How to Clean A Roomba
I have a confession: my Roomba isn’t actually a Roomba. It’s a cheaper version, the iLife series 3 or 4. But it’s fantastic. I bought it for myself as a birthday present, and we’ve had it for about a year.
While my mom always eschewed practical gifts for birthdays and Christmas, saying they were more like tools for her job, rather than thoughtful, fun things she liked, I don’t mind if a gift is practical. If it makes my life easier as a stay-at-home-mom (and housekeeper, chef, chauffeur, etc.), then I am all for it. This one costs around $175, and it’s one of the best investments I ever made. It comes with a remote control to help you choose vacuuming patterns, and it auto-docks itself to charge when the battery is low (note: this doesn’t work if your vacuum is on another level of the house, obviously).
Once you have a robot vacuum, you’ll use it all the time. This one works best on hard floors and thin carpets. But it won’t keep working for you unless you clean it and take care of it. That’s where this article comes in. Here’s how to clean a Roomba, from basic emptying to de-gunking spinning brushes that ran through egg yolk (or worse).
*Disclaimer: Some of the links you see may be affiliate links. All that means is if you click through and end up making a purchase, I’ll earn a commission.
To empty the receptacle, push the release button and pull the receptacle out. Make sure to do this close to the trash can, because sometimes the dirt didn’t make it all the way into the receptacle and some drops out onto the freshly-cleaned floor. Shake the container to get as much dirt out as possible. Replace the container in the vacuum, pushing in until you hear the button click to lock it in place.
Cut Off Hair Buildup
The brushes that spin in the front of the vacuum and the roller brush both pick up hair (at least in my house). If they get too clogged with hair they don’t work right. To clean them off, use scissors to cut the hair. For the spinning brushes in front, you can cut them off just by flipping over the vacuum.
To cut off the hair built up on the roller brush underneath, you first have to take the brush out. My vacuum has a yellow, square plastic frame around it, with two clips that hold it in place. Lift both clips at the same time to remove the yellow frame. Slide one side of the roller brush out of its holder, and the other will follow. Then cut the hair off (this takes some effort). Once clean, replace the brush. The last side you removed has to go in first, the little peg fitting into the hole. Then the other side will pop in, and you can replace the yellow frame. A good time to work on this is at the same time that you clean the filters (below) because you have to let the filters dry anyway, so the vacuum will have downtime.
Basics of How to Clean A Roomba: Rinse Filters
If you take one thing away from this post, it’s that you’ve got to rinse out the filters. Not only does it help the vacuum perform better and suck up more icky stuff, but also it makes sure you’re not spreading that gunk throughout the house again.
It’s simple to clean the filters. Take out the receptacle with the dirt in it and empty it (see first step). Open up the container, using the latch. It should fold open, with two halves and a hinge in the middle.
Remove the filter. On my robot vacuum, there isn’t a latch, you just pull up. There are 3 layers, a screen, a foam pad, and the filter. My filter says I don’t have to wash it, but I do. I also rinse the screen and the foam pad. Then I let them air dry on a towel.
When they are completely dry, put them back in reverse order. Make sure they aren’t the least bit damp, because you can get mold buildup that way. I do not use soap to clean the filters.
Messy Cleanup - Taking Off Brushes
If you accidentally let the vacuum run through something wet, messy, or squishy (I won’t get into details about what this might be), you may have a problem. Ick can get under the rotating mechanical part of the spinning brushes, which means to dry it off and clean it properly, you need to remove the brushes. Luckily, it’s not too hard.
My vacuum’s brushes are each attached with a Phillips head screw. Turn the vacuum upside down, and use your screwdriver to loosen the screw. Don’t lose the pieces (toddlers like to help misplace things). Remove the brushes and the rotating part, then clean in the hollow where it sits. Depending on the mess, you may need to do more cleaning, rather than just drying it off. I dropped an egg on the floor while cooking and forgot my vacuum was running, so mine ran through raw egg. It was disgusting, but I’ve heard worse stories. Then you just replace the rotator, and the brush, and screw it back in.
Part of the Family
We don’t name our cars, or even our baby dolls (my daughter’s baby’s name is “Baby”). However, when my birthday vacuum arrived, I decided it needed a name. While both young lassies were all for “Lily,” my gut feeling was that this vacuum was male, and needed an appropriate name. We call it, Chris, after Chris Hemsworth. Because who doesn’t want to say that Thor is vacuuming her floors?
My 2-year-old lassie was a little terrified of Chris (still is sometimes, to be honest). He runs over her toes, but it doesn’t hurt. And most of the time, she figures out how to avoid it while it’s running.
I highly recommend you get a Roomba or equivalent, because it saves so much time and energy. Especially if you’re a working mom, this is a lifesaver.
For more mom hacks, read this other post at A Wild Lass.