how to kill this stuff.
    “It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


  • Roberto99Roberto99 Posts: 1,077
    Spray some bleach solution throughout the entire interior. If it is black mold it will turn something like brown then green then colorless as the mold is destroyed. The bleach will kill most everything in it and if you leave the humidor open the chlorine will evaporate. I don't remember the concentration needed. I used something like 1 part bleach to 5 parts water in my basement which was pretty strong. Don't worry if you google this and it says bleach does not kill mold. Based on what I've seen, it does.

    If you soak those black patches in bleach and they do not disappear, it's not mold.

    EDIT: I used this method to salvage a humidor that had mold only on the surface of the wood inside it. I would not have tried to save the humidor if there were any evidence that the mold has penetrated into the wood.
  • perkinkeperkinke Posts: 1,575 ✭✭✭
    Honestly, as bad as black mold is for your health I wouldn't want to risk a clean up with something I'm going to put in my mouth.
  • AVJimAVJim Posts: 449
    Roberto99:
    Spray some bleach solution throughout the entire interior. If it is black mold it will turn something like brown then green then colorless as the mold is destroyed. The bleach will kill most everything in it and if you leave the humidor open the chlorine will evaporate. I don't remember the concentration needed. I used something like 1 part bleach to 5 parts water in my basement which was pretty strong. Don't worry if you google this and it says bleach does not kill mold. Based on what I've seen, it does.

    If you soak those black patches in bleach and they do not disappear, it's not mold.
    Roberto99 is spot on. Bleach will kill mold. The bleach/water ratio is also good. I am not sure what effect the bleach will have on the cedar. What condition is the humidor in otherwise? Is it tight? The kind of moisture needed to create this (if it is black mold) would need to be great (wet) for a pretty long time. If the humidor was soaking for 8-12 weeks, I would have to assume there would be damage to the wood? If it is black mold, it is toxic. Experts will tell you not to mess with it as it can spread spores. I have personally bleached it out of a few floor joists under a leaky bathtub... I am still sround. I did take precautions (mask, poly).
    How much did you pay? If it was cheap, I would junk it. Not only could this crap get to your sticks stored in it, it could create serious health problems.... IF it is black mold. I certainly would not use any humidification device that came with it!!! It's a roll of the dice.

    Perhaps someone else here has seen this occur in humidors? I have not and can't imagine that it can (under normal circumstances) - could be wrong. To me it looks like this sucker was swamped in a basement and never dried out. Perhaps you have a relic from a hurricane! Sorry!!!!
    "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member"
  • curtpickcurtpick nunyobusynezPosts: 2,761 ✭✭✭
    Scrap it to the woodpile. You can get decent humis for under 100 bucks now days. Not worth the risk or peace of mind.
    Family, Friends, Golf, Cigars, Fine Whiskey, Good beer.... is there anything else ?  Follow on instagram @crguy1961
  • AVJimAVJim Posts: 449
    BTW, WELCOME to the forum!!!!
    "I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member"
  • Gray4linesGray4lines KentuckyPosts: 4,678 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Wow... what a 1st post. Welcome!

    So, it came from ebay? Did you alert the seller? Because that does not belong for sell... As mentioned, it is a health risk, and at best will ruin your cigars if left unattended. Bleach and stuff may work, but I'd contact the seller FIRST! Maybe they just didn't know anything about humidors... but if they were a cigar guy who supposedly knew better than to sell a moldy humidor, I'd be all over that. Email, call, complain,...

    If you can return it, I would. (even though you've had it for a few days it sounds like)
    LLA - Lancero Lovers of America
  • Roberto99Roberto99 Posts: 1,077
    Gray4lines:
    Wow... what a 1st post. Welcome!

    So, it came from ebay? Did you alert the seller? Because that does not belong for sell... As mentioned, it is a health risk, and at best will ruin your cigars if left unattended. Bleach and stuff may work, but I'd contact the seller FIRST! Maybe they just didn't know anything about humidors... but if they were a cigar guy who supposedly knew better than to sell a moldy humidor, I'd be all over that. Email, call, complain,...

