How to Rehydrate Stale Tobacco

Three Methods:Rehydrating with HeatHydrating with Food ProductsMoistening with a Damp Product

If you are a pipe smoker you have dealt with stale tobacco at one time or another. Often you buy it from a store where it just doesn't seal well and sits on the shelf too long. Some smokers actually like crispier tobacco. Here are a few ways to rehydrate the leaves to get you puffing again.

Method 1
Rehydrating with Heat

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    Use a teapot. Get a teapot with a tea basket that sit on the top. Add enough boiling water so that it doesn't touch the top basket and ruin the tobacco. Put the tobacco in the basket. Cover the teapot and leave it sit for 30 minutes.
    • Check the tobacco to see if it is moist enough. Leave the tobacco in longer if it isn’t.[1]
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    Hydrate with a steam iron. Pre-heat a steam iron to the hottest setting. Place a newspaper on a heat resistant surface. Spread your tobacco out onto the newspaper. Use a spray nozzle to spray the tobacco with water once or twice.
    • Hold the iron above the tobacco and let steam for 10 seconds.
    • Be careful not to touch the iron to the tobacco.
  3. 3
    Heat a vacuum sealed jar. Put the tobacco in a clean, stainless steel salad bowl. Wet the tobacco using a spray-bottle, and spray a fine mist over the tobacco 3 - 4 times. Mix up the tobacco with a spoon or spatula. Place the tobacco in a large jar with a vacuum-seal rubber-gasket lid that screws down.
    • Heat the jar by putting it into an oven set at 200 F (~100 C) for 20 minutes or until jar feels hot to the touch. Let the jar stand for ten minutes.
    • Remove the jar and let it cool overnight in a cool, dry place. Do not open until the next morning.
    • Be sure to pack the tobacco down tightly and seal the lid tightly.[2]

Method 2
Hydrating with Food Products

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    Moisten with an orange peel. Put all the tobacco in a plastic bag or jar with a tight sealing lid. Add 1/4 of an orange peel into the bag. Seal the bag’s contents and leave overnight.[3]
    • In the morning the orange peel will be dehydrated and the tobacco will be moist.
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    Use a Potato. Put all the tobacco in a plastic bag. Add a small piece of raw potato. Seal the bag. Check the bag once every hour or every other hour as the tobacco will moisten very quickly.[4]
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    Use bread. Put all the tobacco in a sealed plastic bag. Add a piece of bread or a half piece for small quantities. Seal the bag and check every few hours for the tobacco to moisten.
    • The tobacco will become very moist if left overnight.

Method 3
Moistening with a Damp Product

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    Use a sealable bag. Spread about half the tobacco evenly over a paper towel. Lightly mist the tobacco with a water-filled spray bottle. Fluff the mixture with your fingers. Repeat until the tobacco is just slightly damp. Mix the moistened tobacco in a plastic bag with the rest of the stale tobacco.[5]
    • Shake the bag to mix thoroughly.
    • Wait half an hour or so for the moisture to even out.
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    Cover with a cloth. Put the tobacco in a bowl (a wider bowl will provide better exposure). Cover the bowl with a damp (not overly wet), clean towel. The towel should not touch the tobacco. Secure the cloth using a rubber band to ensure the cloth doesn’t touch the tobacco.
    • Check the tobacco every few hours.
    • This method is less likely to compromise the integrity of your tobacco.[6]
  3. 3
    Moisten with a sponge. Get a new and unused foam sponge and cut off a small corner from it. Use water to dampen the removed sponge. Remove all excess water and make sure it isn’t dripping. Add the damp sponge into a sealable container with the tobacco. The damp sponge will act as a humidifier to the tobacco.[7]


  • If you use the overnight fix, you might want to set aside a small amount of the dry tobacco to mix in case it gets too moist.
  • Rehydration is done better at a slow pace. Tobacco should not be wet for too long or it may rot or mold.

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Categories: Smoking