3 Ways to fix tunnelling

Candle care Tips, What is Tunnelling and how can I fix it?

Hey you! Welcome to my Ted Talk! 

Okay, but seriously thanks for coming over to this section of my site where I ramble about the things that are important to me! 

A few times in my last post I made reference to tunnelling and said it was bad and didn't really explain very much, that is mainly because there are so many reasons it could happen and its not as simple as do X and Y won't happen. So lets get into it shall we? 

What is Tunnelling and why does it happen? 

Tunnelling is when your candle doesn't fully melt and forms a "tunnel" around the wick and through the middle of the candle. In container candles this results in excess wax being left behind up the sides of the container. In pillars is can be quite different; you will either have something similar to what happens in a container where the wax that didn't melt is left standing at the sides OR your candle will simply leak wax everywhere and  burn right down to the bottom super quick. There are loads of reasons this could happen so Im only going to pick out a few: 

  1. The wick isn't the correct size for the candle / wax type. Generating too much heat too quickly resulting in the wick burning up quicker than the wax can evaporate. OR isn't generating enough heat to fully melt the wax, in turn is only creating a small wax pool.  
  2. The wick hasn't been trimmed to the correct length before lighting. 
  3. The first time the candle was lit, it wasn't lit for long enough, therefore hasn't established an even melt and due to what we call wax memory will carry on burning the even surface around the wick. Again failing to melt right up to the edge. 

So what can I do to stop it happening? 

Always follow the burn instructions. We recommend burning as long as possible (up to 4 hours) for our Jars. A really good rule for pillar candles is an hour for every inch in diameter, espesially on the first burn, because you want to develop a healthy wax pool going forward. 

Burn your candle away from any drafts. Make sure the wick is in the center of the candle before the wax cools back down. Always trim the wick to around 4mm before each burn BUT this can vary so always read any directions for use, instructions or care cards that come with your candle. 

Unfortunately, many mass produced candles will use the same wick type for all their candles and fragrances, adding extra wicks to make sure the whole candle burns. But I'm not going to start on that rant today. Lets look at some of the ways you can fix your tunnelling candle. 



The Foil Method 

This trick works if you notice your candle is starting to tunnel early on. Wrap some kitchen foil around your candle, fold it slightly at the top to form a sort of canopy over the hard wax leaving a hole in the centre of your candle to allow some heat to escape.

The canopy of foil will allow the heat from the flame to circle back into the container, melting the wax built up on the sides. Keep an eye on your candle as you do this you don't want to over heat the vessel! Once the wax from the edge has melted you can snuff out your candle and allow it to cool before removing the foil. Leave the wax to harden for at least 24 hours before relighting. 


Hair Dryer Method 

Be warned this one can get messy. 

On a low heat guide your hairdryer across the top of your candle. (Bonus points if you have a heat gun.) Focus on the edges where there is a build up of wax, direct heat at the built up areas until you have an even surface. If the wick looks suuuuper small after all that melting, tip some of the melted wax into a container to cool before disposing of it or if you are like me and absolutely hate waste you can use it as a wax melt! 


Trimming the wax

I yell about trimming the wick of your candles all the time, but you can trim your wax too. Use an unused spoon or butter knife, and cut away the unmelted wax. Remember when I said wax memory is a thing, well your just removing the memory give it a quick surface melt with your hairdryer or heat gun to make it level. Again give it 24 hours to harden and you're ready to go again!


Have you tried any of these methods? 

Drop us a message on instagram let us know which worked best for you! 

Back to blog