How To Stop Candle Tunnelling

How to fix candle tunnelling (Top Tips 2022)

How to fix candle tunnelling.  It is a question that many people have.  However, I have good news in that there are a few tips that we can give you.  This will hopefully help you to work out why it is happening.  You can also fix candle tunnelling without tin foil, although we have given this method too should you need it.

No matter what candle it is that you buy, you can experience candle tunnelling.  But what exactly is the meaning of candle tunnelling, and more importantly how can you stop it?

Candle tunnelling is where your candle only burns in the centre.  You are then left with a thick layer of wax around the outside.  This is not only unsightly, but is also a waste of money.  

So candle tunnelling is where the wax burns and sinks in the middle, but you get thick wax on the outside of your vessel.

How do you stop a candle from tunnelling?

Easy  & Fast Ways How To Prevent Candle Tunnelling - Candle Tunnelling Fix

The first point is learning how to care for your candle.  This involves understanding more about how candles work.

Getting a candle to burn evenly and consistently, is something that quality candle makers work hard to achieve.  In fact, many people who buy candles just want to know "how do you get a candle to burn evenly?"  Professional candle makers strive to get even burning candles. They are usually able to master it, because they know what makes a candle work efficiently.  They also know what makes candles burn incorrectly too! 

Follow the top tips below, to help you avoid candle tunnelling.  If you have a candle that already has tunnelling problems, then hope isn't lost.  There is some guidance below on this too.

  1. Ensure there is a proper wax melt pool.  

 Making sure that your candle has a proper wax melt pool it vital to ensuring that your candle does not tunnel.  What is a melt pool I hear you ask?  A melt pool occurs when you burn your candle for the correct length of time, and you end up with a whole top layer of melted liquid wax.  

Below is a video describing and showing you what a wax melt pool is.  You need to ensure that after you first purchase and light your candle, that you leave it to the correct length of time.  If you are thinking of lighting a candle for a short burst and then extinguishing it, then it may pay to avoid lighting it at all.  

The weird thing, is that candles have memory.  If you light your candle for a short time, and it has not got a full wax melt pool, then it may only burn to that width the next time you light it.  Hence why the majority of candle tunnelling instances occur.  Many candle manufacturers will give a guide as to how long to burn your candle for.  It pays to listen to that advice.  There are a few other reasons as to why candles tunnel, which should be looked at too.  

2.  How to fix a candle wick cut too short?

Oops, you need to fix a candle wick cut too short?  Don't panic, as it has happened to the best of us! The wick is what powers the melt of your candle.  Very occasionally there can be faults with wicks although that is quite rare.  Most commonly the issue is that wicks have not been trimmed to the correct length.  

The very first time you light your candle, the wick is slightly longer.  This is so that a good melt pool develops. After the first burn a wick should be 1/4 - 1/8th of an inch, so that it burns efficiently.  If you cut the wick too short, you will also experience problems.  This is because the wick will extinguish and not have the power to burn a full melt pool.  The only way to rectify this, is to remove some layers of wax, until the wick is at the correct length.  The wax on top might look a bit rough from you removing it, but it should melt and smooth over!

3.  Is your home too cold?

Believe it or not environment is an issue and can also cause candle tunnelling.  During winter months it is best to try and keep the candle within a room that is between 18-21 degrees centigrade.  Cold rooms cause the candle vessel to go very cold on the outside and so the wick can have difficulty in getting the wax to melt.  The remedy is to wait lighting your candle until your room gets up to temperature.  

Alternatively you could get a candle cosy.  I demonstrate one of these in my top video.  The other alternative is to purchase candles that are in tin.  Tin heats up nicely and so helps with the wax melt pool.  Still make sure though, that you allow the correct length of lighting time, before you extinguish it.

4.  Do you have draughts and cold spots within a home?

Very occasionally people experience a form of candle tunnelling which will affect one side of a candle vessel.  This can be caused by draughts and cold spots in a room  It is important that candles are always kept away from draughts, open windows and doors.  This is also for a safety point of view, as well as ensuring that your candle burns correctly.  

If you do live in an older home which suffers with draughts, then it may be advisable to invest in a candle dome (otherwise known as a candle hurricane or lantern).  You can find these in many homewares stores and supermarkets.  Some that are available have beautiful designs and have an open top, so that scent can still get into your room. 

This method is also good if you want to know how to fix candle tunnelling without foil?  A hurricane may just be a great way to fix the problem.

5.  How do I fix a candle that has tunnelled?

Over the years there have been people recommending tips to remedy a candle which has already tunnelled.  Some of these, we will not be including on here, mainly because they are completely unsafe.

One suggestion we have, is to remove the excess wax whilst it is cool, and use it in a wax melt burner. That way you will still get the fragrance and not have waste.  We recommend people get these anyway, as you should never burn a candle to the bottom of a vessel, and should always leave around 1/2 an inch of candle wax at the base.  It may appear wasteful, but if you burn down to the bottom of a candle it can become unsafe and damage any surface underneath.  Hence the reason why I am forever banging on about using candle plates and coasters underneath candles.  Simply spoon out the remaining 1/2 inch of wax and use in a wax melt burner.  This is a way to ensure you have no wasted wax.

The other option does require it to be done in a safe place, such as a stainless steel kitchen sink drainer. You can place some tin foil around the candle vessel, and leave an opening at the top. I demonstrate this in my top video.  When you light the candle, the vessel heats up and the wax should loosen from the sides.  Just take care when you remove the tin foil, and only remove the foil when it has been extinguished and cooled down!


Synopsis to fix candle tunnelling.

  • Ensure you allow a full melt pool on first lighting.

  • Think about using a candle cosy if you have a cold home

  • Are there any draughts or cold spots?

  • Has the weather got colder more recently?

  • Consider using a candle hurricane

  • Have you cut your wick too short?  Remove some top layers of wax, so the wick has power.

  • Have you tried the tin foil method as a last resort?