Copper was introduced to Minecraft in the 1.17 update, and it oxidizes over time, just like real-world copper. Fortunately, this can be reversed or undone in-game. There are also preventive measures that can be taken to avoid this oxidation process.
Copper is a useful building block in the game, but the unique aging (oxidation) feature makes it an interesting block to use. Other blocks in Minecraft do not age. For example, wooden blocks stay the same when placed, and so do stone blocks.
Rust occurs slowly over time, but can change the appearance of the build as it changes the color of the block. Here’s how to reverse that and prevent it from happening in the first place.
Minecraft 1.19: What to do if copper blocks rust
Nine copper ingots can be crafted in one copper block. Ever since Allay defeated the Copper Golem in the 2021 mob vote, copper is still a bit underused.
Placing those blocks will start the rust process in the game. There are four stages of oxidation:
Oxidation happens somewhat randomly and usually enters pre-oxidation after 20 minutes of real life. It is not affected by the rain, nor by putting a block on it.
However, when it does occur, players may want to reverse it. Fortunately, it is a simple operation. Pickaxes are the mining tool for copper blocks, otherwise they won’t drop anything. This can lead players to assume that the rust removal would come from the same tool.
However, that is not the case as Axes will remove the oxidation. Using an ax on a copper block sets it back one stage of oxidation. It will be the same button/method that craftsmen use to disassemble a log of wood.
Each use can delay it one stage, and Minecraft players may need to use it three times to get it back to the normal rust stage from its highest stage.
In addition, lightning can remove oxidation. According to the Minecraft Wiki:
“Copper blocks completely deoxidize when struck by lightning, and other… nearby copper blocks randomly deoxidize.”
Although this is difficult to control, it can completely eliminate oxidation, even if it is at stage four (oxidized copper).
However, if players have a build with a lot of copper blocks, relying on lightning or manually deoxidizing blocks one at a time can be time consuming. It can also traverse axes pretty quickly.
Fortunately, all of this can be avoided. Waxed copper blocks cannot rust. Honeycombs can accomplish this, but not a honeycomb block, which is another key use of honeycombs.
When a hive is at honey level five, it can be cut down to remove the combs. This will drop three honeycombs, which can be used to wax copper blocks to prevent them from rusting.
Players should be aware that this will anger the bees inside. The best way to prevent this is by placing a fire below or lighting the block below the hive. This will allow players to collect honeycombs without fear.