why do my candles tunnel?

You may encounter a common issue known as “candle tunnelling.” This can be frustrating, as it reduces the lifespan of your candle and affects its overall appearance and fragrance. In this blog post, we will delve into the causes of candle tunnelling and provide practical solutions to prevent and rectify this problem.

What is Candle Tunnelling?

Candle tunnelling refers to the formation of a deep hole that runs down the center of a candle while leaving the outer wax untouched. This creates a tunnel-like appearance, and if not addressed, it can lead to uneven burning and wasted wax.

Causes of Candle Tunnelling:

  1. Initial Burn: The first burn of a candle sets the stage for its future burning patterns. If the initial burn is not long enough, the candle’s memory ring (the diameter of the melted wax on the first burn) will be too shallow, leading to tunnelling in subsequent burns.
  2. Wax Quality: The quality of the candle’s wax plays a significant role in how evenly it burns. Cheaper candles with lower-quality wax may be more prone to tunnelling compared to higher-quality, well-formulated candles.
  3. Wick Size: A wick that is too small for the candle’s diameter might not generate enough heat to melt the wax evenly, causing tunneling. On the other hand, a wick that is too large can create an excessive flame, leading to uneven melting.
  4. Drafts and Airflow: Placing a candle in an area with drafts or excessive airflow can cause uneven burning. Air currents can push the flame to one side, causing the wax to melt unevenly.
  5. Burn Time: Burning a candle for too short a period can contribute to tunneling. Candles require enough burn time to achieve a full melt pool that reaches the edges of the container.

Solutions to Prevent Candle Tunnelling:

  1. First Burn: When lighting a new candle, allow it to burn long enough for the entire surface to liquefy. This process ensures that the candle establishes a memory ring, leading to more even burning in the future.
  2. Trim the Wick: Before each burn, trim the wick to about ΒΌ inch to promote a steady flame and prevent excessive heat that can lead to tunnelling.
  3. Avoid Drafts: Place candles away from open windows, fans, or vents to minimize the impact of drafts and ensure an even burn.
  4. Burn Time: Allow the candle to burn for a sufficient amount of time to create a full melt pool that reaches the edges of the container. This practice prevents tunnelling and maximizes the candle’s overall lifespan.
  5. Rotate the Candle: If you notice tunnelling starting to occur, gently tilt the candle while it’s lit to encourage more even melting along the edges.


Candle tunnelling can be frustrating, but with proper care and attention, you can prevent this issue from plaguing your candles. Remember to always give your candles a good initial burn, trim the wick regularly, and place them in draft-free areas to enjoy longer-lasting, beautifully burning candles. With these tips in mind, you can make the most of your favourite candles and continue to create the perfect atmosphere in your home. Happy candle burning!