How to fix a Soul Sand elevator that is not working

Updated to 1.20

In Minecraft is always useful to go underground every now and then and gather some resources like Iron, Diamonds or even Lava. That’s why players always have a way to get down quickly in their base. The easiest ways to do that is represented by basic Stairs blocks, or Ladders (related article: can Villagers climb Ladders?).

If one wants to be a little more sophisticated, there are many elevator-like options. One of them is represented by the Soul Sand elevator. This has quite a simple design, but many players happen to have theirs not working.

In this article we are not going to see how to build a Soul Sand elevator, instead we will take a look at all the possible problems that can occur and how to fix them.

soul sand elevator not working

What does Soul Sand do underwater?

A Soul Sand elevator consists of a Soul Sand block under a water column. When the Soul Sand is underwater it releases air bubbles that flow up. These water bubbles are what pushes you up. Note that, differently from Magma blocks, they don’t let you breathe underwater.

minecraft soul sand underwater

Make sure that you are playing 1.13 Minecraft version or newer

Soul Sand has been in Minecraft for a long time, but the bubbles flow that it generates underwater is a more recent feature that came with the 1.13 Aquatic update. If you are playing an older version you will be able to find Soul Sand, but if you put it underwater nothing will happen.

Make sure you’re not using Soul Soil

This one is pretty self explanatory. It could sound stupid, but sometimes these little accidents (like using Soul Soil instead of Soul Sand) are the most difficult to see.

Make sure that every water block is a source block

The water bubbles coming from the Soul Sand block at the bottom can only move in source water blocks: if there’s any flowing water block in the column, it will interrupt the flow of bubbles making the Soul Sand elevator not working. You can check this by simply looking if there are air bubbles coming from the Soul Sand and that suddenly interrupt.

You can manually pour a Bucket of water on every elevator’s block, but the quickest way to fix this problem is explained in the next paragraph.

Use Kelp

minecraft kelp

Kelp grows on the floor of oceans, it has the peculiarity of turning flowing water into source water. So what you need to do is gather as many Kelp pieces as the number of blocks in your elevator, then place them all until the water column is full of Kelp.

At this point all the water column will be constituted by source water, and if that was the problem now you will have it fixed. You can decide to remove the Kelp fromt the elevator or you can keep it, it will make no difference now.

What block makes you go down in water?

Another aspect that players can be confused about is how to have a bubbles elevator that brings you down instead of up. To do so you will not need a Soul Sand block at the bottom, but a Magma block. This block underwater releases air bubbles that move down spiraling and that make the water breathable.

minecraft magma underwater


So there they are, few simple ways to fix a Soul Sand elevator. Try them all and your elevator will work perfectly, period. Thank you very much for reading the article till the very end and I hope I’ll see you again around here. See you and take care!