There aren't many better experiences in life than getting cosy, sitting back and relaxing with scented candles. But what if the worst happens, and your candle begins to tunnel?
If that happens, don't worry, we can help you fix - and prevent - candle tunnelling. Just keep reading to find our tips.
What Is Candle Tunnelling?
Tunnelling happens when only the middle burns down, leaving a hard ring of unmelted wax around the edges of your candle. If this outer ring of wax doesn't melt properly, the wick will begin to "tunnel" down further into your candle. This can also cause your wick to become “buried” in the wax after the candle is extinguished and the wax begins to cool. The further your wick is from unmelted wax, the higher the likelihood of the flame burning the whole candle as the wax gets too cold.
This means that the burn time of your scent is greatly reduced as less wax ends up being used. But we'll show you how to fix this occurrence with three super-simple techniques later in this feature.
How To Prevent Candle Tunnelling
The first time you light is crucial, as it's easy to create a tunnel by accident. When lighting the wicks, the layer of wax across the top of the candle has to melt fully. In the candle business we call this a wax pool.
As a general rule, candles burn for one hour for every 2.5cm of their diameter. But you should always check on yours as it's burning to make sure the wax stays level!
Once you’ve burned for long enough to create a completely even wax pool, you can extinguish your candle. Wax has memory, so once it's completely melted and smoothed over, trim the wick to 1/2cm. Melting the wax like this in a draught-free area will help avoid candle tunnelling.
The type of wax and the size of the candle wick can also affect whether tunnelling will happen. It's more common for low-quality wax, or the wrong wick size to occur in lesser-quality products. So buying a candle from PartyLite will reduce those chances!
If the wick is not centred after burning, please return it to its original position before the wax cools down so that the wax can liquefy evenly during further burning.
How To Fix Candle Tunnelling
There are three easy ways to fix your candle. Firstly, if the tunnel isn't too deep, you can simply burn your candle for 3-4 hours to create a full wax pool! This should work in a larger candle jar or 3-Wick candle as they have longer burn times.
For mild tunnelling where you can still see the wick, you could use a hairdryer. The heat from your hair accessory will melt the candle wax and make it much more even. Once done, follow the steps for lighting a candle for the first time, and melt the first layer of wax completely. Ideally this should stop any occurrence of wax tunnels again on your scent!
With extreme tunnelling - where you can barely reach your wick with a match - you need aluminium foil. Before using this technique, trim your wick to 1/2cm, then wrap your candle with the foil so it completely covers the outside. This should create a “dome” above the wax. Leave a hole roughly 2.5cm wide in the top, then light the candle. The heat from the candle should be reflected back onto itself, and after 1-3 hours of burning, the wax should have evened itself out!
Find out how to stop your candle flickering and check out our full candle care guide.