Tutorial: How to salvage a tunneled candle

I’m sure you’ve had a candle “tunnel”, or not burn the wax all the way out to the edge, leaving a ring of wax as the flame works its way down through the candle. This mostly happens with container candles in apothecary jars or hurricane-type packaging.

The best way to prevent tunneling is to burn candles in a draft-free room and to make SURE the first time you burn it, you can let it burn for 2 hours or so. I think the longer a candle is left to burn at one time, the better it burns and the less tunneling. But, sometimes it’s a manufacturing issue – the type of wax and the wick size are incompatible, and the candle manufacturer should have “wicked up” or moved up to the next bigger size with that particular wax and fragrance.

Anyway, I have a very good candle that started to tunnel pretty bad this winter. It’s finally burned down to the last inch of wax or so, and I devised a way to fix the tunnel. You will need:

electric candle warmer

plastic knife

disposable plastic tub (like an old yogurt or butter container), washed and dried

Take the candle in question and place it on the electric candle warmer for about 45 minutes. This is just enough time to watch an episode of The Wire or some other great TV, so hook it up nearby and keep an eye on it. The wax at the bottom should completely liquify, and the wax on the sides (the tunnel) should be soft as well. If it’s a complete ring, cut it in half with the plastic knife on one or both sides, and extract the C-shaped pieces and leave them in the plastic tub. treat these like wax melts or tarts. Now, the candle can either be finished on the electric warmer or burned again once the wax has cooled.

Do you have a tunneled candle? Please try this and see if it works for you!

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    • Sam

      I’ve tried another method which works too. Esp if using a glass jar based candle. Put the jar with the tunnel candle in the oven for a short time until it melts and soft. Take it out (careful as it will be hot so use gloves or towel) and then set wick back in. Let it cool and voila – you have a re-usable candle ;)

    • http://www.thescentedlife.com Amy

      That’s very ingenious! When the wax was all melted was the wick too short ? That was the problem I encountered when not removing some or all of the tunnelled wax.

    • Tiffany

      I tried that too and my wick was too short. You can do it but I think you have to buy a new wick and place it in the candle.

    • cheryl

      I thought the same about the oven. You mentioned about “setting” the wick back in….does that mean you need to remove 1st!

    • cheryl

      That’s what I was thinking as well. Let the length be long and then trim to a quarter inch. Save the remnant for a salvaged tea-light candle.