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How to empty a Roomba: steps for Roomba bins, bags and bases

Alvina Wang/BestReviews

Emptying a Roomba bin, bag or Clean Base

Roomba robot vacuums come with internal dustbins, which are simple to remove and can be emptied with just a couple of steps. If you don’t have a self-emptying model, it’s a good idea to empty the dustbin of your Roomba after every cleaning job to keep everything running smoothly. In this article, we’ll show you how to properly empty a Roomba bin and, for those with self-emptying Roombas, how to clean out a Roomba bag and a Roomba Clean Base dock.

How to empty a Roomba bin

Step 1: Locate the bin and its release button 

Roomba dustbins are generally located at the back of the robot, which is the side opposite the bumper (the side that faces away from the dock when the Roomba is charging). The release button is either on top of or next to the bin and may have a trash icon label.

Step 2: Press the release button and remove the bin

Release the bin by pressing its release button. For models with top buttons, the bin should just slide out. For models with side buttons, the bin pops out and can be removed by pulling it out and away.

Step 3: Empty the bin’s contents into the trash

Roomba bins often have gates that prevent accidental spillage. Open the gates by lifting on their tabs. Empty the bin’s contents into a garbage or trash can. Shake or tap as necessary to get all the dirt out.

Step 4: Remove and clean the filter

Roomba bins have removable filters, located inside or on the side. Remove these filters and tap them over a trash receptacle to shake out dust and dirt. Do not wash the filters.

Step 5: If necessary, rinse with water

The dustbins of many Roombas can be rinsed in water. Check if your model’s bin supports this. Don’t use soap or detergent. Let the bins dry completely before replacing their filters and putting them back in your Roomba.

How to empty a Roomba bag

Clean Base bags are not intended to be reusable, but if you really want to, here’s what you can try.

Step 1: Open the Clean Base lid

Roomba Clean Base docks open from the top with a lid. Lift the lid from the front and open it as far as it can go to give yourself room to remove the bag.

Step 2: Detach the Roomba bag from the Clean Base

Roomba bags have self-sealing plastic collars that help attach them to the Clean Base. Pull up on the plastic collar tab to lift the bag from the Clean Base. The tab seals the bag during this process.

Step 3: Use a regular vacuum to suck out the contents 

With the card facing upward, slide the tab back to reopen the bag. With the hose or crevice attachment of a regular vacuum cleaner, suction out the contents of the bag.

Step 4: Reattach the bag to the Clean Base port 

Once the bag is empty, slide the plastic collar back onto the rails around the Clean Base port.

Be warned that reusing a Roomba bag runs the risk of spreading dust and dirt around that the bag was intended to prevent. If you’re concerned about generating waste and saving money, you can obtain compatible third-party bags that have zippers or other openings that make emptying and reusing them easier.

How to empty a Roomba Clean Base

Step 1: Lift the lid of the Clean Base

Lift up the lid of your Roomba’s Clean Base dock as far as it can go.

Step 2: Pull out the bag by means of its plastic collar

Find the pull tab of the bag’s plastic collar and pull it up. This detaches the collar from the rails around the Clean Base’s port and seals the bag from spillage. Remove the bag and dispose of it in the trash.

Step 3: Place a new bag in the Clean Base

Take a new bag and slide its collar onto the rails of the Clean Base port. Close the lid and you’re ready to go.

Roomba emptying FAQ

How often should you empty a Roomba?

A. It’s best practice to empty your Roomba’s internal dustbin after every cleaning job. If the bin isn’t full, you can choose to wait, but the fuller the bin gets, the less efficient your Roomba’s cleaning will be.

How do you know when you should empty a Roomba?

A. Roombas may flash indicator lights if they detect that their bin is full. Some models have a red indicator light in the shape of a trash bin; others pulse their ring indicator lights red in the direction of the bin. Wi-Fi models can also display a bin-full icon on the iRobot HOME app.

Clean Base disposal docks have a red light to indicate their bags are full and should be changed.

What happens when the Roomba bin is full?

A. If a Roomba detects that its bin is full, it may stop cleaning. Full bins inhibit the flow of dirt through the Roomba, affecting cleaning. Signs your Roomba’s bin is full include debris falling from the rollers. However, you can set some Roomba models to continue cleaning even if their bins are full in the iRobot HOME app.

Why did my Roomba stop automatically emptying itself?

A. Self-emptying Roombas may fail to do so for a few reasons. First, check if the Clean Base has power and has a bag correctly installed. Also check if the bag-full light is lit or flashing.

Next, check for clogs. See if your Roomba has a self-emptying dustbin with an evacuation port on the bottom. Clear any clogs in that port, then move on to the Clean Base. Remove the bag and shake it slightly in case any debris is blocking the flow from the Clean Base to the bag.

Manually empty your Roomba by either pressing the Home button (series i and s models) or pressing and holding the Home button (j series) while on the Clean Base. Reboot your Roomba.


Emptying your Roomba regularly keeps it functioning smoothly. Whether you have a Roomba with a self-emptying bin and Clean Base or one you must empty manually, the process is straightforward and easy to do. If you encounter errors, don’t be alarmed, but work through our tips methodically. A Roomba with a clean bin or Clean Base is one that’s ready to go.

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

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