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How to clean a Roomba

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Cleaning tips for your filter, brushes, sensors and more

Your Roomba works hard to keep your floors mess-free, which means it comes into contact with plenty of dirt, hair and other debris. If you don’t clean your robot vacuum from time to time, its performance can suffer, meaning error messages and canceled cleaning jobs in your future.

From its bin to its sensors — and everything in between — all your Roomba’s components require some TLC to keep it vacuuming as it should. Fortunately, once you know how to clean your robot, the process is pretty easy, so your Roomba can be back at work in no time. 

How to clean a Roomba bin

It only makes sense that your Roomba’s dustbin is the area most likely to get dirty since it collects all the dust, hair and debris from your floors. It’s one of the easiest parts to clean, though, so it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.  

Step 1: Remove the bin

The dustbin is located in the back of most Roombas, including the 600, e, i and  j series, so you just press on the bin-release button (labeled with the bin icon) at the rear side to remove it. The s series has its dustbin on top of the robot, so you lift the metallic lid and pull up its handle to take it out. 

Step 2: Empty the bin in the trash

Carry the dustbin over to your trash can to dispose of the debris. The 600 series bin has a door that swings open, while the e, i, j and s series have a bin-door-release button marked with a bin icon. Shake the bin over the trash can to ensure you remove all the debris. 

Step 3: Remove the filter

Your Roomba’s filter is located in the dustbin. The the e, i and j series filter sits on the side of the bin, while the 600 series filter is inside the bin. In the s series, the filter is located beneath a door at the top of the bin. While most dustbins are washable, the filters are not, so carefully pull the filter out and set it aside.  

Step 4: Rinse the bin in warm water

Even after emptying the bin, some dust and debris will likely be inside. The e, i, j and s series Roombas have washable bins, so rinse your bin with warm water to remove any remaining dirt. Always rinse by hand because the bins aren’t dishwasher-safe. The 600 series does not have a washable bin, so skip this step. 

Step 5: Dry the bin thoroughly 

To avoid damaging your Roomba’s components, the dustbin should be completely dry when you return it to the robot. Use a clean towel to thoroughly dry both the inside and outside of the bin. 

Step 5: Reinstall the filter and bin

When the bin is dry, return the filter to its spot in the bin. Slide or place the bin back in its slot, ensuring it’s securely seated in the robot.  

How to clean Roomba wheels

Your Roomba’s wheels can pick up dirt, hair and other debris from your floors as it travels around your home. Leaving them dirty may cause them to wear down more quickly and even affect their ability to spin. Roombas have a front caster wheel, as well as two side wheels, that require cleaning. 

Step 1: Detach the front caster wheel from the robot

The caster wheel is located at the front of a Roomba. Turn your robot over, and pull firmly on the wheel to lift it and the housing it’s enclosed in out of the robot. If you notice any dirt or debris inside the caster wheel’s cavity, wipe it with a clean, dry cloth. 

Step 2: Remove the caster wheel from the housing

Push firmly on the caster wheel to free it from its housing. Wipe down the housing to remove any dirt or debris. 

Step 3: Wipe the caster wheel to remove dirt 

You may find some hair or dust on top of the wheel that you can lift off with your fingers. But take the time to use a clean, dry microfiber or cotton cloth to gently wipe down the caster wheel and remove any residue. 

Step 4: Reinstall the caster wheel in its housing

Press the caster wheel back into its housing, ensuring that both sides of its axle snap into place. You’ll hear a clicking sound that indicates it’s secure. 

Step 5: Return the caster wheel to the robot

When the caster wheel is secure in its housing, reinstall it in the cavity by sliding it into place. Check that the wheel spins freely to ensure that it’s properly installed. 

Step 6: Push the side wheels up and down

Moving the side wheels up and down gently can free debris trapped around them or inside the wheel well. Do this over a towel to catch any dirt and dust that falls out. Manually turn the wheels to check that they are spinning smoothly again. 

Step 7: Blow compressed air into the side wheel wells

Even after moving the wheels up and down, debris may still be stuck inside the wheel wells. The easiest way to reach it is with a can of compressed air. Blow the air gently into the wheel wells to free any remaining dirt trapped inside. 

Step 8: Wipe down the side wheels

The wheels themselves may have dirt, dust, hair and other debris stuck in their grooves. Gently wipe them down with a microfiber or cotton cloth, spinning the wheels as you go to ensure you clean all their sides. 

How to clean a Roomba filter

Roomba filters aren’t washable, so you can’t clean them with water. Instead, you’ll have to replace them approximately every two months to ensure they work properly. However, you should clean your filter at least once a week to keep your robot vacuum in good working condition.

Step 1: Remove the dustbin

Because a Roomba’s filter is located in the dustbin, you’ll need to remove the dustbin before you can clean the filter. The 600, e, i and j series have their dustbin in the front, and you push a bin-release button to pull it out. For the s series, open the lid at the top of the robot to reveal the bin, and lift the handle to remove it. 

Step 2: Pull the filter out of the dustbin

In the e, i and j series Roombas, the filter is on the side of the bin, while the filter for the 600 series is located inside the bin. Carefully grab the sides of the filter to pull it out without damaging it. There is a door that conceals the filter in the s series, so you need to open it to remove the filter.  

