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black Lumiere lit candle with tunnelling

What is ‘candle tunnelling’ and why you need to know about it

Tunnelling can happen when only a small portion of the wax around the wick melts. Instead of having the entire surface of the wax melt evenly, it looks as if the flame is burrowing into the candle creating a vertical ‘tunnel’ – hence the name.

Candle memory leads to candle tunnelling.

Would you believe me if I told you candles have the most amazing memory? It’s true! To understand ‘tunnelling’ you also need to understand candle wax memory. Candle wax memory determines how well the candle will perform throughout its life – which is why the first burn is most important.

Let it burn, let it burn.

When you buy a brand-new candle and burn it for the first time, it’s recommended you let it burn long enough that it melts the whole diameter of the top layer before extinguishing the flame (roughly 3-4 hours).

Not letting the top layer of wax melt completely can lead to a memory ring forming. Remember how I mentioned a candle’s incredible memory? Your candle remembers where it burnt up to on that very first burn and will only ever burn to this point which can lead to ‘tunnelling’. Once tunnelling occurs, it is incredibly difficult to fix so it’s best to avoid rather than try and solve.

Lumière Candle Care Tips

The best way to fix a tunnelling problem is to avoid it in the first place. 

  • TRIM YOUR WICKS: The old mantra rings true. Trimming your wicks ensures you get a clean, even burn throughout the lifetime of your candle.
  • ALLOW ENOUGH TIME: Give your new candle enough time to burn. Don’t light a new candle if you’re on short on time and will have to put it out before it has time to melt to the edge.
  • HELP! MY CANDLE IS TUNNELLING! Don’t panic. You can still salvage your candle. Read more about how to fix tunnelling here.

Candle Care

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