Roomba is a reliable device that helps keep your house floors clean every single time.
From picking up dirt, pet hair, or even a tiny piece of Cheetos.
But it can sometimes act up, and not pick up anything at all.
Why does it happen? And how can I get Roomba back to running?
Read on to learn:
- How to clean brushes, filter, and dustbin.
- 7 ways to fix Roomba not picking up dirt.
- When to replace Roomba brushes and filters.
- Why you should always keep the Roomba full bin sensors clean.
- And a lot more…
Why is my Roomba not picking up dirt?
Roomba won’t pick up dirt if its brushes and filter are dirty or worn out. It will also stop cleaning once the dustbin is full and the bin sensors are fully covered in dirt. A clogged cleaning head module gearbox can also be an issue. If not, it may be due to being in a dry, static-prone environment.
Roomba not picking up dirt – 7 easy ways to fix it
#1: Wipe the bin sensors and ports clean
Your Roomba vacuum functions well because of its sensors.
One of its important sensors is its pair of full bin sensors.
These are the rectangles extending to the dustbin door. And its sole function is to let you know whether the dustbin is already full.
According to iRobot’s patent, Roomba full bin sensors use piezoelectric sensors to detect dirt.
When these are blocked, it won’t be able to communicate properly. And can cause your Roomba to not pick up any dirt.
To prevent this from happening, clean the full bin sensors every time you empty the dustbin.
You can clean it by wiping the sensors and ports using a melamine foam or Magic Eraser. If not available, a microfiber cloth would work equally fine.
To clean full bin sensors:
- Remove and empty the dustbin.
- Gently wipe the sensors and ports.
- And return the dustbin back to its place.
Remember: There are a total of six (6) parts you should clean. The two full bin sensors, two inner sensor ports, and two outer sensor ports.
#2: Remove debris stuck on its brushes
While your Roomba vacuum can automatically clean your home, it doesn’t clean itself.
Roomba has a dustbin that stores any collected dirt, dust, pet hair, et cetera. But some debris can get stuck on its brushes or machine.
That might be the reason why your Roomba runs but doesn’t pick up any dirt on your floors.
Hair strands can wrap around the brushes and collect more dirt on it. Blocking the entryway or preventing the brushes from rotating.
Since Roomba doesn’t clean itself, stuck debris on its brushes would need manual removal.
To remove dirt stuck on Roomba brushes:
- Flip Roomba unit upside down.
- Lift the slightly hanging tabs to open the brush guard.
- Gently pull and remove the brushes.
- Remove brush caps on the sides.
- Pull out any hairs or dirt stuck on the brush cap shafts. You may use a scissor to remove tangled hair strands.
- Reinstall the brush bearings.
- Put back the brushes on.
- And close the brush guard back.
iRobot recommends that you clean Roomba brushes once a week for optimal performance. Twice a week if you have pets at home.
Here’s a video on how to correctly remove and clean brushes:
#3: Clean the cleaning head module gearbox
“I’ve cleaned the brushes already. But my Roomba still fails to work…”
If that’s the case, you may try cleaning the cleaning head module (CHM) gearbox. As tiny dirt and dust can get stuck on it as well.
CHM holds the gears of the Roomba.
Aside from the motor, gears are one of the most important parts of a robot vacuum. The direction, speed, and torque of the brushes depend on the condition of the gears.
When it gets clogged by dust and dirt, its functioning can get disrupted.
Warning: You must be careful in unscrewing the gearbox and cleaning its gears. As any fault can cause your Roomba to malfunction or not work at all.
To open and clean the cleaning head module gearbox:
- Completely remove the CHM by unscrewing it from the base.
- Remove the screws at the side of the gearbox.
- Unscrew six screws on the gearbox plate and lift it off.
- Pull out any debris stuck on the gears. If you’re moving the gears, make sure to remember its place. Take a picture, if you need.
- Place the gears back in.
- Close the gearbox plate.
- And screw back in any screws.
