Insightful Things You Should Know To Fix Candle Tunneling

Burning a candle sounds very simple – light the wick, let the wax melt, and if you have a scented candle, enjoy the aroma, right? Well, not so fast. There is a right and wrong way to burn a candle to prevent candle tunneling.  

By burning a candle the right way, you can avoid candle tunneling, where the wick burns a tunnel in the middle of a candle, leaving a thick ring of unmelted wax around the outer edge. Once a candle has started to tunnel, it will continue to do so every time you light it (unless you fix it; we’ll show you how to do that below).

If you keep burning your tunneling candle, you will be left with a wick that burns quickly and a lot of wax that never melted and never gave off any smell. 

Let’s check out how to fix or prevent candles from tunneling. But, before, pay heed to these pieces of advice we have:

First, trim the wick

Before burning any candle – whether new or one you’ve already started burning – make sure you trim the wick. By doing this, you can stop black burn marks from forming on the candle holder and prevent pieces of charred wick from falling into the melted wax.

Moreover, you will want to trim the wick to 1/4 to 1/8 inch with scissors or a wicked cutter.

If your out-of-the-box candle has a wooden wick — an eighth to a 4th of an inch high — you can skip the cut before the first burn. 

Let the incredible layer of wax melt to the rim to prevent the candle from sinking.

This is the most important step in fixing tunneling candles. 

When you burn your candle, let it burn just enough to allow the awesome surface of the wax to completely melt from the wick to the rim of the candle holder. Not only will this release as much fragrance as possible, but it will also interrupt the tunnel in your tracks.

Experts recommend burning your candle for at least 3 to 4 hours to “help ensure a complete melting of the wax” and fix a candle. Not every candle needs that much pace to melt the layer of wax. 

Be sure to read and follow all instructions provided by the manufacturer for your specific candle, and do not burn your candle at more pace than the label recommends (if any).

By doing this, the first time you light a new candle, you make the wax “remember” how far from the wick it melted. Henceforth, it will melt the same way the next time you light it. 

This is true every time you light the candle, not just the first time, so follow this rule every time you light it.

Finally, avoid drafts when burning the candle.

Candle tunneling can also happen when the flame transfers or leans onto one side while the candle is burning, usually caused by an area of ​​expertise airflow. Turn off all fans and avoid placing the candle in front of an open window to keep the flame steady while burning.

Air currents can also cause black burn marks on the candle holder.

How to fix candle tunneling? 

candle tunneling

All of the above advice is important when you first burn a new candle, but what if you already have a candle with a tunnel in the middle? There are ways to fix a candle tunnel, depending on the severity of the tunneling candle.

Use aluminum foil to fix candle tunneling 

The next time you light your tunnel candle, get a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the top of the container. Make a hole at least an inch wide in the middle, so the flame gets enough oxygen to burn.

Let the candle burn long enough to melt the wax to the rim of the container. The aluminum foil helps maintain enough heat to melt the entire surface of the wax.

How to fix candle tunneling without foil? 

You can also buy a steel sail top that works just like aluminum foil in a more visually pleasing game. Yankee Candles sells various toppers that fit their candles, and you can find other Etsy and other online stores 

Try a Mug Warmer to Fix a Serious Candle Tunnel

For deep candle tunneling, the foil trick may not work. If you still want to smell your candle and the wick is almost gone, try a Mug Warmer.

These small hot plates can heat the entire candle to melt the remaining wax and enhance the aroma.  

With no flame to heat the wax, the wax will not disappear with this method. You can reheat the candle in a mug warmer several times, but it will lose its scent with pace.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): 

candle tunneling

Where can I get help to fix candle tunneling?

If your candle starts to tunnel, it means it is not burning evenly. To correct this, you will need to trim the wick. Start by blowing out the candle and letting it cool. 

When it is cool, use a wick trimmer or sharp scissors to cut the wick to ¼ inch. You may need to do this a few times during the life of the candle to keep it burning evenly.

What causes candle tunneling?

When a candle is lit, the heat of the flame melts the wax near the wick. This liquid wax is then drawn out of the wick by capillary action. The melted wax then vaporizes and, in doing so, begins to cool.

This cooled vaporized wax begins then to condense on the parts of the flame that are cooler – usually at the edge of the flame – which causes candle tunneling or hollow space in the center of the candle.

Why did my candle start tunneling?

If the candle starts to tunnel, the wick is likely to be too long. When the wick is too long, it cannot absorb enough wax to keep the flame burning, so the flame begins to tunnel through the candle.

When you notice your candle starting to tunnel, put out the flame and cut the wick before lighting it again.

Is it safe to burn a candle after candle tunneling?

If you notice that your candle is opening, it is best to blow it out. First, let it cool down a bit, then cut the wick back to about ¼ inch. Next, gingerly, make sure that there is no debris in the way from the flame, such as matches or wax fragments.

How to fix candle tunneling?

The candle tunneling can cause the candle to burn unevenly, leading to problems like soot buildup or fire. To correct this problem, trim the wick to flush with the wax. You may also need to reposition the candle, so the flame is even with the wick.

Can I fix a tunneling candle myself?

If you notice that your tunneling candle is starting to form a hole or “tunnel” in the center of the wax, there are a few things you can do to try to fix it.

  1. First, ensure the wick is still centered in the wax and cut to ¼ inch. If not, adjust it and see if that helps.
  2. If the wick is trimmed and centered but the tunneling persists, try gently pushing the sides of the wax toward the center, so it melts and fills in the gaps. You can also use a toothpick or skewer to do this.
  3. Finally, if all else fails, you can always scoop out some of the melted wax around the wick with a spoon and then fill it with fresh wax. This should help fix any problem areas and prevent further candle tunneling.

A tunneling candle is a type of candle that has a small hole drilled in the center. The purpose of this hole is to allow heat to escape from the flame, which in turn prevents soot from forming on the sides of the candles may seem like a simple design, but it can be quite difficult to create a perfect tunnel sail.

How much does it cost to repair a tunneling plug?

The cost of repairing candle tunneling varies depending on the size and complexity of the problem. If the hole is too small, you may need to buy a new candle or two to get a good flame; replacing the entire spark plug may be necessary. In either case, it is best to consult a specialist before taking any action.  


No doubt, candle tunneling ruins the look of the whole candle. But, when necessary steps are taken with diligence to fix the tunnels and unwanted depths of candles, the candle can get back into shape tirelessly.

Hopefully, these tips and queries resolved in the article would help you revamp your candle appearance. 

Good luck!

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