Have you ever had a candle that seems to burn down the middle, but never down the sides? You end up with a beautiful and fragrant candle that has a ring of dry, unburnt wax around the edge. These candles are hard to light without a special lighter or long match. It ceases to give off that wonderful ambient light... It may actually begin to snuff itself out by its own melting wax.
Note the example: You'll notice our Mystery candle has only melted about halfway through it's full diameter. This is a process known as "candle tunneling," and its an unfortunate side effect from burning your candles improperly. YES! You can burn your candles improperly... Who knew?
Tunneling can happen to any candle of any size, wax composition, or quality. There are several different factors that can affect tunneling, but the most common reason is actually the length of the first burn. It's VERY important to get the initial burn correct.
How to Prevent Tunneling
This is the BEST tip to remember when you purchase a new candle.
The initial burn of a candle is going to set the course of how it burns for the rest of its lifespan. Believe it or not, wax has "memory" - in other words, the first time you burn your candle, the diameter of the initial melt will determine the width of the melt for the rest of its lifespan. If you don't let the entire top layer burn, you'll notice the candle start to "tunnel" as you use it more and more.
Because of this, the first time you burn your candle, it's important to make sure the entire top layer melts before you extinguish the candle. Set it up in a room with no drafts or breezes to ensure the flame stays constant and strong. A good rule of thumb is to let it burn for an hour for each inch across - check on it periodically to make sure it hasn't gone out.
For Jackpot's 100% soy candles, we recommend at least a solid three (3) hour burn to get things started!
How to Fix Candle Tunneling
It's much easier to PREVENT a candle from tunneling, as opposed to FIXING a candle that has already tunneled, so we highly recommend the good practice of letting the first inch or so of the candle melt completely.
Here are a few tips of making the best out of a candle that has already been tunneling:
1.) Hairdryer - if the tunneling is mild, you can use a hairdryer to blast the top of the candle with hot air. This high temperature can help to melt or smooth out the uneven wax. Try to melting the entire top layer to reset the wax's memory.
2.) Foil tent - Light your candle and form an aluminum foil tent over the top of the jar. Make sure you poke a hole in the foil so that the candle smoke can exit - otherwise you'll extinguish the candle. Check on your candle periodically to make sure it's not overheating. When the wax has all melted to an adequate degree, be careful removing the foil - it will be HOT!
You may need to carefully remove some of the wax as it melts to make sure the candle doesn't extinguish itself.
There will be some cases where your candle is just too far gone! No worries, there are still lots of ways you can enjoy the fragrance of your candle, at the expense of some flickering flames and ambiance:
1.) Use a candle warmer - a candle warmer will gently heat up the bottom of your tunneled candle, releasing gentle fragrances and making the most of your otherwise un-light-able candle.
2.) Carve out some wax chunks - a tealight warmer is another great option! Carefully cut the remnants of your candle into manageable pieces and let them slowly melt over a tealight burner - this method takes a bit of extra effort but you still get to enjoy a cute little flame!
As always, be extremely careful not to burn yourself or spill any molten wax when using these auxiliary methods!
Get the Most Out of Your Candles
The best way to get the most out of your candle burning experience is to purchase candles made of high quality materials. Jackpot candles are made with 100% soy wax for a clean, fragrant, and long-lasting burn. Our wooden and double cotton wicks are made with renewable resources for a clean and even burn.
The best part? Each one of our candles comes with an amazing jewelry surprise... A foil-wrapped ring to enjoy after you fill your room with amazing and relaxing aromatherapy scents.