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Life Hacks

Extend Your Candle’s Life and Say Goodbye To Excess Wax With This Foil Trick

Time for candle care 101.


There’s no shame in my candle game. From earthy eucalyptus to rich vanilla, I’m always adding new scents to my collection; when it’s time to unwind after a long workday, I light a candle that complements my mood. But candle maintenance is just as important as enjoying their ambiance, and properly taking care my candles is what allows their scents to last. A key lesson I’ve learned when it comes to candle care is how to fix tunneling — which occurs when the wax burns unevenly. Luckily, a simple aluminum foil hack reverses tunneling to preserve the life of any candle. Keep reading to learn how.

How To Fix Candle Tunneling

Tunneling usually happens during a candle’s first burn. When the wax isn’t burned long enough to reach the vessel’s edges, it creates a tunnel in the center. Meanwhile, the wax closest to the candle jar’s edges remains unburned. The experts at Cyclone Candle Company warn that tunneling causes candles to only burn as wide as the wax in the center. Tunneling also reduces the total burn time of your candle — causing you to replace it sooner than anticipated.

Fortunately, this TikTok video from a candle brand called Otherland (@Otherland) demonstrates an easy way to fix candle tunneling. Simply light your candle, wrap the edges in aluminum foil to create a tent, and let it burn until all of the tunneled wax liquifies. Then, remove the foil and continue burning or gently put out the candle. (Click through for 16 more uses for aluminum foil.) Watch the TikTok below.

There you have it: a perfectly level wax line that allows for an even burn every time. The magic behind this hack? Foil traps in heat around the edges so the entire surface of the wax melts.

Candle Care 101

This foil hack can save your tunneled candles, but regular maintenance will keep them in perfect shape. Use these tips from the National Candle Association to ensure your candles have a long lifespan:

  • Trim the wick and check for debris. Before lighting your candle, trim the wick to ¼ inch using scissors or a wick trimmer (Buy from Amazon, $6.29). This allows the candle to burn evenly. Also, remove debris such as wick trimmings or matches from the wax pool to avoid adding more fuel to the candle.
  • Nail the first burn. A candle needs to burn one hour for every one inch in diameter. For example, a candle that’s 2 inches across should burn for two hours. Not burning it long enough creates a “memory ring,” which causes the candle to tunnel with each use.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for burn time. Burning a candle for too long leads to carbon collecting on the wick. This makes the wick unstable and produces a dangerously large flame.
  • Avoid burning candles near moving air. Steer clear of placing lit candles near fans, air conditioners, or open windows. The moving air disturbs the flame and results in black marks on the vessel.
  • Store candles correctly. To preserve your candle’s fragrance and keep dust away, store them in a cool, dark, and dry place with the lids on. Fragrance-heavy candles can last six to 12 months, depending on the scent.

Once you’ve completely finished burning a candle, check out our story on how to clear the jar so you can reuse or repurpose it!

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