What Is Candle Tunneling and How Do I Prevent it?
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There's a quick fix to prevent candle tunneling, AKA uneven wax melt. Here's what to do!
It’s ugly, it’s frustrating and it’s definitely happened to all of us at least once: candle tunneling. If you’re a big Christmas candle burner like I am, you’ve encountered a candle or two that just refuses to melt all the way around. That’s the tunneling part — a solid wall of wax around the inside of the candle jar that just won’t go away.
It usually happens when you don’t let a new candle burn long enough the first time you use it. It also occurs if a wick isn’t large enough, or it’s off-center.
How to Fix Candle Tunneling
Here are a few quick and easy tips to resolve this annoying issue.
Use Aluminum Foil
My favorite kind of fix is one that only requires items I have in my house. Take some aluminum foil and wrap it around the outside edge of the candle. Make sure the foil reaches over the tunneled wax. You also need to keep an open center so the flame can continue to burn as usual.
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The aluminum foil allows the flame to stay even and continuously radiate heat, and the foil helps retain heat to help melt the leftover wax. Ellie Martin Cliffe, Taste of Home’s executive editor, tested this and swears by its magic. “I tried the aluminum foil trick over the weekend and it worked beautifully,” she says.
Buy a Candle Topper
Candle toppers are cute, open metal lids that often feature intricate designs. Like the aluminum foil, they help protect the flames from wind and drafts so the wax can melt evenly. On top of that, they’re so adorable. You can grab Christmas-themed ones like these with snowmen or snowflakes, as well as everyday designs like this beautiful scalloped topper.
Note: Candle toppers work best on larger candles with a single wick.
How to Prevent Candle Tunneling
There are a few ways to prevent tunneling and help your candles last longer.
Remember to trim your wicks regularly and keep candles away from drafty windows. When using a candle for the first time, let it burn long enough so the entire top melts into an even pool. (This usually takes several hours.) Three-wick candles tend to burn the best and tunneling shouldn’t be an issue.