How To Fix A Tunneled Candle? Troubleshooting and Repair Guide

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
15 min read

To put it another way, tunneling occurs when only a small portion of the wax around the wick burns. Candle tunneling results in a ring of hard wax around the candle’s rim when left unattended for an extended period of time. Tunneling can occur in any type of wax or quality, but it is more common in low-quality candles. Candle tunneling can be caused by a wick that is too small for the candle, although the timing of the first burn is more common.

Candle tunneling limits the candle’s overall burn time because the wax isn’t being used up completely. As the candle burns out, lighting the wick becomes increasingly difficult. Why is candle tunneling occurring, and what can be done about it? In our candle care guide, we answer both of these questions.

What Is Candle Tunneling?

It’s known as “candle tunneling” since the flame only impacts the candle’s core. The wick in the middle of a candle produces the most heat.

How To Fix and Prevent Candle Tunneling • Armatage Candle Company

The melting of the candle’s center is irrelevant. However, tunneling has the disadvantage of concentrating all of the candle’s heat in a small area in the center. As a result, the rest of the wax is largely unaffected.

Why Is Candle Tunneling Troublesome?

Three factors make candle tunneling problematic.

Tunneling is bothersome in the first place because it prevents you from relighting the candle. The wick is now lower than the side wall of the candle, making it difficult to reach. As soon as the tunneling progresses to a certain point, the candle will no longer work.

It’s a shame to see your meticulously crafted fragrant candles squandered because to tunneling.

However inconvenient, candle tunneling is a nuisance regardless of its lack of danger. Continue reading to learn more about candle tunneling and put your mind at ease.

What Causes Candle Tunneling?

If you don’t know what causes candle tunneling, it’s difficult to prevent or remedy it. Wick size, temperature, and wax memory are all factors that might lead to candle tunneling.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the causes of candle tunneling.

Incorrect Wick Size

Basically, a candle will not burn properly if its wick has the wrong diameter.

Damage can be caused by candles with large wicks. If the burning wick is too large, you may see a buildup of soot.

The container will be damaged if there is too much soot inside of it. The container itself, as well as the table it’s sitting on, could be harmed.

Candle tunneling is caused by wicks that are too small.

There may be an issue with the intensity of the candle’s flame because the wick is too thin or short. Tunneling will occur as a result of the concentrated heat in the core of the candle.

The Temperature inside Your Home

The candle’s performance can be affected by the temperature in your home. Some parts of the candle may melt at a slower rate under cold conditions.

Because of the heat, some of the wax may melt faster than others, especially around the wick. Tunneling will be visible as a result of this over time.

Wax Memory

When a candle is lit for the first time, it has the same density throughout. As the wax melts, certain areas of the candle will begin to melt, while others will not.

They may harden later, but they will not last as long as they did before the burn. Compared to the rest of the candle, they will burn at a lower temperature. Wax memory refers to the softer parts of the candle.

It can take days or even weeks for previously melted candle parts to harden to their former density. If the lightings are too close together, they will melt more quickly.

For paraffin wax candles, the formation of wax memory might be a serious problem. As a result of their hardness, palm wax candles, such as GoodLight candles, are less prone to this problem.

Different Ways to Prevent Candle Tunneling

The causes and effects of candle tunneling are now well-understood. We’re better prepared to prevent it now that we have all this information.

Candle tunneling can be avoided by following the guidelines listed below.

Purchase Higher Quality Candles

Is it the case that all of the candles you’re using have tunneled? As a result, you may have a preference for low-quality candles.

It is possible that the wicks used in such low-quality candles are being overlooked by the makers. Wicks that are too little or too large might have a negative impact on a candle’s performance. In particular, the width might have a major impact on this.

Also, don’t overlook the candle’s scent and coloring. Because paraffin wax is so pliable, candles created with it burn more quickly. Palm wax candles, on the other hand, are completely free of this problem.

It is possible for a poorly built candle to tunnel even if you take all the appropriate measures. Avoid this issue by being extra careful with your purchases.

Set the Initial Burn Path

The wax memory principle we discussed earlier is still relevant. When we light a candle, we need to take use of that.

If you want to avoid your candle from tunneling, you need to set the appropriate burn path for it in the first place. To ensure that the candle burns evenly, make sure the heat reaches the candle’s outside edges.

So, how did you pull it off, then?? The key is to burn the candle for the appropriate length of time. The length of time you burn a candle depends on the size of the candle.

The rule of thumb here is that as the candle gets wider, the beginning burn duration needs to be longer. Before extinguishing the candle, make sure the initial layer of wax has completely melted. Please be aware that this procedure can be lengthy.

One hour is the minimum burn time for a one-inch-wide candle. Add one additional hour for every inch of candle diameter.

For that long, the candle should be burning. When you light the candle again, the edges will melt more quickly and prevent tunneling.

Check on your candle at least once every 30 minutes to be on the safe side. The rate at which a candle melts depends on a variety of factors. Check on the candle frequently to make sure it doesn’t melt any longer than it has to.

Keep the Wick a Bit Longer than Normal

Because trimming the wick ensures that the candle burns correctly, it is a good idea to do so. The wick should be between 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch in length.

However, if your candles have previously tunneled, you may want to avoid pruning too much. Allowing the wick to burn a little longer allows for a larger flame. Using a larger flame will make it easier to uniformly melt the wax.

Position the Candle away from Fans and Open Windows

The candle may not burn well if it is kept in temperatures below freezing. Be careful when lighting the candle not to place it in a spot where it will be difficult to melt it evenly.

