How to Clean robot vacuums for pet hair

How (and When) to Clean Your Robot Vacuum Cleaner

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How to Clean robot vacuums for pet hair

How I wish robotic vacuum cleaners could clean themselves. They do all the cleaning on their own but leave the final dirty bit of cleaning them to us.

If you own iRobot’s latest Roomba i7+ robot vacuum cleaner, it will at least empty the bin for you. But you still have to do all the other maintenance stuff like cleaning the bin and brushes.

Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to clean your robotic vacuum cleaner.

They typically have just few parts that are easy to remove and clean. Here are all the parts that require regular cleaning.

  • Bin
  • Filters
  • Brushes (side brushes and roller brush)
  • Wheels
  • The robot itself

On average, daily maintenance takes no more than 5 minutes and you only need to do it on those days the robot vacuums.

Weekly cleaning also takes just a few minutes.

If you own a Roomba, here’s a quick video from iRobot summarizing everything you need to do.

How to Maintain Your Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Flip to one of the last sections in the robot’s user manual. That’s where you’ll find cleaning and maintenance instructions.

While the details are usually the same for every robot vacuum cleaner, specifics may vary for your particular model.

Perhaps it has a special type of filter or an unusual component that needs extra care.

The following are just general maintenance tips that apply to most robot vacuum cleaners.

To keep your robot vacuum cleaner functioning properly, it’s important to clean it on a schedule. Here’s what most manufacturers recommend.

After every cleaning:

>> Empty and clean the dust bin, that is unless you own a Roomba i7+ which automatically empties the bin.

Check the manual for instructions on how to remove the bin. For most models, you press a release button and it slides out from the side.

Be careful when removing the bin to avoid spilling dirt and debris on the floor.

Once you’ve emptied the bin, wipe it down with a moist cloth. But check the manual first. Some bins shouldn’t be cleaned with water.

It’s a good idea to empty the bin even if it is not full. This ensures dirt doesn’t cake on the sides and bottom which will make it harder to clean.

It also ensures the robot is able to vacuum properly during the next cleaning session. Too much debris in the bin can affect suction.

>> Empty and clean the water reservoir and cleaning cloth. If you have a robotic mop, never leave the water in the reservoir and the mopping pad attached.

You could damage electrical components on the robot or the charging dock.

Empty the water in the reservoir and wipe it dry before storing it or putting it back in the robot.

As for the mopping pad, most manufacturers recommend either handwashing it or throwing it in the washing machine.

Make sure it’s completely dry before you store it.

>> Check the brushes and suction port for hair and debris.

Not all debris gets inside the bin during vacuuming. This is especially the case for pet hair, which tends to cling to brushes.

Robot vacuums for pet hair are usually a bit tedious to maintain because of all the tangled hair. But most models nowadays come with special anti-tangle brushes.

If a little hair does get stuck on the brushes, most come with a cleaning tool that makes it easy to get it off.

Also check the wheels and suction port for any debris that did not go in.

Every One or Two Weeks

>> Once every week or two depending on how dirty your home gets, remove the brushes and clean them.

This includes the main roller brush and the side brushes, if the robot has them.

Remove any pet hair or debris stuck on the brushes or under them.

Check your manual for instructions on how to remove the brushes. The exact process varies with each model.

If you own one of the Roomba models from the 600 series, here’s a video from iRobot showing how to clean the brushes.

And here’s a how-to video for cleaning the roller brushes in 800 series Roombas.

>> Once a week, clean the filters. If it is a HEPA filter, you should only tap it over a dustbin to remove dust and debris. Never clean it with water.

If there is a sponge filter, you can usually clean it with water. Check the manual to confirm.

>> Once a week, remove the caster wheel (the small one at the front) and check it for debris. Also check the other wheels for bits of dirt and pet hair.

>> Once a week, wipe down the outside of the robot. Focus mostly on the sensor locations where a coat of dust can prevent the robot from working properly.

>> Once a week, wipe down the charging contacts on both the robot vacuum cleaner and the charging dock (remember to unplug it first).

Here’s a short video on cleaning the charging contacts of an 800 series Roomba. It generally also applies to most other robot vacuums.

Part Replacements

Certain components including the brushes, caster wheel, filters and mopping pads need to be replaced every now and then.

Refer to your user manual for instruction on when to replace specific parts.

About the author

Vicky Nicholls is the Sr. Researcher and Writer for

Vicky is a full-time professional writer who spends most of her time covering the real-world impact of the latest technologies on consumers' lives around the world. She writes full-time for a number of leading review and editorial publications on the web.

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