How to Fix Candle Tunneling? (Everything You Need to Know)

This is a guide covering how to fix candle tunneling.

If you are a candle lover like us, you know nothing bothers us more than a candle tunneling issue!

Okay, there might be some other aspects of life quite bothersome than this!

But candle tunneling is quite a close contestant to pesky, irritating aspects of life.

If you are still new to the candle domain, let me explain to you what candle tunneling is.

Let’s dive in.

What is Candle Tunneling?

Have you ever seen a crater kind of appearance in your candle?

Is the area around your wick deeper than the surrounding candle wax?

This is exactly what candle tunneling looks like.

candle tunneling
candle tunneling

Candle tunneling is a candle phenomenon in which the wax surrounding the wick melts more than the surrounding wax, leaving solid wax around the corners of the candle.

This creates a tunnel or crater-like appearance on top of the candle. Hence, the name, candle tunneling.

What Happens if Your Candle Has a Tunneling Issue?

Other than not looking as aesthetically pleasing as a good old candle, candle tunneling causes other problems.

As we have mentioned, the area around the wax gets molten faster.

If we keep burning the candle without attending to the candle tunneling issue, the tunnel only gets deeper leaving lumps of wax around the edges of the candle.

As the tunnel reaches the bottom, it becomes impossible to burn the leftover wax. This results in wastage of the candle wax and your hard-earned money.

As the candle burns when there is a candle tunneling issue, the wick gets lower as the candle burns.

The molten wax around may drown the wick as the wick is lower than the surrounding wax.

This depletes the wick of oxygen and extinguishes the candle.

In both the possible scenarios, candle tunneling causes reduced burn time, unnecessary wastage of wax, and money, in turn.

In conclusion, candle tunneling can be an absolute buzzkill for a candle lover.

Why Do Candles Tunnel?

There are two main reasons why candles tunnel.

  1. Not burning the candle properly for the first time.
  2. The wick is too small for the size of the candle.

Candles have memory. The efficiency with which a candle burns for its lifetime depends on how well you burnt the candle for the first time.

When you burn a candle for the first time, it is very important to burn the candle long enough.

If you haven’t burned the candle long enough to let the wax on the surface melt until the edge of the candle, candle tunneling occurs.

Once the candle tunneling starts, if you haven’t taken any corrective remedies, the tunneling just gets worse.

Secondly, if the wick is too small for the size of the candle, it won’t be able to generate enough heat for the entire surface of the wax to get burned.

There is no remedy for poor candle design except for wick replacement.

How to Fix Candle Tunneling?

Are you staring at your tunneled candles with a tinge of regret?

Don’t beat yourself up for not taking proper care of your candles.

There are still ways to salvage your candle from the candle tunneling issue. And the best part? We can do this with easy home remedies:

There are multiple techniques that you can use to fix the candle tunneling. The technique you use depends on the level to which candle tunneling has already occurred.

1. When Your Candle is Barely Tunneling

Well-designed candles can fix themselves if there is a very minor case of candle tunneling.

Once the candle is lit up, the wax can be melted uniformly, preventing the candle tunneling issue.

If this doesn’t happen, place the candle on a flat, heat-resistant surface. Blow the air from a hot gun or a hairdryer on top of the candle.

The hot air from the hot gun or the hair dryer melts the top layer of the wax uniformly, preventing the candle tunneling issue.

2. When Your Candle is Tunneling Normally

Even the most expensive and high-quality candles can have a tunneling issue if they aren’t burnt properly.

But the silver lining is this can be fixed with a simple trick using aluminum foil.

Place the candle on a flat, heat-resistant surface. Put an aluminum foil on top of the candle and fold the foil around the rim of the candle.

Take a pencil or a sharp object to make a hole on top of the wick to make room for the wick to burn properly.

This also creates an outlet to let the smoke out. Light the candle and all you have to do is wait for the magic to happen.

Due to the aluminum foil, the wax burns evenly after some time.

Then you can discard the aluminum foil. Be careful while discarding the aluminum foil.

Make sure that you do not touch it with bare hands as the foil can get super-hot.

3. Severe Candle Tunneling

There’s only so much that you can salvage.

If the candle already has had a severe candle tunneling issue and the wick has already burnt almost to the bottom of the candle, there is little that we can do to use the candle.

However, we need not worry about wasting the leftover wax. Thanks to the candle warmers and tealight oil burners!

You can remove the leftover wax from the container using a butter knife or a pencil.

Put all the leftover wax pieces in the electric warmer and melt the wax. Voila, the scent of the wax is as good as new!

For tealight oil burners, place the leftover wax on the top.

In the bottom of the tealight oil burner, place a tealight candle and light it.

Due to the heat of the bottom candle, the wax on the top melts, releasing a pleasing aroma.

How Do You Prevent Candle Tunneling?

Ever heard of the age-old saying, ‘Prevention is better than the cure’?!

That sounds about right! It is better to prevent the issue rather than scrambling around to rectify it.

1. Burn the Candle Long Enough for the First Time

As we have already mentioned, candles have memory.

So, make that first-time count! Burn the candle long enough to let the wax on the surface melt evenly till the edges.

As a general rule of thumb, burn a candle for 1 hour for every 1 inch of the width of the candle.

2. Use the Right Wick Size

If you are into candle-making, make sure that you are using the right wick size.

The wick should be neither too long nor too short.

Keep a length of one-quarter of an inch of the wick to ensure that the candle burns properly without a mushroom wick issue.

3. Use Candles With Multiple Wicks

Using candles with multiple wicks helps in melting the wax surface evenly as the heat is distributed evenly.

This prevents candle tunneling.

How do You Fix a Tunneled Candle Without a Foil?

Although the foil method is the most well-known technique to fix candle tunneling, there are other equally effective ways to fix it.

You can use a hairdryer, hot gun, or oven to fix the candle tunneling issue.

The principle is to use heat to melt the candle surface evenly.

Does the Type of Wax Affect Candle Tunneling?

Yes, it does. As different waxes have different melting points, the speed at which they burn also differs.

For example, soy wax has a low melting point. So, it’s easier for the wax surface to get melted evenly at low temperatures.

Other types of wax such as paraffin or beeswax have higher melting points. So, they take a longer time to melt the entire wax on the surface.

If you are trying to burn a candle at colder temperatures, this becomes harder with higher melting point waxes.

If you don’t burn the candles made of these waxes long enough, they are more susceptible to candle tunneling.

Final Remarks

Even though candle tunneling seems like an end to the lifetime of the candles, it’s not.

Please don’t discard the tunneled candles.

You might have understood that it’s an easy task to fix candle tunneling.

The results of these hacks will astonish you. Take this up as your pet project and salvage those tunneled candles before it’s too late.

We hope we helped you! Let us know which one of these hacks worked for you! We would be happy to hear! Happy Candling Experience!