Open windows and fans should be avoided when lighting a candle. A gust of chilly air moving through the area has the potential to douse the flame. Tunneling could occur if the fire is put out sooner than predicted.

How to Prevent Candle Tunneling

Different Ways to Fix Candle Tunneling

Let’s say it’s too late to stop the tunneling of your candle. That’s fine, since there are still ways you can help.

Fixing candle tunneling is easy if you follow the advice in this section. Try each one out until you discover one that works for you.

Allow the Candle to Continue Burning

Tunneling doesn’t always lead to a destroyed candle. It’s possible that the middle of your candle will get a little tunneled as it burns. It will eventually even out and the candle will burn as intended by the maker.

Check the diameter of your candle if it appears to be tunneling. You should then record the time it has been burning. To see if the candle is melting at the proper rate, refer to the burning guidelines we covered before.

Warm Up Your Candle in the Oven

Other than preparing lasagna and cake, the oven has several uses. Using it to correct a tunneling candle is also an option.

Place the candle you want to fix in the oven. Set the oven temperature to 175 degrees Fahrenheit after shutting the door. Set the timer for five minutes, and you’re done!

Place oven mitts on your hands and go back to check on the candle after the five minutes have passed. With the edges melted down, it should appear lovely and smooth.

Cover the Candle in Aluminum Foil

Even though it’s unorthodox, this strategy actually works. Aluminum foil will also be used in this project.

Make sure you have enough aluminum foil to completely cover the candle’s container, as well as a few overhangs. At least a little piece of the container’s centre should be covered by an overhang.

To ensure that the overhang doesn’t fall off, use many layers of aluminum foil.

However, do not fully cover the candle. You need to allow some air into the wick to keep it going.

Set the candle down now that the metal cover is in place. After placing the aluminum cover on the candle, Better Homes and Gardens recommends letting it burn for an additional two hours.

Keep an eye on the candle until it burns out, then check on it once more. Make sure you exercise caution because the container’s aluminum lid and body may be hot. If everything went according to plan, the candle’s surface should now be perfectly flat.

Candle tunneling is a problem for some people, therefore they try to fix it by making a dome out of aluminum foil. That’s fine, however the metal dome might be a little more difficult to build.

Use a Candle Warmer

Unless your candle has tunneled excessively, nothing will happen.

You’ll have to come up with a new solution because you can no longer rely on the previous remedies. Candle warmers may be the answer for you.

Using a candle warmer, you may enjoy your favorite scented candles long after they’ve burned out. Only the wax component of a candle is heated by a candle warmer. A heat source is used to melt the wax and release its fragrance into your home.

Using a candle warmer extends the life of the fragrance and is also considered safer, according to MarthaStewart. Because the wax does not need to be heated over an open flame, they are more secure.

Some people, however, enjoy the visual appeal of the candle’s flame. Those who have seen it say they like how it appears and the ambiance it sets.

To get the most out of your tunneled candle, you may want to consider using a candle warmer.

Candles that are buried in the ground aren’t useless. We sincerely hope that the advice in this post will assist you in resolving the problem of tunneled candles in your own home.

If you’re looking for new candles, GoodLight Candles has a vast selection to choose from. If you’d like to buy something from us, please get in touch with us right away.


How do you rescue tunneled candles?

When a candle has become tunneled, all you need to do is wrap aluminum foil around the edges and leave the flame to burn for a few hours. Make sure the foil covers the places where wax has piled up, but leave an opening in the center so that the wick can still burn correctly. The wax should melt and level the surface after a few hours.

How To Fix A Tunnelled Candle With Foil | Glamour UK

Can you microwave a candle to fix tunneling?

Heat for two minutes at 175 degrees Fahrenheit / 80 degrees Celsius in the oven. As a result, your candles’ wicks will burn cleanly and uniformly. To be on the safe side, never use a microwave to melt your candles. Putting metal wick butts in a microwave is a risky practice since they can melt.

Will candle tunneling fix itself?

If you leave a candle that has tunneled unattended, it may fix itself and melt the remaining wax, but most of the time it won’t, leaving you with a ring of solid wax around the container’s perimeter. Avoid wasting any wax by acting immediately! The more time you waste, the more difficult it is to fix the problem.

How do you even out an uneven candle?

The good news is that there’s a simple solution if you identify it early enough. You can do this by using a hair dryer at high heat. When the wax on the top of the candle has melted and smoothed, simply hold the airflow over it.

Why did my candle sink in the middle?

Because solidified wax is unable to adhere to the wick, homemade candles sink in the centre. Candles sink more easily when they are poured at a lower temperature. Due to the solidified wax not adhering to the wick, homemade candles burn unevenly. If you pour it at a lower temperature, it will be less likely to sink the candle.

How long should a candle burn first?

Candles should burn for at least one hour per inch of container diameter for their first burn. Because the diameter of a 3-inch candle is 3 inches, you should burn it for at least 3 hours (though not more than 4 at a time).

How do you fix a tunneled candle without foil?

If you have a heat gun or hair dryer, heat the wax on the top surface of the candle. For speedier melting, use a toothpick to carefully prod at any unmelted wax that has accumulated on one or both sides. Make sure to keep the heat on high until all of the wax on the top has melted and been smoothed off.


One of the most prevalent problems with candles is tunneling. As it turns out, there is a way to stop this and prevent it from happening in the first place. This tutorial we’ve put up for you is all you need to get started!

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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