Step 3: Tap the filter against a trash can 

Carry the filter to your trash can and carefully tap it against the side. That should shake loose any debris that’s sitting on the surface. If the filter still seems dirty, you can use a small, flat brush to knock any remaining dirt off its folds. 

Step 3: Reinstall the filter and bin

Once you’ve removed the debris from your filter, return it to your Roomba’s dustbin. Next, place the bin back in its slot in the robot, ensuring it’s securely in place.     

How to clean Roomba brushes

A Roomba has a series of brushes that help it extract dirt and remove it from your floor. During a cleaning job, hair, dust and other debris can get trapped in the bristles. The primary brushes on the bottom of the robot are typically the most likely to get dirty, but the side brush can need cleaning, too.

Step 1: Turn your robot over on a flat surface

Your Roomba’s primary brushes are on the bottom of the robot. They’re easy to spot because they are fully exposed in the center. Your Roomba should be on a flat, stable surface, so you don’t have to worry about it sliding around. 

Step 2: Press the brush-release tab

Roombas all have a tab that allows you to easily remove the brushes from the bottom of the robot. When you press the tab, the brushes usually pop out to make them easier to grab. 

Step 3: Remove the brushes and any debris in their compartment

When the brush-release tab is pressed, it’s easy to lift the two brushes out of their compartment. Examine the robot’s underside to see if there’s any dirt or debris in the brushes’ cavity. You can wipe it clean with a microfiber or cotton cloth. 

Step 4: Clean around the bearings at the ends of the brushes 

Once you’ve removed the brushes from the robot, you’ll see caps or bearings on the ends that help hold them in place inside the robot. Carefully remove the caps, and check to see if there is debris under them. Remove the dirt, and return them to the ends of the brushes. 

Step 5: Remove any hair and debris from the brushes

Roombas can have two types of primary brushes. The e, i, j and s series have rubber, bristle-free brushes designed to prevent hair from getting stuck around them. Any hair or other debris you see on these brushes is usually easy to pull off with your fingers. On the other hand,  600 series Roombas have bristle brushes that hair loves to tangle around. You probably can’t remove it by hand, so you’ll need scissors to cut the hair and pull it off. 

Step 6: Reinstall the brushes 

When the brushes are free of hair and debris, place the brushes back in the robot. Make sure they are secure, or your Roomba won’t be able to vacuum. 

Step 7: Unscrew and remove the side brush 

A Roomba’s side brush is held in place with a small screw, so you’ll need a small or coin screwdriver to remove it. When the screw is loose, you can easily remove the brush from the robot.  

Step 8: Remove any debris from the side brush and its post

Pull off any hair and debris on the brush and its base. Next, check its post and the well it sits in, wiping both with a clean microfiber or cotton cloth to remove any dirt. 

Step 9: Reinstall the side brush 

When the brush is clean, place it back on the robot. Tighten its screw once more to ensure it’s securely in place. 

How to clean Roomba sensors

Your Roomba has several sensors on its bottom that help it navigate and keep it from falling down stairs. If they are dirty, your robot can get an error message that stops it from vacuuming.  

Step 1: Turn your robot over

While the number of sensors varies from four to six depending on your Roomba model, the sensors are all located along the front edge of the robot’s underside. They are clear plastic and are approximately 3 to 4 inches long, so they’re easy to spot. 

Step 2: Wipe the sensors with a clean cloth

Use a clean, dry microfiber or cotton cloth to gently wipe away any dirt or debris from the sensors. Be careful not to press the cloth too hard against the sensors, or you may scratch and scuff them, which can affect their performance.

How to clean a Roomba bag

The Dirt Disposal bags for self-emptying Roombas aren’t washable. They are designed to be disposable, so you simply throw them away when the Clean Base displays a solid red LED light.  

Step 1: Lift the lid at the top of the Clean Base

All the self-emptying models in the i, j, and s series use a Clean Base that houses the Dirt Disposal bag in its top. You simply have to open the top of the base to expose the bag inside. 

Step 2: Pull the plastic card to lift the bag out

The Roomba Dirt Disposal bags have a plastic card on the end that fits into the vacuum port inside the Clean Base. Pulling up on the card removes the bag and seals it so no dirt and debris escape as you empty it. 

Step 3: Throw away the bag

Once you remove the bag from the Roomba’s base, you can toss it in your trash. The bags are not reusable. 

Step 4: Place a new bag in the base

When you insert a new bag, slide the plastic card on the end into the guide rails inside the base. That ensures that all the debris winds up inside the bag, not the base. Once the bag is in place and the base’s lid is closed, your Roomba is ready to vacuum again. 

Keep your Roomba clean and productive

Let’s face it — Roombas are pretty pricey investments. To get the most bang for your buck, you want your little robot friend to vacuum your home for years. Cleaning your Roomba isn’t difficult and makes a big difference in how well — and long — it performs. Starting a regular routine for cleaning the dustbin, filter, brushes and other components can keep you from worrying about just how clean your floors really are. 

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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