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5 Ways to Bring Old Pipe Tobacco Back to Life

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We spend a lot of time discussing various types of smoking pipes and for two very good reasons: we love pipes and we sell a lot of them. But for this post we’re going to focus in on that other vital component of pipe smoking, the tobacco itself. More specifically we’re going to take a close look at the question of whether or not it’s possible to revive old, dried out pipe tobacco and, if so, what are some of the best ways to do so. So if you’re ready to play Dr Frankenstein with your old pipe tobacco let’s begin.

Restoring Pipe Tobacco

Rejuvenating Old Tobacco for use in Your Smoking Pipes

If pipe tobacco is stored property it should last for many years. But every now and then we all drop the ball and lose track of some of our favorite tobacco. It passes completely from our minds until one day when we’re cleaning out the desk and come across that zip lock bag of our favorite Burley that was never properly zipped. As a result the tobacco is dry and dusty and seems like it’s probably a lost cause. But is it? Thankfully, you may be able to revive your Old Toby or other blend by employing one of the following methods.

  • Use an old fashioned teapot - For this you’ll need an old fashioned teapot that uses a basket to hold the tea leaves. Fill the pot halfway with boiling water and then put the dried out tobacco into the basket and let it sit for half an hour. (Make sure the tobacco is not in the water.) At that point check and see if it’s sufficiently moist. If it’s not, repeat the process.

  • The sponge as humidifier - Get a brand new sponge and cut a 1” x 1” square off of it. Moisten the small sponge square and then place it in the package with the dried out tobacco. The sponge will act as a humidifier with the tobacco soaking up the moisture.

  • Ye olde paper towel method - Place your troubled tobacco into a glass bowl. Take a paper towel and moisten it (you can also use a clean cloth towel if you wish). Lay the damp paper or cloth towel over the bowl and then wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap. The tobacco should absorb the moisture from the paper towel although it might take a few hours to do so.

  • The steam iron method - Spread a newspaper (you remember what that is don’t you?) on a flat surface (the surface should be heat resistant). Now spread your dried out tobacco onto the newspaper and spray it lightly with distilled water from a spray bottle. Shuffle it around a bit and spray it lightly one more time. Heat the iron to its maximum setting then steam the tobacco for about 10 seconds. Check the results carefully and repeat if necessary.

  • Spray without ironing - Using the steam from the steam iron is a quick way to rehydrate your old tobacco but you may not want to use the iron. That’s fine because you don’t really have to. Instead of steaming the tobacco with the iron, moisten it thoroughly (but not excessively) and then place it in a tupperware or similar container that will seal effectively. Leave it in there for a couple of days and your tobacco should be good to go.

We mention it briefly above but it’s important to reiterate that you should only use distilled water for any of the above processes. This will insure nothing interferes with the restoration of the tobacco’s true flavor. Also, remember to remove any humidifying object from the tobacco once it’s been restored to its preferred state. Too much moisture can be just as bad as too little.

A lot of folks give up on dried tobacco when they may not actually need to. Just as you can restore old cigars and old smoking pipes you can, in most cases, also breathe new life into old, dried out tobacco. By employing a bit of distilled water, common sense and patience it’s possible to bring your favorite blend back to life for hours of refined relaxation.


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