After some serious thought, you’ve chosenthe perfect candle and are excited to light it for the first time. However, getting the most out of your candle goes beyond just finding your favorite aroma. If there’s one thing that can shorten the life of any candle, it’s tunneling. This candle conundrum occurs when the wax only burns down the middle, leaving the sides of the vessel with unused wax. And with something likeLemongrass Ylang Ylang’s eco-friendly coconut wax, you don’t want any to go to waste. We’ve collected a few ways to dig yourself out of the hole created by tunneling.
Causes of Tunneling
Tunneling can occur for a number of reasons, but typically the cause is one of three things: either (1) the wax is burning too hot for too long, (2) the wick is too long or crooked or (3)a strong draft is in the room while the candle is burning. But don’t fret — there are some simple solutions to correct this problem and extend the life of your candle. Try these techniques to become a wax wizard.
Bake Your Candle
It may sound odd, butbaking your tunneled candle is a quick and easy way to “reset the memory” of its wax. Simply preheat your oven to 175 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the labels from your candle and place it in the oven on a cookie sheet. At this temperature, the wax should melt without damaging the vessel. The candle should bake for about five minutes, at which point the wax should be liquid and evenly distributed.
Note: When the wax melts, be sure to scoop out any excess wax that flows over the wick. If the wax dries and the wick is buried beneath it, you might have to become an archaeologist to excavate it.
Blow-Dry Your Candle
If baking a candle seems a little more industrial than you had in mind, feel free to turn to your blow-dryer. This process takes a little longer than the oven, but the same theory applies. Put your tunneled candle under the direct heat of the blow dryer until the wax liquefies and begins to distribute evenly in the vessel. As we said, this tactic takes a bit more patience, but it’s as surefire a way to remedy your worrisome wax as baking it.
As Ben Franklin once famously quipped, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Basically, the best defense against tunneling is a great offense. Well-crafted candles might resist tunneling, whereas poorly-made candles might be predisposed to it. In either case, curbing the problem early is the best way to preserve the integrity (and aesthetic!) of your favorite aromas.
For starters, avoid burning your candle for more than 4 hours at a time. This will deter your candle from overheating and allowing the wick to drift out of place. Furthermore, tunneling prevention also avoids soot deposits and scorch marks on the vessel. This is especially important if you’re planning on turning that vessel into a stylish drinking glass or reusing it for a future candle. Also, how you put your candle out is important to its life. Save your breath and use a snuffer to put out the flame. Lastly, and maybe easiest, trim the wick every so often. Keeping your wick on a tight leash, so to speak, is a great way to promote a clean, even burn.
We hope you never have to fix your candle, but if you do we hope this tunneling tutorial comes to mind.
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