Not exactly the smartest devices around, are they?
Well, put it this way:
Preventing a Roomba to fall down the stairs is almost like teaching a kid how to walk.
And if you’re making the mistakes as discussed below…
You’re in for a tumbling-rumbling Roomba.
Fortunately, I’ve got a fix for each of those mistakes.
Read on to discover:
- 1 universal fix for every Roomba problem falling down the stairs.
- 9 fixes you can do to keep your Roomba safe (and prevent it from falling down).
- Whether you can disable your Roomba’s cliff sensors (and how to do it if possible).
- And so much more…
Will Roomba fall down stairs?
A Roomba can fall down the stairs if its sensors aren’t properly maintained or cleaned. A dark carpet might also confuse your Roomba and cause it to go past your staircase. If your Roomba’s new, then it needs remapping. If the sensors are damaged, it could cause your Roomba to fall down the stairs.
9 ways to stop Roomba from falling down the stairs
#1: Verify first if your Roomba has cliff sensors
Before you start wondering why your Roomba keeps falling down your stairs…
We need to address the biggest elephant in the room:
Does your Roomba model have cliff sensors?
See – here’s the thing.
All Roombas have built-in sensors.
These are mainly used for their cleaning path and when detecting objects like your couch.
Not all Roomba models have cliff sensors, which are responsible for…
Sensing heights or cliffs around your home.
Without it, falling down is pretty much likely to happen.
That said, here are all the Roombas that come with cliff sensors installed:
- I Series.
- E Series.
- 700 Series.
- 800 Series.
- 900 Series.
If your Roomba doesn’t have a cliff sensor, here’s a suggestion.
Don’t just use 1 Roomba if you have 2 or 3 floors at home.
This is especially crucial for older Roombas since their sensors aren’t as advanced.
Instead, it’s much more battery-efficient and safer to use 1 for each floor.
“My Roomba has a cliff sensor, but continues to fall down the stairs.”
In that case, here’s the universal fix:
#2: Get a Virtual Wall
The basic principle of Virtual Walls?
They keep Roombas out of any area you don’t want them to clean.
Put simply, you can use a Virtual Wall to keep your Roomba safe from your stairs.
Take note, though.
Virtual Walls use an invisible barrier that any Roomba can detect.
The minute it detects the barrier, it moves away.
Pretty neat, right?
And the best part is that a Virtual Wall is battery-operated.
You don’t have to worry about plugging it into an outlet.
It’s as convenient as placing one by the stairs and you’re good to go.
Now, if you’re not yet ready to buy one, don’t sweat it.
I’ve got a handful of fixes for you in the following sections.
But if you’ve tried most of the solutions and it doesn’t solve your problem…
You can always come back here and get your Virtual Walls.
#3: Clean your Roomba’s sensors
This has to be, by far, the most inexpensive way of keeping a Roomba from falling down the stairs.
Allow me to explain why.
But first, why clean your sensors, anyway?
Think of it like this.
Every time a Roomba cleans your home, its sensors also accumulate dirt.
The longer it’s left unclean, the more dirt buildup you’ll see.
Over time, this also blocks the signal from your Roomba’s sensors.
And as a result, your Roomba ends up whirling around like a blind man.
In addition, you end up running into several problems too like seeing the following errors:
Fortunately, iRobot shows the proper way to clean a Roomba.
And it’s to clean your Roomba’s sensors regularly using melamine foam.
Think of this foam as the same sponge you use for cleaning the dishes.
Melamine foam is far more effective in removing dirt and grease.
In other words, you could even call it a magic sponge, which quite frankly…
Is also the name it’s commercially given, or better known as Magic Eraser.
The biggest benefit to this fix is it takes you minutes to do.
Not to mention, buying a melamine foam sponge isn’t expensive at all.
“But how often should you clean, though?”
Well, that depends.
If your Roomba cleans your home 2 to 3x every week, then clean it every 2 weeks.
But if you’re only using it once a week, then every month should be fine.
#4: Remove your carpet
Quick and easy.
The only downside? No carpet rugs to cushion your feet on the stairs.
But wait – because there’s a twist to this.
This solution mostly applies to those who use dark carpets on their stairs.
And here’s why:
A Roomba thinks your dark carpet’s a cliff.
Try placing it on a carpet with dark borders.
