scented soy wax candle

Have you ever been really excited about a brand new candle you bought from [fill in your favorite candle shop here]?

Only to find a couple of days later that the candle has tunneled down around the wick and isn't burning all that wax around the edges? 

So frustrating, right? A brand new candle ruined.


Let's talk about this phenomenon called tunneling, why it happens, and more importantly, the quick and easy fix to prevent tunneling in candles

Because here's the thing. Most people (especially candle lovers) have experienced tunneling when they've burned at least one of their candles, but no one tells them why it happens or how to keep it from happening.

What is Candle Tunneling? 
why do candles tunnel

Tunneling is when a candle burns down the middle around the wick without using up the wax around the edges. Because the candle is only burning down a small diameter around the wick, it's creating a 'tunnel' in the wax. 

Tunneling is a candle burning problem because it wastes all the wax around the edges and prevents a nice burn for the rest of the candle's life. At some point, if a candle tunnels down far enough, you've perhaps seen that the wick won't stay lit because it's not getting enough oxygen. 

Why Are My Candles Tunneling?

Candles tunnel because wax - especially a soft wax like the soy wax candles we make - has memory. Wax memory simply means that the candle will 'remember' where it has melted. 

How to Fix Candle Tunneling

Really, the first time is the charm. 

how to burn a candle properly

One of the most common mistakes people make is to light the candle for the first time and then blow it out before the wax has melted all the way to the edges of the container.

Creating a small melt pool like this is what leads to tunneling because, you guessed it, the wax remembers this small circle.

Then, the next time you go to light the candle, the wax will only melt as far as the ridge that's been created by the first burn. 

The good news?

properly burning a candle

All you've got to do to fix tunneling is burn the candle properly the first time.

Give yourself enough time to burn the candle long enough to melt all the way to the edges of the container before you blow it out.


In other words, letting the wax melt all the way across the candle will prevent tunneling from happen!

How to Prevent Candle Tunneling

This first burn is the most important and takes the longest, so make sure you're not lighting the candle right before bedtime. Leave yourself a few hours to have the candle lit the first time.

how to get the best burn for candle

For all the following burns, it's less important that the wax melt all the way to the edges of the container (though it also takes less time for the wax to melt to the edges on the second and following burns, so it's generally not an issue). 

And that's it! A frustrating problem for all candle lovers that really has a quick and easy solution. If only someone had told you this sooner, think of all the candles you could have saved! 

How to Burn Candles Evenly 

To get more helpful candle care tips, download this free resource I've put together for candle lovers like you! 

How To Get the Perfect Burn For Your Candle



September 22, 2022 — Kate De Palma

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