How can I stop candle tunneling?

I’m a big fan of candles. Whenever I’m at Target I’ll pickup one of their jar candles. I’m in love with this pumpkin scented candle I recently found. It smells like fall!

Anyways here’s the question—how do I stop my candles from tunneling? I let my candles burn for a couple hours the first time I light them. I believe that’s what your supposed to do, but the wax does not burn evenly and the pool doesn’t get to the edge of the jar.

I’ve read elsewhere that I’m supposed to cut out wax from the sides with a butter knife, but that seems like a terrible solution. Isn’t there some way to prevent tunneling in the first place?

I think the quality of the candle wax may make a difference? My wife generally buys those yankee candles and I don’t think we’ve ever had an issue with tunneling.

Perhaps, that’s just the nature of those generic candles?

Candle quality shouldn’t difference here. I have purchased Yankee Candles and they also have problems tunneling. Plus I have a difficult time justifying spending $30 on a candle.

For jar candles you can take some aluminum foil and wrap it around the outside of the candle. Make sure there is some of the foil that covers the top, but not enough to completely clover the opening (the flame needs to breathe).

The foil reflecting heat will melt more wax and prevent tunneling. Since it is the wax that contains the fragrance, it also makes the candle scent a bit stronger.

The only time I don’t use foil on my candles is when guests are coming over.


@Alexa9 This is what I do, but it doesn’t seem like that great of a solution.

I wish that candle makers would produce candles a little smaller so that they don’t tunnel. Is there some sort of silly law that prohibits this?

Alternatively, it would be great if there was an adjustable candle cover that mimicked the tin foil but looked a little nicer and was reusable. You could simply put it on top of the jar when the candle was is lit. When it’s not in use you could sit the candle jar on top of it.

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This worked perfectly! Thank you!

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I think what you’re looking for is called a “candle sock” or “candle koozie.” Not sure if any brands make them, but you can probably find them by searching for “candle koozie” on Etsy

Also, if the candle is small enough, you could just use a real koozie


To prevent it from happening in the future, you have to burn the candle until the entire top of the wax has melted. That way when it dries, it’s all drying at the same level. I think the rule of thumb is an hour for each inch of diameter the candle is. It’s much easier to burn candles evenly that are on the smaller side obviously, since you can’t always let a candle burn for multiple hours. It sounds like the candle might be too big to avoid tunneling perhaps.
Side note- cutting your wick before each lighting and using a snuff to extinguish also help with keeping the wax clean in your candle.