What Is Candle Memory And How To Fix It?

Updated on November 24, 2022

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What Is Candle Memory?

Candles are great little gifts that come in handy on various occasions. They add warmth to our homes and bring us closer to nature. The wax from the candles also helps create beautiful fragrances. But have you ever wondered what those uneven surfaces and tunnel-like formations are after the candle is extinguished?

Candle memory is when candles "remember" being burned. If during a first burn, wax only melted across half the surface, it will continue to do so on subsequent burns. As a result, the candle tunnels the more you use it.

A candle that tunnels tend to be shorter-lived than those that don't tunnel. However, if you keep using your candle, it will eventually stop tunneling and become a long-lasting candle. You'll notice that the candle becomes less fragrant and starts to smell burnt after several uses.

In this article, we will explore more about this phenomenon and how to fix it.

What Exactly Is Candle Tunnelling?

What Exactly Is Candle Tunnelling?

Candle tunneling is a phenomenon where a candle burns down the middle of itself, leaving behind only waxy residue at the edges. You may have seen candles burn down the middle of themselves, but did you ever wonder why? Well, there's actually a scientific explanation for this strange occurrence.

Candles are made of paraffin wax, which is a mixture of hydrocarbons. As the candle burns, the wax melts and flows toward the bottom of the candle. At the same time, air bubbles form inside the candle due to the heat. These air bubbles expand and push the melted wax upwards, causing the candle to burn down the middle.

The Following Factors Influence Candle Memory

Candle Size

You may not realize it, but there are actually several factors that influence candle memory. One of those factors is the size of the candle. A large candle melts slower than a small one, so if you want to avoid experiencing candle wax memory rings, try using a smaller candle.

The Number Of Wicks

Candles come in all shapes and sizes. Some candles have only one wick, while others have two or more. Multi-wick candles burn longer and produce more light than those with fewer wicks. However, there is a downside to using multiple wicks. You may find yourself experiencing candle wax memory problems if you use too many wicks.

The Kind Of Wax

The type of wax can also be important when it comes to wax memory rings. If you are using super soft wax such as coconut wax then memory rings will be easier to fix and prevent. However, using harder wax like paraffin and beeswax will make the problems harder to solve. 

Candle Style

The type of candle is one of the main factors when it comes to memory ring issues.

If you are using types of candles like votives, tealights, candlestick candles, or pillar candles then it won't be as much of an issue. The main concern is with large container candles. They tend to melt faster and cause wax memory issues.

Candle type has a lot to do with candle memory. If you are having trouble with candle memory, try switching out your candle style.

Burning Rate

A burning rate of less than 1mm per hour is considered slow. Slow burning rates cause wax to build up inside the candle and form tunnels. These tunnels can lead to uneven burning and poor scent retention.

To avoid tunneling, try using a wick that burns at a slower rate. You may find that you need to change your strategy if you notice that your candles are getting tunneled.

How To Fix Candle Memory Issues

How To Fix Candle Memory Issues?

Candle memory issues can be frustrating. You may not realize that there is anything wrong until you try to light another candle after using the last one. Once you start having problems with candles, they can be difficult and expensive to fix. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent candle memory issues from happening in the future.

Fixing Candle Memory Rings

Here is a list of things you can do to fix candle memory rings:

Use A Blow-dryer

You can fix candle memory issues by using a blow dryer instead of a heat gun to melt the wax. Blowing hot air onto the candle causes it to become soft and malleable. Then, you can easily peel off the melted wax.

Candle Topper

To prevent candle memory rings, you can place a candle topper on top of the candle. A candle toper works much like placing foil around a container. However, candle toppers are much more decorative and sometimes candles are designed to always keep a topper.

Heat Gun

To fix memory rings on a candle, simply heat up the candle using a heat gun. A candle maker will often advise against it, but it could be used in extreme cases. You can either place the heat gun directly on the candle itself, or you can hold the heat gun near the candle. Either method works well.

Once heated, gently blow off the excess wax until the candle looks flat. Then pour out the melted wax and enjoy your newly burnished candle!

Aluminum Foil

You can also prevent this problem by wrapping the candle with aluminum foil. This will keep the heat inside the container and cause the rest of the wax to melt evenly. Once the wax melts, the candle will begin burning properly.

Scoop Out Excess Wax

You can easily remove the memory rings with a butter knife or a teaspoon. However, if you try to scoop them out with a spoon, you'll end up getting wax everywhere. Instead, gently scrape off the excess surface wax with the edge of the spoon. Then, scoop it into the garbage.

If you have tried all of these methods and still have trouble fixing candle memory rings, you may want to consider melting some wax. Wax melts are made specifically for this purpose. They contain special ingredients that allow them to melt quickly without leaving any residue behind.

Once you have melted enough wax, you can use a spoon to scoop out the melted wax. Be careful not to get too close to the flame because wax melts can catch fire. After removing the wax, you can add new wax to the container and relight the candle.

Preventing Memory Issues Using Candles

Candle memory ring is caused by residual wax left on the bottom of the glass after the candle is burnt down. Some candles do not produce this problem, but others leave behind excess wax and cause memory rings.

There are several tips available to reduce or eliminate candle memory rings.

First, let your candle burn for 1 hour per 1 inch in diameter.

Second, make sure there is only one wick.

Third, remove the wax that drips off the side of the glass using a paper towel.

Fourth, don't let the candle burn for longer periods of time. Do not let it burn for more than three days.

Lastly, make sure you wipe the container clean after using the candle.

Avoiding candle memory rings is simple. Follow the manufacturer-recommended methods of burning your candle and you'll avoid this common issue.


If you want to make sure that your candles don't have any memory issues, use these tips to help prevent them. Remember that you should never leave candles unattended while they are burning. Also, remember to check your candles regularly for signs of memory rings. If you see any, follow the instructions above to fix them.

We hope this article helped you out with the problems you might have had due to candle memory.

Smell is one of the human senses which can flow through the whole body. I am the Founder of NeoCandle.com where we talk all about scented candles. Known as Candace the Candle Girl, I know pretty much all there is to know about scented candles. I make and sell them on Etsy and Ebay - so be sure to ask if you have any burning questions :) (pun intended ;) )

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