This genius hack will stop your candle tunnelling in the middle

Burn baby burn.

White room interior decor with burning hand-made candle and bouq - stock photo
(Image credit: loonara/Getty Images)

Few things are more frustrating than your luxury scented candle tunnelling down the middle while its soothing oils (as well as your hard-earned cash) go up in smoke.

Now that we're spending more time than ever at home, sales of home scents are soaring. In the UK, sales of scented candles, potpourri and essential oils for diffusers jumped 29% in October last year, according to the research group Kantar. Meanwhile, luxury retailer Net-A-Porter reports that candles formed a substantial part of its beauty sales in 2020. And across the pond, US retail rales of candle products are estimated at approximately $3.14 billion annually.  

Candles are big business - and it's not hard to see why. The slow release of scent bolsters us on days when we're in need of calm, or we just want to bring some added luxury to an already well-paced room.

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But then the unforeseeable happens and your candle starts burning down the center, leaving you with an annoying ring of wax around the rim of your candle jar. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, the more you burn your candle to try to rid yourself of this ring, the more the middle drops out.

According to the experts, the most common cause for candle tunnelling is not allowing your candle to burn long enough the first time you light it.

How to fix a candle that has tunnelled

So what can be done to fix a candle that has tunnelled? Turns out the answer has been sitting in your kitchen cupboard all along.

Simply fold a piece of aluminium foil in half and wrap it around the edge of the candle. Fold it up so it partially covers the top of the candle but leave a hole in the middle so that the wick can burn through properly. 

Keep the foil wrap on for about 30 minutes and the excess candle wax will melt, leaving you with an evenly topped candle again.

If you want to perfect your candle-lighting skills even more, get into the habit of trimming the wick, too, as this prevents an unsightly black rim around the candle.

And to avoid future tunnelling, always burn your new candle for approximately one hour for every inch in diameter. For example, if it’s three inches across, burn it for three hours so the top layer burns evenly.

Fiona Embleton is a beauty writer who is now Acting Beauty Editor at Stylist. She is obsessed with Isabel Marant and cats.