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Roomba Stuck On Cliff: 7 Causes & Fixes (Updated 2022)

Roomba Stuck On Cliff

Roombas are very handy appliances to own. 

But they can also be quite dramatic.

There’s nothing like getting a notification that reads: “Roomba is stuck near a cliff.”

“What cliff? It’s inside my freaking house!”

Luckily this error is easy to set right, so don’t freak out.

Continue reading to find out: 

  • 7 quick fixes to the “Roomba Stuck on Cliff” error.
  • How to clean and maintain your Roomba’s cliff sensors. 
  • How to replace your Roomba’s malfunctioning cliff sensors.
  • And so much more…

Roomba stuck on cliff: 7 causes & fixes


#1: Your Roomba’s cliff sensors are dirty

All iRobot Roomba models feature sensors that act as their eyes. This allows them to navigate around a room.

Your Roomba’s cliff sensor signals the vacuum bot near the stairs or a balcony.

If they fail to detect the cliff first-off, they get stuck. 

Dirty cliff sensors often cause this to happen. In fact, iRobot recommends regular cleaning of cliff sensors.

Melamine foams are ideal because they can remove grease and dirt.

However, a magic eraser cleans as fine. They’re pretty much all-around surface cleaners that you can also use at home.

“What if I don’t have any of these?”

In that case, using wet wipes or a wet cleaning cloth will do the trick.

Warning: Water may get into the Roomba, and this will cause more serious damage.

“Now, how do I clean my Roomba’s cliff sensors?”

Remember that the cliff sensors are always found at the bottom of the Roomba. And despite the different series, a Roomba’s sensor care is all the same. 

The actual cleaning is super easy to do. Follow these steps:

  1. Flip the Roomba and find the sensors.
  2. If not very dirty, wipe the dust off the cliff sensors using dry, clean cloth or cotton swab.
  3. Use a magic eraser or wet wipes (again, be very careful) for grease and stains.

Note: The cliff sensors are pieces of glossy plastic located on the Roomba’s bottom edge. 

If you’re still unsure where exactly the cliff sensors are, you can opt to clean the entirety of the robot cleaner.

Reading tip: 5 Reasons Why Your Roomba Keeps Going in Circles + 5 Fixes

#2: The cliff sensors need replacement

You’ve cleaned the cliff sensors. Despite that, you still get the same error. Then your cliff sensors might be the problem. 

They’re susceptible, so it’s normal for them to break after a period of use. 

Plus, they bump into things all the time. (If only Roombas could get a concussion, they’d be in the ER every. Single. Day.)

Luckily, broken sensors are relatively common, so getting a replacement is easy. 

Note: Always check if the replacement sensor matches your Roomba series and model. 

You only need some screwdrivers to start if you already have a replacement cliff sensor.

“But I don’t know how to do it.”

Don’t worry. The installation process is straightforward, too, even if you’re not a pro, and takes only a couple of hours. 

Remember to be very gentle when removing the old sensors. That way, you’ll avoid damage to the motherboard.

Want to know how to maintain, repair, and disassemble a Roomba series 600?

Watch this video to learn:

Suppose you’re not confident about taking apart your vacuum robot. In that case, there’s no other option left but to send it back to iRobot.

Just make sure your Roomba falls under the warranty conditions of the company.

#3: Your Roomba thinks your dark carpet is a cliff

Fun fact: Your Roomba recognizes a dark carpet as a cliff. 

Though not very common among newer Roomba models, hardware mistakes can still happen.

According to iRobot research scientist Ben Kehoe, this whole stuck on cliff dilemma is because a Roomba uses a combination of LED + photodiode (a light detecting sensor). 

This combination allows Roombas to identify drops such as stairs and steps. 

Sometimes, the cliff sensor can’t sense the light reflected on dark surfaces, like a dark-colored carpet.

And instead, it recognizes this as a dangerous drop-off and avoids the area altogether. 

“Oh no. It’s too dark. I can’t see. Must be a cliff.”

So how can you get your entire household cleaned if your Roomba cowers at the sight of a black rug? 

It’s simple.

Use light-colored rugs and carpets. Roombas work well with beige, white, pastel, and ivory colors.

Also, make sure that your house is well-lit and all rooms have good lighting. This way, your Roomba can clean everything. 

#4: Uneven flooring

It’s such a first-world predicament, but really, it happens.

Some houses have varied wood or tile flooring placements across the threshold. 

Uneven and irregular flooring is your Roomba’s daily struggle. Not only that, but it can also pose a tripping hazard to everyone in your house.

“So, what should I do about this, Petya?”

I wish there’s a cheaper way to do this, but it requires changing your floor.

“But I can’t afford to replace the flooring in our house!”

Ever heard of transition molding? No? Today is your lucky day. 

In a basic sense, it sorts out the height difference between the two rooms.

The benefits of transition molding are that it:

  • Is much cheaper than replacing all your floorings.
  • Eliminates the risks of uneven floor surfaces. 
  • Is more convenient and requires a shorter labor time.

#5: Remapping needed

Your Roomba is smart enough to remember the layout of your home. 

But, sometimes, they fail to map the house correctly. For example, they think an open door is a wall.

And they will skip cleaning that part next time. Sometimes, they get confused when you rearrange the furniture, too.

So, you can remap your Roomba if you keep receiving the stuck on cliff error. 

“How can I remap my Roomba?”

Manually remap your Roomba by pushing the button on the bottom part of the unit. After the LED light blinks twice, press and release the “CLEAN” button. 

“Can I remap my Roomba on my phone?” 

Absolutely. 

It is so much easier to control home technology devices (like the Roomba) using your smartphone in this digital era.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open the iRobot Home application.
  2. Go to Menu.
  3. Choose Clean Map Report.
  4. Tap on Update Smart Map.

Note: Not all Roombas have a mapping system. Be sure to check and compare models. 

#6: Your house is too dark

Your House Is Too Dark

The latest Roomba models can still function in dimly lit rooms.

Yet, some older models rely on optical sensors that need enough light to work well. 

Your Roomba will register the dark parts of your house as cliffs. And it will turn away from there.

As long as you keep your house well-lit, your tiny robot cleaner will work without a problem.

You can also schedule your Roomba to clean during daytime.

#7: Use an iRobot virtual barrier

Did you know that iRobot also makes a barrier-like device for your Roomba?

It’s called a virtual barrier wall. It works with the Roomba 600, 700, 800, and 900 series.

Note: This virtual wall uses standard AA batteries.

This device is very convenient to use. 

Not to mention how it’s easy to move around since it’s battery-operated.

However, it stops working when it runs out of battery. You have to pay attention to the battery indicator display. 

Virtual walls are quite expensive, but they’re also versatile solutions to Roombas’ stuck on cliff error. 

You might also be interested in: 8 Steps To Fix “Roomba Error 6” In Seconds