    If you can return it, I would. (even though you've had it for a few days it sounds like)
    Yes, I agree.
  • edelrionycedelrionyc Posts: 360 ✭✭
    My humidor as well has a very tiny bit of this black stuff but i do not think it is mold. I believe it is a discoloration coming from the nails used on the humidor. Well at least in my case i think that's what it is. The blackness is clearly around the tiny nails used to create the boarder of my humidor. Like i said it's not as much as yours but i'm not worried.....
  • dostodosto Posts: 4
    Hey guys, thanks for the advice and warm welcome!

    I'm in the process of ebay's buyer protection for a return. Seller listed it in "PERFECT condition" (what!) and is being resistant on my claim the item wasn't as described but regardless, I think the case would lean in my favor. I paid around $90 for it, the seal on humidor was tight, no warping, and the only damage to the wood are the visible black mold patches and the musty odor the cedar lining gave off. I'm not sure how long the humidor was improperly kept but I could tell the original owner over humidified and neglected the humidor for quite a while; there's no even seasoning on the humidor tray, it looked like a cup of water was spilled over it-- one half looking damp/well seasoned, and the other half much dryer. Black mold is something I wouldn't screw around with seriously, too risky like it was mentioned here. But worst case scenario if I don't get my money back, I'll bleach it, throw a puck and buck cigs in there for science. Wouldn't smoke them but I'd see if a humidor could be saved from black mold. And for another reference, CDC recommends 1c bleach to 1 gal water for mold removal.

    *Edit* @edelrionyc Read some posts about that happening to other people too. Glad it's not mold! In this case the black patches aren't near any visible nails. There's also a 3rd small black patch not pictured that's in the middle of the humidor far from the walls as well.

    Anyways just to confirm, there is nothing other than mold that could cause black stains to form in a humidor correct?
  • RainRain Posts: 8,960 ✭✭✭
    On the bright side, now you can take your $90 and get a cooler :)
  • dostodosto Posts: 4
    I know, all the cool kids are doing it D:
  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 7,855 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Not all mold that is black in color is actually "Black Mold" of the specific type with very dangerous spores (google it) but if I were you I'd try to return the humidor due to the “perfect condition” claim that the seller assured you of. However, If you were to try to salvage it, No offence guys but, I’m a little skeptical of the bleaching plan mentioned earlier. If you do go ahead with this plan I'd attempt a test first on a spare strip of Spanish cedar. If you don’t have a spare piece of Spanish cedar and if you can’t get a piece elsewhere or from your local shop. As a last resort The little trim pieces that create the border around the hygrometer and humidifier underneath the lid can be pried off pretty easily. Wet your sample cedar with your bleach and water solution, and rub it in, let it soak, rinse with distilled water, let it air dry. Then stick your nose to the sample piece like a hoover vacuum and see if the bleach smell is really, really gone. Because If you don’t really, really, get the bleach smell out of the wood you might later have cigars that really, really taste like bleach.

    Welcome. Best of luck to you.
  • Gray4linesGray4lines KentuckyPosts: 4,678 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It sounds as if you have a good claim. Only a liar would label that as "perfect" and $90 is too much to gamble on. However, if a return does not work out (I hope this will not be the case) experiment away. Id love to see if you can save it.

    I am actually surprised it is not warped, as it sounds like it was absolutely soaked byyhe previous owner. Black could be water damage? But Id be willing to bet mold would re-appear (as you described some fuzzies on the tray as well).

    musty odor is definitely a bad sign (unless you want cigas that taste like old socks). I really hope you can return that thing! Good luck!!
    LLA - Lancero Lovers of America
  • Roberto99Roberto99 Posts: 1,077
    Bob Luken:
    Not all mold that is black in color is actually "Black Mold" of the specific type with very dangerous spores (google it) but if I were you I'd try to return the humidor due to the “perfect condition” claim that the seller assured you of. However, If you were to try to salvage it, No offence guys but, I’m a little skeptical of the bleaching plan mentioned earlier. If you do go ahead with this plan I'd attempt a test first on a spare strip of Spanish cedar. If you don’t have a spare piece of Spanish cedar and if you can’t get a piece elsewhere or from your local shop. As a last resort The little trim pieces that create the border around the hygrometer and humidifier underneath the lid can be pried off pretty easily. Wet your sample cedar with your bleach and water solution, and rub it in, let it soak, rinse with distilled water, let it air dry. Then stick your nose to the sample piece like a hoover vacuum and see if the bleach smell is really, really gone. Because If you don’t really, really, get the bleach smell out of the wood you might later have cigars that really, really taste like bleach.

