All of us Minecraft players have been there. You’re in your survival world and want to clear a pond for more building space. Or, perhaps a mischievous prankster flooded your home base in multiplayer and you need to clean it up.
What is a player to do? In both cases, the job is made easy if you have some sponge blocks.
Sponges are perhaps one of the most useful block-type elements in Minecraft. They may seem like simple yellow blocks reminiscent of a chunk of Swiss cheese, but they have the power to absorb any water nearby.
What if it seems there are no sponges to be found? What else could you do with your used sponges, or extra ones? Read on, fellow miners and crafters.
In this guide, we will answer all of your most pressing sponge-related questions.
The History of Sponges
Sponge blocks are nearly as old as Minecraft itself. A user on the TIGSource forums suggested they lead developer Notch in May of 2009. At the time, Notch had not yet fully implemented water physics into Minecraft.
The poster wanted a way to keep water contained so it wouldn’t flood his world in the meantime. Notch approved the suggestion, and sponges were implemented on June 19 that same year as a part of version 0.0.19a.
How to Use Sponges
Clearing Water with Sponges
Sponge blocks are best known for clearing water. Whether water is still or flowing does not matter: a sponge will eat it for breakfast if it’s close enough.
Once a sponge is placed, water a certain distance away will immediately disappear. The sponge then turns into a wet sponge block, which looks slightly darker and emits water particles.
How much water can a sponge absorb?
It’s not much of a surprise, but there is a limit to how much water a sponge can absorb. Placed in an open pool of water, sponges will absorb within a seven-block radius in all directions. Water within seven blocks above or below the sponge will also be removed.
Sponges further have a hard limit of 65 blocks of water they can absorb. If you place a sponge in an area with more than 65 water blocks, it will prioritize clearing the water closest to it.
TIP: Sponges cannot absorb water through any other block, including air. If you want to clear only a certain area of water or clear water in a certain shape, you can build a wall around the area before placing the sponge.
Using Wet Sponges
Once a sponge is wet, you cannot absorb any more water using it. Don’t fret, though: sponges, like many other elements in Minecraft, are reusable.
There are a number of ways to dry the sponge, turning it back into a normal sponge so it can absorb water again.
- The simplest way to dry the sponge is by putting it into a furnace using any sort of fuel. This will cost you 0.15 XP per sponge and can be done anywhere in the game.
TIP: You can reclaim the water from the dry sponge by placing a bucket in the fuel slot. The bucket will fill with water as the sponge dries.
- If you are in the Overworld, you can place a wet sponge anywhere on the ground in a dry biome. After a couple of minutes, the sponge will dry by itself.
TIP: Dry biomes include deserts, savannas, plains, and badlands plateaus.
- If you are in the Nether, place the wet sponge anywhere on the ground. You will hear a puffing sound and the sponge will dry instantly.
Using Sponges for Decoration
Even if you have no water that needs clearing, sponges can make for a fantastic decorative block. Their yellow and spotted pattern makes them versatile for a variety of creative applications.
You could use sponge blocks as whimsical wallpaper for your house’s bedroom. In the kitchen, they could be used as a block of cheese on your countertop. If you keep pet fish, you could use a wet sponge for decoration in their aquarium. The possibilities are endless!
How to Obtain Sponges
There are multiple different ways to obtain sponge blocks for your water-clearing or decorative needs: some easier than others.
Method 1: Barter
If you are on a multiplayer server and don’t feel like embarking on a grand quest to obtain sponge blocks, start by asking other players. The server might have a player shop where you can buy sponge blocks.
Alternatively, another player with a sponge might be willing to loan it to you or trade it for something you have which they need.
Method 2: Pillage Sponges from an Ocean Monument
Most sponges in Minecraft will come from ocean monuments, where they spawn naturally and are dropped by hostile mobs.
The quest to one of these gargantuan structures in the depths of the sea isn’t the safest option, but it is the most surefire way to obtain sponges if you are willing to make the effort.
YOU WILL NEED
- A boat
- A hoe to mine the sponge blocks
- Ample food supply
- Armor (Respiration and Protection enchantments are very helpful but optional)
- A powerful sword
- A bow or trident
- Potions are very helpful but optional
- Find a Monument.
Monuments generate in deep ocean biomes, and can sometimes be seen from a boat. A Potion of Night Vision will allow you to see clearly under the water. You can also buy an ocean explorer map from a village cartographer, which will highlight monument locations.
- Pillage the Sponge Room.
Most ocean monuments, but not all, will have a room full of wet sponges on their ceiling. Locate this room and use your hoe to mine the sponges. They will drop as items for you to collect.
- Defend yourself against Guardian Fish.
While you are inside the monument, these small hostile mobs will try to attack you with their laser eye and orange spikes. Dodge the laser beams as they charge, and use your sword and ranged weapon to kill the fish. Eat from your food supply as necessary to recover from damage.
- Kill the Elder Guardians.
Each ocean monument has three Elder Guardian fish, one in the central tower and one in each of the two wings. Because of the mining fatigue enchantment elder guardians inflict, it’s important to have the right equipment on hand to kill them.
If you succeed, however, each Elder Guardian will drop one wet sponge upon their death.
TIP: Bring a furnace and enough fuel to the monument with you. Place the furnace in a hidden base for protection when you’re not ready for the Elder Guardian’s attacks.
If you mined wet sponges in the sponge room, dry them in the furnace, then absorb water inside the monument for a significant fighting advantage.
- Dry the wet sponges.
Once you’ve escaped the monument and are back on land, allow the sponges to dry naturally or place them in a furnace to dry.
Sponges in Minecraft are simple to use. You can obtain them by trading with other players, or go for an adventure and conquer the guardians of an ocean monument.
The task may seem daunting, but with the right tools and skills, you can access a generous supply of sponges. Have fun and best of luck in your quest!