How To Fix And Prevent Candle Tunneling?

Have you ever noticed how sometimes your candle isn’t able to burn evenly? 

And this will happen at least once throughout your scented candle experience regardless of price, brand or what wax is the candle made of. There’s without a doubt, candle tunneling is ANNOYING. 

So what is candle tunneling?

Candle tunneling refers to the appearance where your candle burns with an unsightly ring of unmelted wax surrounding the edge of the jar.The flame of your candle only burns down this vertical tunnel leaving plenty of unmelted solid wax around the side during and after burn. 

Over time, you may lose your candle wick entirely and notice your candle burns down to the bottom very quickly. When you candle tunnels, not only it looks ugly but you are not getting the most out of your scented candle. 

The few common reasons for candle tunneling are:

  1. The candle wick is too small - this usually happens on poorly made candles
  2. Poor candle burning habits
  3. The candle wick is trimmed too short

How to ensure your candle burns evenly?

1.The first burn is optimal and subsequent burns too

Your first burn is VERY important. Always ensure the first burn of every candle is about 2-3 hours to allow sufficient time for a full melt pool to form. A full melt pool is where the entire wax surface is fully liquid and melted. As candle wax holds a ‘memory’ from the first burn, getting a full melt pool right sets the stage for your candle to subsequently burn evenly.

Avoiding candle tunneling doesn’t only stop at the first burn, you need to ensure your candle reaches a full melt pool on each burn. Wick Trimmer Borneo Candle Studio

2. Trim your candle wicks (correctly)

We always remind our candle lover friends to trim their candle wicks before each burn. This ensures your candle doesn’t soot or burn too quickly. 

We get the enthusiasm for proper candle care however, there are instances where you may overtrim your candle wick especially once it burns down and is harder to reach. 

We recommend you to get a wick trimmer that not only looks classy but is able to reach to the bottom of your candle jars to trim the wick with ease. Alternatively, you can also use scissors but always remember to trim your candle wicks to 5 mm before relighting. 

Don’t forget to remove the debris from your candle to prevent the wick from clogging.

How To Fix Candle Tunneling?

So what should you do if your candle has already started to tunnel? We have 3 easy methods we'd recommend as below.

Nectarine Rose scented candle Borneo Candle Studio

Method 1: Let the candle burn long enough 

If you’ve noticed your candle had only just started to tunnel (and very minor), this is the best and easiest way to fix it. 

Light your candle and allow a full melt pool to form before extinguishing it. This may take 2-4 hours with one or two tries. Sometimes your candle will be able to correct itself with enough heat and time.

Method 2: Foil method

If method 1 didn’t help, you can try out the aluminium foil method. 

To do this, you’ll need to wrap a small piece of kitchen aluminium foil around the jar body on the top part of your candle. You’ll then wrap the excess foil over the lid of your candle leaving a hollow opening in the middle. Once ready, you can light the candle as normal. 

The science behind this method is that with the trapped heat at the top part of the candle which tunnels, you can melt the stubborn wax left on the sides back into the candle itself without any waste. 

It may take 1 hour or more for your candle to form a full melt pool to allow it to burn evenly. 

It's a relatively easy method but you’d need to be careful to not burn yourself as the foil can be very hot. We do not recommend using the tin foil method for an extended period as the candle jar may overheat and crack.

Method 3: Hair dryer method

The third method uses a hair dryer to melt the top layer of your tunneling candle. 

To do this, you'd need a hair dryer at low speed and heat to slowly melt the candle surface. Although this technique is much faster than above, you'd need to be careful to avoid the hot wax from spilling out. 

Do take note for method 2 & 3 as depending on the extent of tunneling, you may need to pour some melted wax away to prevent your wick from drowning in the excess wax. 

And that’s all about candle tunneling! We hope our tips today will allow you to become a candle expert and make the most out of your scented candles experience at home.