    Welcome. Best of luck to you.

    I salvaged a moldy humidor a few years back that had been sitting unused in my basement for 10 years or so and decided to use the bleach solution instead of alcohol. The smell evaporated and the wood ended up looking pristine. Still have the humidor and it works fine.
  • bigharpoonbigharpoon Posts: 2,963 ✭✭✭
    I don't believe that is the type of mold you think it is. It is clearly only on one of the boards in a three board corner. If it were the nasty, dank environment, stagnant air type mold that we're used to seeing it would be spread on all three boards.

    My theory is that the Spanish Cedar board this humi was made from was on the shelf for a while and it turned silver, just like untreated cedar shingles on a house do. When the woodworker ran it through the planer to clean it up and get it ready for working that little corner of the board didn't get planed all the way through the silver.

    Now, it is true that the silver on older, seasoned wood is mold, but I've never experienced nor heard of this type of mold spreading. You could probably bleach it off or sand it off fairly easily. Is it bad for your cigars? I don't know, but that is my theory on what it is and how it got there.
  • Bob_LukenBob_Luken already sucked before joining forum,.....just sayin'.Posts: 7,855 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Roberto99:
    Bob Luken:
    Not all mold that is black in color is actually "Black Mold" of the specific type with very dangerous spores (google it) but if I were you I'd try to return the humidor due to the “perfect condition” claim that the seller assured you of. However, If you were to try to salvage it, No offence guys but, I’m a little skeptical of the bleaching plan mentioned earlier. If you do go ahead with this plan I'd attempt a test first on a spare strip of Spanish cedar. If you don’t have a spare piece of Spanish cedar and if you can’t get a piece elsewhere or from your local shop. As a last resort The little trim pieces that create the border around the hygrometer and humidifier underneath the lid can be pried off pretty easily. Wet your sample cedar with your bleach and water solution, and rub it in, let it soak, rinse with distilled water, let it air dry. Then stick your nose to the sample piece like a hoover vacuum and see if the bleach smell is really, really gone. Because If you don’t really, really, get the bleach smell out of the wood you might later have cigars that really, really taste like bleach.

    Welcome. Best of luck to you.

    I salvaged a moldy humidor a few years back that had been sitting unused in my basement for 10 years or so and decided to use the bleach solution instead of alcohol. The smell evaporated and the wood ended up looking pristine. Still have the humidor and it works fine.
    OK Glad to know it works. I wouldn't have been so skepitical but I didn't think you'd done it on any actual spanish cedar. In your original post you said "basement" but didn't mention humidor so I didn't realize you had actually done it.
  • dostodosto Posts: 4
    Yes, it may not be the toxic mold I've been reading about but just may resemble it by color. It does not appear to be as slimey or grimey as some household descriptions have of that particular type of mold. However I still think it's some form of mold regardless, even if only coming from the smell. And thanks bigharpoon for the silver mold info, good observation! I suppose then the silver mold could eventually turn to the color black? (not many pictures of 'silver mold' on cedar on google, but from what I've seen it looks powdery white in color.) I'm positive the rh was kept way too high, so maybe humidity may have something to do with it. Seller claims that the black patches comes naturally from normal humidification of the humidor. I don't believe it, but his claim off-handedly suggests to me the black stains were probably formed during his ownership if he considers the black discoloration as fairly normal. If silver mold could change color in the proper environment, over humidification could be it's trigger. Again, thanks for the info everyone!
  • Roberto99Roberto99 Posts: 1,077
    Bob Luken:
    Roberto99:
    Bob Luken:
    Not all mold that is black in color is actually "Black Mold" of the specific type with very dangerous spores (google it) but if I were you I'd try to return the humidor due to the “perfect condition” claim that the seller assured you of. However, If you were to try to salvage it, No offence guys but, I’m a little skeptical of the bleaching plan mentioned earlier. If you do go ahead with this plan I'd attempt a test first on a spare strip of Spanish cedar. If you don’t have a spare piece of Spanish cedar and if you can’t get a piece elsewhere or from your local shop. As a last resort The little trim pieces that create the border around the hygrometer and humidifier underneath the lid can be pried off pretty easily. Wet your sample cedar with your bleach and water solution, and rub it in, let it soak, rinse with distilled water, let it air dry. Then stick your nose to the sample piece like a hoover vacuum and see if the bleach smell is really, really gone. Because If you don’t really, really, get the bleach smell out of the wood you might later have cigars that really, really taste like bleach.

