How To Prevent Candles From Tunneling
*Start Clean to Burn Clean* The first burn and the size of the initial wax pool sets the stage for everything. The longer your candle burns, the bigger the opening for future use. You might not even want to trim the wick that first time if it’s a wider container because a bigger, hotter flame could be the only way to melt the wax all the way out to the edge. Once the candle has formed a melt pool all the way to the edge of its container, extinguish the candle and trim it back a little.
It is important to trim the wick to 1/8 – 1/4″ before each burn. The first time you light the candle, let it burn long enough (2-3 hours) for the entire top of the candle to melt in order to prevent the candle from tunneling (melting in a tunnel instead of melting the entire candle). As with all candles, do not burn for more than 4 hours at a time to prevent the wick from sinking into the candle. It’s easy to forget how much damage a tiny little candle can do but always remember to burn candle within eyesight where it won’t be disturbed while burning; out of reach of children, pets, and breezes and away from anything flammable.
How To Fix a Candle that Tunneled
Are you already in trouble? If your candle is only burning straight down the middle, don’t worry. There is a way to fix it, but I’ll warn you now, it isn’t pretty, so it’s always better to avoid the problem with the best good candle burning practices.
What you need to do is to reset the wax memory, by wrapping the edge of the container or the top in a dome-tent of aluminum foil, with only a small opening at the top for air. Fold the foil over a few times to give it more structure and keep it in place. This will reflect more heat into the wax, but the sooner you step in to deal with the issue, the better, because too much liquid wax will drown the flame. Carefully watch it as it burns for about 15-30 minutes or until the wax around has completely melted. Once the excess wax around has melted, carefully remove the foil and extinguish the candle. Now you have a fresh start.
Cut your Candle wick too short?
Short wicks can happen if you accidentally cut it too low while trimming. If it has just fallen into the liquid wax, try rescuing it with a pair of tweezers and holding it until it can stand up on its own again. The best way to deal with a short or buried wick is to melt the entire surface with a heat gun, and dump out the excess wax. But, if you don’t have a heat gun, turn the candle on its side and melt the wax onto folded foil, or a foil pie pan, as evenly as possible and without burning yourself. Again, I suggest you do this in the kitchen sink. Then, straighten out the wick with your tweezers if necessary, and relight the candle, burning it until the wax melts right out to the edge.
HOW TO CLEAN AND REUSE YOUR JAR
Method 1: Using the oven
This method works well if you have several containers to clean at once. Scrape out as much wax as you can with a butter knife or spoon. Heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a rimmed baking pan with tinfoil or one or two layers of parchment paper. Place the candles upside down on the pan and set the pan in the oven. The wax will melt in about 15 minutes. Remove the pan and place on a heat-safe surface. Hold the container using a towel or pot holder and wipe the inside with a paper towel. Let the container cool and then clean with soap and water.
Method 2: Microwave
First, use a knife to pry the candle and any chunks of wax out of the jar. Scrape away excess wax, and remove the wick collar (the metal end of the wick). When the jar is relatively clean, put it in the microwave for about 20 seconds, then wipe away any melted wax with a paper towel.
Method 3: Freezer
Frozen wax becomes brittle and easy to remove from a container. Start by placing the container in the freezer and waiting several hours. Once the candle is frozen, use a knife to pry it and any remaining bits of wax from the container. Wipe the jar down with a paper towel to clean out remaining debris.