#4: Clean and empty the dustbin
Your Roomba won’t pick up dirt once its dustbin becomes full. Simply because there’s no space left for it.
To prevent it from happening, make sure to empty the dustbin regularly.
You can tell if the dustbin is full once the full bin indicator light turns red. Or if your Roomba suddenly stopped moving in the middle of a cleaning session.
For optimal performance, make sure to empty your dustbin after every cleaning session.
Here’s how to properly clean and empty the Roomba dustbin:
- Press the bin release button located at the back of the vacuum.
- Remove the dustbin from the unit.
- Press the bin door open.
- Go to the nearest trash bin and empty the dustbin.
- Remove the filter located at the side or at the top.
- Shake off the bin to remove any debris left.
- Go to the sink and wash the bin using warm water.
- And let it air dry.
Note: The filter is not designed to be washed. So make sure to remove the filter, especially if you’re washing the dustbin. Plus, not all dustbins are washable. Make sure to review your user manual.
#5: Clean out the filter
While you’re out there cleaning the dustbin, make sure to clean the filter as well.
Since it filters dirt and dust, frequent maintenance is needed as well.
Like brushes, you should clean your filters once a week. Twice a week if you have pets at home.
This will ensure that the filter filters out all the dust and dirt well. Helping give your home much cleaner air.
- Remove the dustbin from the vacuum.
- Locate the filter at the side or on top of the dustbin.
- Remove it and shake off all the dust and dirt.
- And return it back to its proper place.
Note: The filter door won’t close if the filter is incorrectly placed. Take it as an indicator of whether you’ve placed the filter correctly.
#6: Replace the filter and brushes
Roomba uses a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. This type of filter captures 99% of dust, dirt, and allergen.
In fact, according to a study, it’s more effective in filtering smaller-sized particles.
HEPA filters are good in filtering dirt and dust. But since it’s used for regular cleaning, it’s advisable to replace your Roomba filter after a couple of months.
One experiment in Beijing showed that a HEPA filter loses 20% of effectiveness after 150 days.
“So, should I replace its filters after every 150 days?”
Sure, but iRobot recommends that you replace Roomba filters every 2 months.
Along with that, you should replace its brushes every 6-12 months. Especially if it already has bristles.
Doing this will help your Roomba collect more dirt and dust more efficiently.
#7: Use a humidifier or static guard
According to iRobot itself, Roomba might not be able to pick up dirt if it’s in a dry, static-prone environment.
To address the problem, you can either place a humidifier in the room. This will help humidify the air and prevent static buildup in any possible places.
Another solution is to use a static guard on static-prone areas. Especially on some types of carpets or rugs.
You might also like: Why is my Roomba not cleaning all the rooms?
People also ask:
Where is the dirt sensor on a Roomba?
Roomba dirt sensors are located at the sides of the dustbin entry. These are the two block rectangles extending on the dustbin cutouts.
Roomba dirt sensor uses Dirt-Detect Technology to determine areas that need more cleaning.
When too much dirt impacts the sensor, Roomba will lead itself to clean a particular area even harder. This happens because of piezoelectricity.
Dirt Detect technology is activated when a light ring, clean button, or dirt detect indicator of the vacuum flashes a blue or white color. This depends on what series you’re using.
To see on which areas the Dirt Detect technology is activated, head to your Clean Map and look for dark green dots or areas.
How do I clean my Roomba dirt sensor?
Clean dirt sensors by using a microfiber cloth or melamine foam. As the sensor is sensitive, avoid using rough cleaning towels. For optimal performance, clean the dirt sensor every time you empty the dustbin.
Like any parts of the Roomba, dirt sensors should be cleaned after every use. As this will help the sensor function at its best.
There are six parts that you should clean:
- Two inner sensor ports (at the dustbin itself).
- Two outer sensor ports (at the dustbin itself).
- Two dirt sensors (at the sides of the dustbin entry).
Reading recommendation: 5 Reasons Why Your Roomba Keeps Going In Circles + 5 Fixes