02 May How to Fix Candles that Burn Unevenly
Achieving an even burn is essential for a prolonged and satisfying candle experience. An even burn occurs when the entire surface of the wax melts uniformly, resulting in a smooth and flat surface once the candle has cooled.
In this guide, we will share some tips on how to fix candles that burn unevenly and maintain their flawless appearance. We will also discuss how to prevent uneven burns in the first place.
Identifying an Even Burn
To determine if your candle is burning evenly, observe the following:
- The melt pool extends to the edge of the jar.
- The flame is calm and steady.
- The unmelted layer of wax is level.
An even burn also means that your candle is not tunnelling. Tunnelling is a phenomenon where only the centre portion of the wax melts, leaving the outer rim solid. This can cause the candle to burn out faster and look unappealing.
How to Make a Candle Burn Evenly
1. Make the First Burn Count
The first burn is crucial in ensuring an even burn. Wax has a “memory” that influences its melting behaviour in subsequent burns. A complete first burn sets the stage for an evenly burning candle.
To achieve this, allow the entire surface layer of the wax to melt during the first burn. A good rule of thumb is to burn the candle for at least one hour per inch of container diameter.
2. Keep Candles Away from Drafts
Drafts from windows or vents can cause the flame to flicker or bend, leading to an uneven burn. Ensure your candle is placed away from consistent drafts to avoid lopsided melting.
3. Burn Candles on a Level Surface
Burning candles on a level surface ensures the melt pool remains even. If the surface is uneven, the candle will burn unevenly.
4. Use a Long Lighter or Long Matches to Light the Candle
Using a long lighter or long match to light a candle greatly enhances the safety and ease of the process. When you use short matches or a standard lighter, you often have to tilt the candle to reach the wick, especially as the candle burns down.
This tilting could potentially cause the hot wax to spill, leading to a mess or even a burn risk. Moreover, reaching into the candle with a short match or lighter can put your hand uncomfortably close to the flame, increasing the risk of accidental burns.
With a long lighter or long match, you can reach the wick without tilting the candle or putting your hand near the flame. This method is not only safer but also helps preserve the integrity of the candle, ensuring an even and clean burn.
5. Don’t Extinguish with Water
Extinguishing a candle with water is not recommended. The sudden temperature change can cause the glass candle holder to shatter, and the water can cause the hot wax to splatter, both of which are safety hazards.
Additionally, if water gets into the wax, it can cause problems when you try to relight the candle. As mentioned earlier, using a candle snuffer or wick dipper are a safer and more effective method to extinguish a candle flame.
6. Don’t Blow Out the Flame
Blowing out a candle flame can actually lead to a number of issues. First, it can cause the hot wax to splatter, potentially causing a mess or even a burn risk.
Second, it often results in excessive smoke, which can be unpleasant and could even set off smoke detectors. Instead, consider using a candle snuffer or dipping the wick into the melted wax using a wick dipper.
These methods extinguish the flame without causing splatter or excessive smoke.
7. Cool Before Reusing
After extinguishing a candle, it’s important to let it cool completely before relighting it. This allows the wax to solidify and the wick to rest. If a candle is relit too soon after being extinguished, it can result in an uneven burn, or “tunnelling”, where the candle burns down the middle but leaves wax around the edges.
Waiting for the candle to cool before reusing helps ensure a longer, cleaner, and safer burn.
How to Fix a Candle That’s Burning Unevenly
If you notice your candle is burning unevenly, you need to forcibly melt the entire surface of the wax to “reset” its memory. Once the melted wax settles into a smooth, even surface, your candle should burn more evenly. There are several methods to achieve this, which are covered in an article about how to fix candle tunnelling.
We hope this information helps you enjoy a longer and more pleasant candle-burning experience. If you love candles as much as we do, check out some of our other articles about candle care and fragrances. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!
Fan of the Northern Lights?
How do you stop a candle from tunnelling?
You can prevent candle tunnelling by burning your candle long enough during the first burn. This is often referred to as the “first burn rule”. The idea is to allow the wax to melt from edge to edge of the candle. Typically, this takes about one hour for each inch in diameter of the candle. So, a candle that’s 3 inches in diameter should be burned for about 3 hours on its first burn.
Why does my candle burn down the middle?
Candles burn down the middle, or “tunnel” because they weren’t burned long enough during their initial use. As previously mentioned, candles should be allowed to burn for one hour for every inch in diameter during their first use. This allows the wax to melt evenly across the surface of the candle, preventing tunnelling.
Can you microwave a candle to fix tunnelling?
Microwaving a candle is generally not recommended. It could be dangerous as the wick and any metal parts could ignite or spark, and uneven heating could cause the wax to splatter or the container to break. A better option would be to use a heat gun or a hairdryer to gently melt the top layer of the wax, allowing it to reset to a flat surface.
Should you burn a candle all the way to the bottom?
No, you should not burn a candle all the way to the bottom. Most candle manufacturers recommend stopping burning your candle when about 1/2 inch of wax remains at the bottom. Burning a candle all the way down can potentially heat up the container to a point where it could crack or explode, and it could also lead to the wick burning too close to the base, which could damage the surface underneath.