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Like any piece of expensive equipment, regular maintenance and cleaning of your iRobot Roomba robot vacuum will ensure it lasts longer, doesn’t break down when you need it most, and may also spare you from more significant problems down the road.
Maintaining a robot vacuum like a Roomba doesn’t have to take a lot of effort, but taking a bit of time to keep your Roomba operating at full power will pay off.
While we may be referencing Roomba here, that’s mainly because it’s the name most people know. Like “Kleenex” which is now a noun that universally refers to facial tissue, these tips apply not just to the Roomba brand but to many brands, including ECOVACS, Yeedi, Roborock and so many more. Here’s how to clean and maintain a Roomba in 2022.
What you’ll need
Soft Cloth or Sponge
A Magic Eraser, sponge or microfiber cloth will help when cleaning sensors or the bot’s housing.
A screwdriver (or a multi-tool kit) is handy in case you need to remove the corner brush.
Scissors or a blade will be crucial in case you need to remove tape or cut fibers or threads from the brushes.
Hand Vacuum or Duster
A small hand vacuum or compressed air vacuum will come in handy for cleaning the filter and other parts of dust.
Robot Vacuum Cleaning Kit
Or, if you want to buy some built-for-purpose tools, opt for a robot vacuum cleaning kit!
How To Clean and Maintain a Roomba
Empty Robot, Clean Filter
Start by cleaning out the dustbin, no point in cleaning things with a load of dust in the unit.
Once the dirt is gone, give the dust filter a good clean, first by shaking it out into a garbage can and then giving it a quick vacuum with a hand vacuum. Keeping the filter clean is a huge deal, as the more it becomes clogged, the less air flows through the unit, and the less dirt your robot vacuum will pick up. Get into the habit of keeping the filter clean. It will prolong the life of your Roomba.
In some robots, you can rinse this filter under water, with others it’s dry cleaning/brushing only. And some bots insist the filter must be replaced, not cleaned. Check your vacuum’s manual to be sure, or look for symbols or instructions on the filter itself or the housing.
Clean Roller Brushes
Flip your Roomba onto its back and pull the small levers that hold the roller brushes in place. Then pull the brushes out from the end (these are usually coded and marked and only go in one way, but make note when removing them just to be safe). Hair can gather inside that roller cover, and inside the ends of the brushes (particularly in homes with shedding pets, like mine), so use your tweezers and scissors to free any hair there.
If you have the small cutting tool (it looks like a small brush or letter opener) that came with your robot cleaner, use it to clean the brushes by slicing any carpet fibers, threads or hair that has wrapped around the brushes. Before you re-install them, give the area a quick pass with the microfiber cloth and move on.
Check for Brush Damage
If any of the roller brushes look worn down or broken, consider replacing them. Roomba recommends replacing them every six to twelve months, but keep an eye on them, and you’ll have a good sense when they’re finished. The brushes can occasionally be torn or sliced by fibers or tightly wound hair. You can pick up new brushes for your specific model on Amazon, and it’s not a bad idea to have them on hand before you need them.
Clean Corner Brushes
Next, remove the side or corner brushes; some may simply pop off, while others will require a screwdriver. Remove the hair from them as well (your scissors or blade will also come into play here). Wipe everything down with your cloth and reattach the side brush when you’re done. Make sure they move freely and if not, check again for hidden dust bunnies or hair tangles.
Clean Your Sensors
Use a cloth, sponge or Magic Eraser to clean off the Roomba’s sensors — these look like small windows or plastic panels. This will help if your unit seems to be stopping and starting for no reason. Once the sensors are clear, pull the battery out (if yours has a removable one) and wipe the sensors as well.
Clean the contact sensors on both bot and base as well; these are the silver/metal sensors that make contact with the changing station. If your robot vacuum has any onboard cameras it’s a good idea to give these a good wipe also.
Don’t Forget the Wheels
Hair loves to get tangled in the wheels and it can become hidden, so have a look, cut any you find free or use your tweezers to pull it out. You can pull the front caster wheel free too, making it easier to get at any tangled hairs. Wipe down the wheels and pull any dirt or dust out. The side wheels can be cleaned by pushing them down, letting them pop back and repeating. Turn the wheels, and pull out anything you find.
Give the Bot a Wipedown
Finally use a damp cloth and wipe the Roomba down all over. This makes it look nice and new and keeps the dust from migrating back to the sensors.
How To Clean and Maintain a Robot Vaccum and Mop Hybrid
Now, iRobot doesn’t make a dual-purpose robot vacuum and mop hybrid … yet. But if you’re using a bot that does have a mopping pad or plate, this is also a good time to give that a clean too. Rinse out the water tank, and remove and wash (or replace) the mopping pad. Check for anything obstructing the pad’s movement too.
Dos and Don’ts When Cleaning a Robot Vacuum
- DO make sure you clean your Roomba regularly.
- DO clean your filter weekly.
- DON’T get liquids involved. Other than a damp sponge or cloth, keep things dry.
- DO Check your sensors often to keep them clean.
- DON’T Be afraid to get to know how the pieces of your Roomba snap in and out.