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December 10, 2021 3 min read

The first time you light and burn your new candle sets the stage for how well the candle will perform throughout its life. Candle tunneling (aka 'tunneling') refers to the formation of a tunnel of wax that can protrude from your candle. It can result in a shorter burn time and disappointing results. 

Lovespoon Candles, home to the best smelling candles in the U.S., shares how you can stop your candle from tunneling:

Get the Correct Size of Candle

Your candle should be at least 1" larger than the container in which you plan to burn it. This will allow room for the wax to melt and expand, but not so large that the candle will be too difficult to remove from the lantern. 

If you are using a glass-based lantern, choose one with a diameter of at least 1/4" larger than the candle you have selected. This is because a candle that is too large can cause the glass to crack due to thermal stress. 

Be Careful with Temperature

Candle tunneling is often the result of the candle being left unattended in a lantern at too high a temperature. It is recommended to avoid using your candle lantern at temperatures of over 140°F (60°C) for more than half an hour. 

The tendency for candles to tunnel is also greater when ambient temperatures are higher. If you live in a hotter, more humid area, it is best to only use your candle lantern in temperatures of over 100°F (38°C). 

Be Smart About Handling

One of the biggest causes of candle tunneling is overhandling. To help stop your candle from tunneling, avoid moving your candle lantern unnecessarily. Also, remember to keep your lantern on a level, flat surface, with the candle in an upright position. Do not tilt your candle lantern or place a light or heavy object on top of it. 

Properly Burn Your Candle

When burning your candle, try to leave the flame itself below the level of the container. This will help to prevent melted wax from dripping back down and collecting at the bottom of the lantern. 

Once your candle has burned down to within 3/4" of the bottom of the lantern, use a long wooden match or lighter to hold the flame beneath the candle gently. This will help to melt the remaining wax that has yet to be burned. 

Lastly, do not leave a candle burning unattended. Once the candle has burned for about two hours and has melted down to about one-quarter of the height of the lantern, you should use a long wooden match or lighter to hold the flame beneath the candle gently. This will help to melt the remaining wax that has yet to be burned. 

Leave the room for a few minutes and return to check on the candle. Return frequently to check for any potential burning hazards.


Candle tunneling is a common issue even with the best scented candle lanterns. Using the proper candle and following the above recommendations will help to prevent this from happening to you. If you follow these tips, your candle will burn evenly and to its full potential for the duration of its life.

If you notice that your candle is tunneling, you can try using a deep metal pie tin to catch the drips or a candle snuffer to extinguish the flame. This can help to reduce the amount of burnt wax that builds up in the lantern.

If you are looking for thebest candles for home or office, Lovespoon Candles have premium soy candles in the most decadent scents for you. Check out our collection today and purchase one or get a subscription!

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