Here’s Why You Should Put Aluminum Foil on the Edge of Your Candle
There's a quick fix to prevent candle tunneling, aka uneven wax melt. Here's what to do!
It’s ugly, it’s frustrating, and it’s definitely happened to all of us at least once: candle tunneling. If you’re a candle lover like I am, you’ve encountered a candle or two that just refuses to melt all the way around. That’s the tunneling part—a solid wall of wax around the inside of the candle jar that just won’t go away.
It usually happens when you don’t allow a new candle to burn long enough the first time you use it. It can also happen if a wick isn’t large enough or it’s off-center. Luckily, there are a few quick fixes for this problem, and one of them involves something you already have in your kitchen—aluminum foil. Incidentally, this is just one of the many aluminum foil hacks you can try around the house.
How to fix candle tunneling
Here are some simple ways to resolve this annoying issue.
Use aluminum foil
My favorite kind of fix is one that only requires items I have in my house (and if it’s yours, too, here’s why you should put paper towels in the fridge and add these secret ingredients to your laundry). For this problem, take some aluminum foil and wrap it around the outside edge of the candle. The trick here is to make sure the foil reaches over the tunneled wax. You’ll also want to keep an open center so the flame can continue to burn as usual. This is the aluminum foil we like, in part because Reynolds Wrap has started color-coding aluminum foil, and this is what the colors mean.
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The aluminum foil allows the flame to stay even and continuously radiate heat, as well as retain heat to help melt the leftover wax. Ellie Martin Cliffe, executive editor at our sister site, Taste of Home, tested this and swears by its magic. “I tried the aluminum foil trick over the weekend, and it worked beautifully,” she says. It doesn’t matter which direction the aluminum foil is facing, but there is a very important reason why aluminum foil has a shiny and dull side.
Buy a candle topper
COURTESY JANE LICWINKO
Candle toppers are cute, open metal lids that often have intricate designs. Like the aluminum foil, they help keep the flames protected from wind and drafts so the wax can melt evenly. On top of that, they’re so adorable. They come in a lot of styles and designs, like this classic scalloped topper and this pretty-in-pink cherry blossom topper.
It’s important to note that candle toppers work best on larger candles with a single wick.
How to prevent candle tunneling
There are a few ways to prevent tunneling and help your candles last longer.
Remember to trim your wicks regularly, and keep candles away from drafty windows. And when using a candle for the first time, let the candle burn for long enough that the entire top of the candle melts into an even pool (usually several hours). Three-wick candles tend to burn the best and shouldn’t have an issue with tunneling.