Nothing feels worse than seeing your favorite candles tunneling. It affects the burn quality and leads to the wastage of wax. Thus, it would be best if you fixed it immediately.
I am sure you want your exquisite candle to last longer and offer the maximum burn time, but do you know how to stop it from tunneling?
This post will find some easy ways to fix candle tunneling. Additionally, you’ll learn about the primary causes of candle tunneling and how to prevent it in the first place.
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What Does It Mean When A Candle Tunnels?
People who have been burning candles for years already know what candle tunneling is. But those who developed a new interest in candles may not be aware of candle tunneling.
The candle’s center or the area around the wick starts melting, forming a vertical tunnel. So instead of the surface melting evenly, the flame burrows into the wax, leading to candle tunneling.
When tunneling happens, the wax underneath the wick quickly melts while the surrounding wax remains hard.
The burn time of a candle depends on its size. The bigger the candle, the more burn time you get. But if there is tunneling, it will reduce the burn time, thereby wasting the remaining wax and fragrance.
Tunneling leads to the use of only the center portion of the wax; hence it quickly reaches the bottom while the surrounding wax remains unused.
What Causes Candle Tunneling?
Why does tunneling happen? Most people think tunneling happens in cheaper candles, but that’s not true. Tunneling occurs in even the most premium candles, so the price isn’t a primary factor here.
The two main reasons for tunneling are- inappropriate wick size and bad candle burning habits. While most people ignore it, the wick size can make or break a candle.
Larger candles need thicker wicks, and smaller candles need thinner wicks. But most often, it’s seen that big candles have small wicks, which causes tunneling. Small wicks cannot generate enough heat to melt the surface evenly, leading to tunneling.
Therefore, you must check the wick size while buying candles. Another reason I mentioned is poor burning habits. Poor burning habits mainly refer to the first burn time of your candle. Why is the first burn of a candle so important?
It would be best to burn your candles long enough to melt the surface evenly. People often make this mistake and don’t wait enough before blowing their candle during the first burn.
Generally, big candles need at least one to two hours to melt the entire surface. If you don’t do this, your candle will indeed have tunneling.
But why should you let the entire surface melt? Because wax isn’t as hard as it looks, even in the solid state. Wax that was burnt two days ago will be softer than a candle that was burnt a week ago.
So when you don’t give your candle enough burn time the first time, only the wax in the center will melt, while the surrounding part will remain hard. Even though you don’t see different solid states of the candles, the center part is softer and isn’t as hard as the surrounding part.
So during your second or third burn, the softer or the center part will continue to melt while the other parts remain solid, ultimately leading to tunneling.
How Do You Recover A Tunneling Candle: 5 Easy And Effective Ways
If your candle is already tunneling by reading this guide, there are still ways to fix it. You can reverse candle tunneling and prevent wastage using a few simple remedies.
The following are some of the easy and practical ways you can adopt to fix the issue.
Hair Dryer To The Rescue
The hair dryer method works perfectly well to recover candle tunneling. But first, you should trim the wick and remove debris from the surface.
Switch to the lowest setting in the hair dryer first and heat the entire surface. You can gradually shift to the highest setting of the dryer. Keep heating until you see the entire surface melting. Now light the candle and let it burn for at least 30 minutes before blowing it off.
Let the wax harden for two days before burning it again.
The Age-Old Aluminum Foil Technique
This method works by heating the sides of your wax and allowing them to melt. Like the previous method, trim the wick and remove debris from the surface.
Now take a piece of foil paper and wrap it around the candle. Cover the top of the candle. Cut a large enough hole at the center to let the heat escape. Burn the candle for a couple of hours until the entire surface melts.
After putting off the flame, let the candle rest for a few days to solidify the wax.
Use Your Oven To Fix Tunneling
This method works best when you spot the tunneling early. Simply turn the oven to the lowest setting and place your candle inside. Wait till the entire surface melts before taking it out. You should take a peek in between to check the melting status.
It’s best to use your grill to fix tunneling. The grill will fix the issue well without melting the entire wax.
Trim The Wax Surface
This might sound a bit bizarre, and you might think, what does trimming wax surface even mean? Well, it’s nothing but leveling out the candle by scraping off the unmelted part.
Use the back of a spoon or knife (make sure these are clean) and remove the unmelted wax. It will work as if you are burning the candle for the first time. After taking out the unmelted wax, let the candle burn for some time until the whole surface melts.
You don’t have to throw away the discarded wax. Melt it, pour it into a small glass or tin container, place a wick, and your DIY candle is ready.
Last Resort: Replace The Wick
You should only opt for this method if all the previous means of retrieving your candle fail. I recommend this tip only for people with experience playing around with candles.
First, you need to get some good-quality wicks. Pull out the old wick, scrap out all the wax, and melt them in a double boiler or the oven.
Place your new wick properly in the candle jar, pour the melted wax and let it harden for at least 24 hours or more. Burn the candle for one or two hours once the wax solidifies.
Can I Prevent Candle Tunneling?
You can prevent candle tunneling, and I have already mentioned how. If the wick isn’t an issue, then the only way to prevent tunneling is to burn it long enough to let the wax melt evenly.
The ideal rule is to let your candle burn for one hour per inch of its diameter. For instance, if your candle is two inches tall, let it burn for two hours. Enough burn time is the best way to get a longer shelf time from your candle.
How To Fix Candle Tunneling FAQs
Why Is My Homemade Candle Tunneling?
If your homemade candle is tunneling even after giving it enough burn time, it could be due to the wrong wick size. You must have used a smaller wick than candle size; therefore, it cannot produce enough heat to melt the entire surface.
How To Fix A Tunneling Pillar Candle?
You can use an aluminum wrapping method to fix tunneling in a pillar candle. Wrapping the foil around will melt the surrounding wax, thereby fixing the tunneling.
How Do You Fix A Candle That’s Burning Unevenly?
You can fix a candle burning unevenly by heating the wax using a hair dryer or an oven. When the entire surface melts, light the candle for at least half an hour before blowing it off. After that, let the candle sit for two or more days to solidify completely.
How To Fix Candle Tunneling Without Foil?
There are so many alternatives to fixing tunneling with foil. You can use the hair dryer, trim the wax surface, and heat the wax in the microwave to retrieve your candle.
How Do You Fix Short Wick Tunneling Candles?
Melt the wax around the wick using a lighter or heat gun. Once the wax is melted, use a tweezer to lift the wick a little. Be careful while doing this because the wick may break if it’s too fragile. Let the wax harden again before burning it.
Do You Have To Burn A Candle To The Edge Every Time?
Yes, burning a candle to the edge every time is vital to prevent tunneling.
I hope this guide has helped you fix your precious candles and your candles smell and illuminate perfectly. Check the wick while buying candles and allow enough burning time not to damage your beautiful candles.
Let me know if you are facing any issues maintaining your candle, and I’ll be happy to help you revive them.