    Welcome. Best of luck to you.

    I salvaged a moldy humidor a few years back that had been sitting unused in my basement for 10 years or so and decided to use the bleach solution instead of alcohol. The smell evaporated and the wood ended up looking pristine. Still have the humidor and it works fine.
    OK Glad to know it works. I wouldn't have been so skepitical but I didn't think you'd done it on any actual spanish cedar. In your original post you said "basement" but didn't mention humidor so I didn't realize you had actually done it.
    No worries Bob. I probably should have stated I had done it in the first place. I try not to give any advice on things I don't have personal experience with here as it usually doesn't turn out very well! Too many cigar geeks here to set me straight! Chlorine actually evaporates quite well (think pool) and sometimes woodworkers will use bleach to pretreat wood before they stain it; so it shouldn't ruin the wood. That's was my thinking as to why I chose to do it.

    Hard to know if what dosto is dealing with is actually black mold though. I would think that something would come off when he was rubbing it with alcohol pads etc. Unless the previous seller tried to clean it up before he sold it and didn't get it all.

    Bleaching all of the interior wood should fix the musty smell, but it will lose some of it's nice cedar smell too. If for any reason you're not satisfied with the results dosto, don't waste any sticks in it. Get a cooler! :-)

    Oh, let us know how this all turns out for you and welcome to the forum.
  • Lee.mcglynnLee.mcglynn HahahahaaaaaPosts: 6,030 ✭✭✭✭
    Just FYI not to be a spoiler but bleach now feeds mold!! The only way to try to get rid of it is mold killers and encapsulaters! At least for black mold...the spores will really never die so be prepared for headaches down the road
    Money can't buy taste
  • KCWKCW Posts: 1,334 ✭✭✭
    Return it.
  • webmostwebmost Dull-AwarePosts: 6,526 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Guys, would sunlight help?
    “It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


