The easiest way to prepare the beads for use is to use a clean inexpensive spray bottle of distilled water and lightly spray them until about 50% to 70% of the beads turn from an opaque/white to clear/translucent. Any other method of lightly adding small amounts of water, a little at a time, until the desired saturation is achieved is acceptable.
If this is a new humidor setup that has not been completely seasoned then it may take some time to achieve the proper stable humidity level, but patience is a virtue, and once you get there it will be very low maintenance. A properly seasoned humidor will save you a lot of time up front.
- If you are using the humidity tubes, you can simply spray down half of the tube with water, leaving the other half dry. Give it about 4 or 5 sprays for smaller tubes and 9 or 10 sprays for larger tubes. It will spread naturally throughout the tube. You can also remove one of the ends and add a small amount of water (a teaspoon at a time depending on the size) and it will achieve the same effect.
What maintenance is required?
Very little maintenance is required depending on the environment you are keeping them in. The main thing to watch is your humidity level and the color of the beads.
Over Saturated (Clear color):
- If you are in a more humid environment, the beads will work to reduce the humidity in your container by absorbing more of it. If all the beads turn clear, then they will need to be regenerated in order to absorb more humidity. The easiest way to do this is by placing them in a dish in an oven and bring the temperature up to 240 degrees (do not preheat) for approximately 2 hours or until they return to a white color. Be sure to remove them from any container before doing this.
- Another technique is to use a hair dryer on medium for approximately 15 minutes or until they return to a white color. Be careful as they can easily blow around while performing this. Keeping them in their provided container will help control them. Mix or shake them to more evenly dry them out.
Dry (Cloudy White Color):
- Just repeat the setup steps. Simply add more water in small amounts until roughly 50% to 70% of them turn clear.
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How long will they last?
RH Shield™ beads will last many years depending on your environment. The beads will absorb whatever gases or other impurities you have in your environment or in the water you add to them. This is why distilled water is recommended as opposed to tap water that contains chemicals. If you notice they turn an off color or do not maintain a clear color when water is added, then it might be time to replace them. Our experience has shown they will last easily several years without a need for replacing.
Can the beads be too close to my cigars?
The containers that the beads are packaged in can touch your cigars. They only give off water vapor and are not wet. The beads within the containers will absorb any water they are in contact with and will have a dry feel to them.
Are these beads safe if consumed accidentally?
While we certainly do not advise eating the beads, they are not harmful if swallowed in small amounts. In larger amounts they will make you uncomfortable as they will dry the mucus membrane lining in your digestive system causing cramping. Silica is a naturally forming substance, silicon dioxide, which is essentially the same component as sand. It is often actually found in certain powered food products where it helps improve the flow of it.
There are other forms of Silica that can be toxic. These typically have additives such as cobalt chloride which are toxic if consumed. The additives are usually used as color indicators for identifying certain humidity levels. RH Shield™ beads are an all natural pure product and do not contain any toxic additives.