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How to clean Roomba brushes

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

How do you clean your Roomba’s brushes?

Your Roomba’s brushes work hard to pull out all the dirt, hair and debris from your floors, so it’s no wonder they can take quite a beating. But if you want your robot’s brushes to perform well, iRobot recommends cleaning them regularly. If you wait until there’s a problem, the brushes may be more difficult to clean. 

Fortunately, cleaning your Roomba’s primary brush roll and side brush doesn’t take much time or many tools. There are some small differences in the process based on what Roomba model you have, but the main steps are the same across the line. 

An easy cleaning guide for most Roomba brushes

All Roombas have a primary brush roll and a side brush to help with cleaning. The brush materials and design can vary based on your model, but most of the steps are the same for a basic cleaning. 

What you’ll need

  • Microfiber or cotton cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Can of compressed air

Step 1: Turn your Roomba over on a flat surface

A Roomba’s brushes are attached to its underside. You’ll have an easier time removing and cleaning the brushes if you turn the vacuum upside down and place it on a flat, stable surface where it won’t move around as you work. 

Step 2: Lift out the brush roll

Your Roomba’s primary brush roll is easy to spot on the bottom of the robot. While the design can differ among the various models, all Roombas have a tab or tabs you press to release the brushes. Once they’re loose, you can lift them out of the robot. 

Step 3: Clean the brush roll cavity

After removing the brush roll, examine the area it sits in within the robot. If you notice dirt and debris, you can use a microfiber or cotton cloth to gently wipe it out. However, getting into all the nooks and crannies can be difficult, so you may want to use a can of compressed air to gently blow any debris out of the robot. 

Step 4: Remove and clean beneath the caps at the ends of the brushes

No matter what type of brush roll your Roomba has, there are caps or bearings at the ends. Carefully lift them off the brushes, and pull out any hair or debris that might be trapped underneath.   

Step 5: Remove debris from the brushes

The brushes can collect hair and other debris, so you’ll need to manually clean them as well. You can often remove the hair with your fingers, but models with bristle brushes may require a bit more work. 

Step 6: Reinstall the brush roll

After you’ve cleaned your Roomba’s brushes, replace the caps or bearings on the ends. Slide the brushes back into the robot, ensuring they’re securely in place.    

Step 7: Unscrew and remove the side brush

As its name implies, a Roomba’s side brush is a small round brush located at the side of your robot. It’s held in place with a screw, so use a small screwdriver to loosen the brush and carefully lift it out of its housing. 

Step 8: Remove debris from the brush, its post and cavity

Pull off any debris you see on the brush or its post. Check the cavity it sits in to see if there’s any debris inside, and use compressed air to gently blow out any remaining dirt. 

Step 9: Reinstall the side brush

Place the side brush back on the robot, using the screwdriver to secure it in place once more. 

Extra tips for multisurface rubber brushes

Some Roomba series, including the 800, 900, e, i, j and s series, use rubber rather than traditional bristle brushes. These rubber brushes are designed to keep hair from tangling around them, which is very handy when it’s time to clean. To remove them, press the green tab on the right of the brushes and open the frame. 

Because the hair usually isn’t tangled around the brushes, you can just pull it off with your fingers. If you notice any other dirt or debris on the rubber brushes, wipe it away with a microfiber or cotton cloth.

Extra tips for side brushes

Cleaning your Roomba’s side brushes is usually pretty easy. However, in some cases, you may find hair tightly wrapped around the base of the brush. If you can’t remove it with your fingers, use scissors to cut the hair, so you can easily pull it off. 

Fortunately, the brush fibers themselves don’t typically get hair caught around them. However, be careful when wiping away dirt because they’re flimsier than traditional brush bristles. 

Extra tips for the 400, 500, 600 and 700 series

If your Roomba is a model with traditional bristle brushes, cleaning them may take a bit more elbow grease. Hair can get tightly wound around the brushes, so you can’t pull it off with just your fingers. 

The best method for removing the hair depends on your Roomba model.

  • 400 and 500 series: These Roombas actually include a tool to help you remove the hair from your brushes. Run the included cleaning tool over the bristles to loosen the hair, so you can then pull it loose. 
  • 600 and 700 series: The best way to get hair off these Roombas’ bristle brushes is with scissors. Snip the hair in one or more areas, so you can then pull it free. Work carefully, though, so you don’t cut yourself or the bristles. 

Roomba brush-cleaning FAQ

Do Roomba brushes need to be replaced?

Roomba brushes work hard to keep your floors clean, so they require replacement. iRobot typically recommends replacing your robot’s two primary brushes every six to 12 months and the side brush every three to six months. Not sure if it’s time to replace your brushes? Check the Product Health tab for your Roomba in the iRobot Home app to see how many more cleaning hours your brushes have in them.

How often do you need to clean your Roomba brushes?

iRobot recommends cleaning your Roomba’s two primary brushes every week — or twice a week if you have pets. The side brush usually only requires monthly cleaning. 

Can you use your Roomba daily?

You may not need to vacuum your home daily if you don’t have children or pets, but you certainly can if you want. For example, during allergy season, you may want to stay on top of symptoms with daily vacuuming. You shouldn’t notice any changes in the battery life or performance with daily cleaning, though you may need to clean and replace your brushes and other components more often. 

Keeping Roomba brushes clean

Cleaning your Roomba’s brushes doesn’t take much time or effort, especially if you set up a weekly cleaning routine that keeps them from getting too dirty or matted with hair. It may seem like a minor detail, but maintaining your robot’s brushes can keep it going strong for years and help your floors stay mess-free.

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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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