  • thedjfish@comcast.net[email protected] Posts: 1,692 ✭✭✭
    the bleaching will work you have to use a a 1=16 mix of bleach to water,
    use a scrub brush and clean up as your scrubbing reapplying the bleach mix,
    once done wipe down the humi with a bleach soak rag, let it air out for a 5-7 days
    after its dried and aired out, do it all over again making sure you hit the main spots and rewiping down the humi with the bleach,
    again let it dry out for 5-7 days if you have small fan use it to vent the humi, close lid let stand for 3-5 days checking for any bleach smells,
    if you smell any let the humi air out for another 5-10 days, once its been aired out, reseason and cont. to check for any bleach smells,after reasoning let humi sit empty but being humidified for another 7-10 days
    your making sure the bleach has disapated and watching for any mold,
    might even consider a mold test kit if your extremely worried,
    to be honest this will take about a month before you will be able to use it,if you can return it? then send it back,
    you can save it but it will be time consuming, your trying to save and recreate a med/high humidity enviroment for your cigars, but it also supports mold, sort of a catch 22
  • Roberto99Roberto99 Posts: 1,077
    Lee.mcglynn:
    Just FYI not to be a spoiler but bleach now feeds mold!! The only way to try to get rid of it is mold killers and encapsulaters! At least for black mold...the spores will really never die so be prepared for headaches down the road
    Yes, I read those websites that are selling mold killers too! Pretty funny how they can twist their original sources (Osha & EPA) into totally different meanings! Actually the EPA specifically referred to bleach as an example of a biocide for mold, and that mold spores are in the air, so there was a good chance of reinfestation without fixing the originating problems. LOL! Regardless, I wouldn't try to save a humidor that's wood was deeply infested with mold.
  • Lee.mcglynnLee.mcglynn HahahahaaaaaPosts: 6,030 ✭✭✭✭
    Roberto99:
    Lee.mcglynn:
    Just FYI not to be a spoiler but bleach now feeds mold!! The only way to try to get rid of it is mold killers and encapsulaters! At least for black mold...the spores will really never die so be prepared for headaches down the road
    Yes, I read those websites that are selling mold killers too! Pretty funny how they can twist their original sources (Osha & EPA) into totally different meanings! Actually the EPA specifically referred to bleach as an example of a biocide for mold, and that mold spores are in the air, so there was a good chance of reinfestation without fixing the originating problems. LOL! Regardless, I wouldn't try to save a humidor that's wood was deeply infested with mold.
    niether would I!! Plus I'm a general contractor in my spare time and have seen many mold issues and yeah bleach doesn't work period!! Black mold is invisible pretty much and has adapted rather quickly to mold killers! Once black mold is in anything rip it apart and start over IMO
    Money can't buy taste
  • thedjfish@comcast.net[email protected] Posts: 1,692 ✭✭✭
    well i differ on the bleach, i used to keep a 40 aquarium fish room,humidity would reach well over 100% and when i would find mold i would spray it down with bleach, cleared it up,
    from the wood frames to the dry walls,worked fine for me, but in your humis case its not worth it to time consuming
  • Roberto99Roberto99 Posts: 1,077
    well i differ on the bleach, i used to keep a 40 aquarium fish room,humidity would reach well over 100% and when i would find mold i would spray it down with bleach, cleared it up,
    from the wood frames to the dry walls,worked fine for me, but in your humis case its not worth it to time consuming
    Well, you are right Joe it definitely works for surface mold. Sodium hypochlorite is fungicidal via cellular lysis. It's used in hospitals because it is bactericidal, virucidal and fungicidal and since it works by direct oxidation reaction it is highly effective and resistant to biological adaptation.

    I believe, if I'm reading it correctly, that Lee is referring to wood and sheetrock that have mold penetration throughout. He is absolutely correct that spraying the surface in that situation won't work, it needs to be removed.
  • webmostwebmost Dull-AwarePosts: 6,526 ✭✭✭✭✭
    What about the stuff we use to sanitize beer brewing equipment? There you have spores -- they're just yeast spores instead of mold spores. It's a salty looking stuff. They say "oxygen percarbonate" whatever that means.

    Or if chlorine bleach does the job on the surface but can't get inside, then how about sealing the box inside an airtight container with a pan of raw bleach and leave it set so the gas has time to permeate?

    Just spitballin here. No idea what I'm talking about.

    Easy enough to test results with a twenty buck bundle of Quorums or some such.

    What does White Owl use in their cigar paper to make those things last thirty years without any attention whatever? Maybe some of that.

    Which makes me think: Maybe a librarian has the answer. Quite possible they have the same problem from time to time.

    “It has been a source of great pain to me to have met with so many among [my] opponents who had not the liberality to distinguish between political and social opposition; who transferred at once to the person, the hatred they bore to his political opinions.” —Thomas Jefferson (1808)


  • Roberto99Roberto99 Posts: 1,077
    Yeast is mold Davis. I did think about this quite a bit last night and I am going to edit my first post because it was pretty clear that my humidor only had mold on the surface of the wood and that is why I chose to salvage it instead of throwing it away. Still though I'm not sure what dosto is dealing with is penetrating black mold but I think what you are getting at would be the only way to be sure and that is to clean and dry the humidor thoroughly and then come back and test it by making the humidity 100% and see if the black mold comes back.
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