In the end, you’re practically trapping and preventing your Roomba from leaving the carpet.
However, there are instances where your Roomba’ll think that your stairs are, well…
A continuation of your carpet.
As a result, it’s probably going to say…
“Oh, wait. That’s not a cliff.”
And off your Roomba goes to crash into its death.
Newer models, though, are much better at telling the difference between a cliff and a carpet.
However, older Roombas aren’t as smart.
So, take out your carpet.
And if you want to keep it to cushion your feet and in case your Roomba tumbles down…
Grab a light-colored carpet.
Or better yet, why not try fix #5 first and see how it goes.
You might also like: Does Roomba Work On Carpet? 5 Essential Tips To Prevent…
#5: Set an obstacle by your staircase
Now, don’t take this advice too literally.
A couch by your staircase isn’t exactly an obstacle.
It’s a big chunk of furniture that blocks your path too.
I’m talking about smaller and easily accessible objects like…
Now, this doesn’t mean though that you’ll have to set them by your stairs all the time.
Simply set your objects when it’s time for your Roomba to clean.
#6: Use a tall seam binder
Aside from using obstacles to keep your Roomba safe from falling down…
A seam binder also works perfectly.
However, most of these seam binders aren’t tall enough and so…
Your Roomba can still run over it and fall down.
So, it helps to install a carpet transition strip on top of your seam binder.
Then again, the best way to test its effectiveness is to do the following:
- Lay the seam binder by your staircase.
- Attach the carpet transition strip without the adhesive.
- Turn on your Roomba and let it run.
This will serve as a simulation of whether your Roomba runs over the seam binder or not.
It works for some models, while for others, you may need something bigger.
And as mentioned previously, an obstacle like a dark towel is preferable.
#7: Remap your home
If setting obstacles and Virtual Walls didn’t work…
You have to teach your Roomba a hard lesson:
Give it a factory reset followed by remapping your home.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Open your iRobot app (iOS and Android).
- Access your Settings menu.
- Tap “Factory Reset.”
- Wait for your Roomba to complete the reset process.
- Relaunch your iRobot app.
- In your app menu, select “Do a training run.”
- Make sure to do this 3 to 5 times around your home without any obstacles.
Similar read: 8 Steps To Fix “Roomba Error 15” In Seconds
#8: Replace your Roomba’s sensors
Okay, here’s where things get a little nitty-gritty.
Replacing your Roomba’s sensors is only needed when a factory reset doesn’t solve your issue.
And that’s because you might be dealing with a defective sensor.
First, you’ll need a replacement.
You can easily buy Roomba replacement sensors online.
Once you have the parts ready, you’ll need to dismantle your Roomba.
IRobot shows an easy-to-understand instructional video on how it’s done:
From here, you can remove the defective component and install the new sensor.
Take note, though.
This may take some time, especially if you don’t have technical knowledge on the matter.
Put simply, it’s much safer to have a professional perform the replacement.
Which brings us to our last and final fix:
#9: Contact iRobot
You’re free to visit iRobot’s support page, but to tell you the truth…
It’s better to contact customer support right away.
Now, there are 2 ways you can reach out to iRobot:
- Phone call: Contact 1-866-747-6268.
- Email: Send them a message on their page.
From here, you can let iRobot know about your current situation and all the fixes you’ve tried.
It helps to inform them of all the troubleshooting methods you’ve done.
So they can assess the issue more accurately.
And in effect, solve your problem a lot faster.
People also ask:
Can you disable Roomba cliff sensors?
You can disable your Roomba’s cliff sensors with just 3 items:
Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Cut your paper into small rectangular shapes.
Each rectangular shape should be big enough to cover the sensor.
Step 2: Attach tape to each cutout piece of paper.
Step 3: Place the paper on each Roomba sensor.
Related read: Roomba Stuck On Cliff: 7 Causes & Fixes
Do other robot vacuums fall down stairs?
Most robot vacuums today have cliff sensors, preventing them from falling down stairs.
In addition, these vacuums come with drop sensors.
What it does is it detects when there’s a drop from a certain height like, for instance, your stairs.
Put simply, it makes your robot vacuum smarter when detecting a staircase.
And inevitably, this allows it to stop by the edge of your stairs and move away.
However, older and outdated robot vacuums don’t have this feature.
As a result, they’re much more likely to fall down the stairs.