How to Fix Candle Tunneling

How to Fix Candle Tunneling

Have you ever had a candle tunnel? It's the worst! Most of the time this is avoidable, but sometimes this happens despite good candle care. 

Why did my candle tunnel?

  • The wick was trimmed too short and cannot consume enough wax to reach a full melt pool.
  • The candle was not burned long enough to reach a full melt pool. To prevent this: allow your candle to burn until all wax has melted edge to edge each time. This can take up to 4 hours on the first burn or approximately 1hr per 1" in diameter. Natural waxes like soy are more prone to tunneling as they have a "memory" and can only melt as far as the previous burn.
  • A small air pocket may have been hiding below the surface and caused a crevice to open and drown the wick.

What happens if you continue to burn a candle that has tunneled?

You'll be left with unmelted wax and no wick left to melt it. The lifespan of your candle will be significantly shortened and, essentially, you won't get your money's worth. 


Here's how you can fix it:


If there's a lot of wax build-up, use a butter knife to carve a line in the wax, then scoop out the excess with a spoon to level the wax as best you can. Do not add the excess wax back into the candle, or it will drown the wick, instead discard or use in a wax warmer.




Trim the wick but leave it just a little longer than  1/4" for cotton wicks or just a bit longer than 1/8" for a wood wick.



Cut 4" wide piece of aluminum foil and wrap it around the unlit candle, leaving a 1" opening at the top.



Light the candle! A full melt pool should be reached within a few hours. The foil will add extra insulation so the candle will heat up faster and pick up the excess wax on the sides and create an even melt pool. If needed, you may gently swirl the candle to redistribute any wax left on the sides of the vessel and help it reach a full and even melt pool.



Blow out the candle and allow it to cool completely. Be sure to trim the wick before your next burn and allow it to reach a full melt pool every time.