Roomba cleaning: how to clean filter, brushes, sensors and wheels

how to clean roomba
A Roomba consists of several parts that you have to clean regularly. © Vacuumtester
In short: if you regularly clean a Roomba, the robot vacuum will maintain good suction performance and last longer. In addition to cleaning, you also need to replace parts in time. There are affordable complete iRobot maintenance packages, with which you get everything in one go for a thorough cleaning. View the prices here.

A robot vacuum cleaner consists of many different parts. For example, small side brushes, sensors and filters can be found in a robot vacuum cleaner. You should clean these regularly, so that the vacuum cleaner can continue to do its job properly. For example, if you do not regularly clean the sensors, there is a chance that the robot vacuum cleaner can no longer recognize obstacles and will run into them.

In this guide, I'll tell you all about cleaning a Roomba, one of the most popular robot vacuums right now. I discuss what you should clean, how often you should do this and which parts you need to replace every now and then.


Why clean a Roomba?

Let me start by asking why it is so important to clean a Roomba regularly. An iRobot Roomba consists of many different (small) parts that can get dirty quickly. Think of the screen of a sensor or a side brush that has to sweep a lot of dirt along the baseboards.

Failure to regularly clean and clean parts may result in degraded performance. It may even happen that the robot vacuum cleaner no longer recognizes furniture or that it can no longer vacuum at all. Common problems at a glance:

  • Roomba has reduced suction, leaves a lot of dirt
  • Makes more noise than usual
  • No longer runs smoothly, cornering issues
  • Bumps into furniture, no longer recognizes obstacles
  • iRobot Roomba stinks

Cleaning a Roomba regularly can help prevent many of these problems. In fact, it can even have a positive impact on how long the vacuum cleaner lasts.

Complete Roomba maintenance set

Get everything you need for a thorough cleaning. Your Roomba like new again!
🇺🇸 Available in the United States at and Walmart

Which Roomba parts to clean

As I just mentioned, a Roomba consists of many different parts that can get dirty quickly. The following parts should be kept clean and replaced on time:

  • Dust container
  • Filter
  • Sensors (Full dust container sensor)
  • Brushes (Side Brushes) and Floor Brushes
  • Wheels (Swivel Wheel)
  • Charging contact points (also at charging station)

Discover a handy step-by-step plan for each part.

Empty and clean Roomba dust container

A robot vacuum cleaner has a smaller dust container than, for example, a canister vacuum cleaner. It is therefore important to realize that you will have to empty it more often. Emptying the dust container is easy:

  1. Press the button on the side of Roomba to pop out the dust container
  2. Open the dust container door
  3. Empty it above the trash can, also gently shake it back and forth
  4. Click it back in the Roomba

If you have a Roomba with an automatic emptying station (for example, the new iRobot Roomba J7+), it is also important to replace the vacuum cleaner bag there regularly.

You can also wash the dust container with warm water. It is important to remove the filter, because it cannot be cleaned with water. In addition, it is good to know that the dust container cannot be put in the dishwasher. Do not use the dust container again until it has completely dried.

Cleaning Roomba Filter

Like any other vacuum cleaner, the Roomba is also equipped with a vacuum cleaner filter. To maintain low dust emissions, it is important to clean them regularly. Unfortunately, this is not a filter that you can wash under the tap, but you can knock it out.

  • Remove the dust container from the vacuum cleaner
  • Click the filter out of the side of the dust container
  • Gently tap the filter above the trash can

Because it is not possible to cleaning the HEPA filter, it is important to replace it with a new one in time.

Replacement Roomba filter

It is important to replace the Roomba filter with a new one every 2 months.
🇺🇸 Available in the United States at and Walmart

Cleaning Roomba Sensors (Full Dust Bin Sensor)

When a Roomba's sensors are dirty, problems can arise. For example, the Roomba is less able to recognize obstacles or a full dust container will no longer be recognized. Cleaning the full dust container sensor is done as follows:

  1. Remove the dust container from the Roomba
  2. Empty it above the trash
  3. Clean the sensors inside the Roomba with a clean, dry cloth
  4. Also clean the inside of the dust container with a clean, dry cloth
  5. Remove the dirt from the vacuum cleaner channel, pass the cloth through this too

You can also clean the other sensors with a clean, dry cloth. Pay close attention to dirty spots and remove them with care. Also don't forget to wipe the camera screen with a dry cloth.

Roomba full bin sensors
It is important to keep the sensors clean so that the obstacle detection continues to work properly. © Vacuumtester

Cleaning Roomba Brushes and Side Brushes

A Roomba's brushes have to endure a lot. They spin super fast and have to ensure that all the dirt that the robot vacuum cleaner encounters is swept to the suction channel. If the brushes become dirty, for example due to tangling of animal hair, the brush can get stuck or collect dirt less well. There are two types of brushes: side brushes and floor brushes.

To clean the side brushes you need a small screwdriver or a coin. Follow the steps below:

  1. Remove the side brush by unscrewing the screw
  2. Remove the brush and check for tangles
  3. Also take a good look at the Roomba itself; dirt can also be present there
  4. Reassemble the brush when it is tangle-free

It is smart to check that the brush is not worn out. iRobot recommends replacing with a new one at least once a year.

Replacement Roomba Side Brushes

iRobot recommends replacing the side brushes with new ones at least once a year.
🇺🇸 Available in the United States at and Walmart

In addition to the side brushes, there are also the large floor brushes. These can also be full of dirt. To clean it you can follow the following steps:

  1. Click the lever next to the floor brushes up
  2. Remove the two floor brushes from the Roomba
  3. Remove the two caps on the ends of the floor brushes
  4. Remove all hair, tangles and dirt from the brush
  5. Click the caps back on the floor brushes
  6. Slide the two brushes back into Roomba and close the lever
clean roomba multi surface brushes
You can easily click the floor brushes out of the Roomba to clean them. © Vacuumtester

You should also replace these brushes at least once a year with a new set.

Replacement Roomba Floor Brush

Replace the floor brushes in time, so that your Roomba continues to vacuum properly and does not scratch your floor.
🇺🇸 Available in the United States at and Walmart

Cleaning Roomba Wheels (Front Caster Wheel)

A Roomba has a small caster wheel that allows it to make turns. A front wheel that can no longer rotate properly can scratch sensitive floors. It is therefore very important to regularly check it for dirt. Follow the step-by-step plan below:

  1. Carefully click the front wheel with housing out of the vacuum cleaner
  2. Remove the front wheel from the housing (click system)
  3. Remove the dirt from the wheel and inside the housing
  4. Click the front wheel with housing back on the Roomba

Just like the floor brushes, it is important to replace the front wheel with a new one in time, if you notice that it rolls and turns less well. The wheel is susceptible to wear.

Replacement Roomba Caster Wheel

To prevent scratches and streaks on wooden floors, replace the castor wheel once a year.
🇺🇸 Available in the United States at and Walmart

Cleaning Roomba Charging Contacts

If an iRobot robot vacuum suddenly stops working and resetting a iRobot Roomba doesn't help, the charging contacts may be dirty. As a result, the robot vacuum cleaner can no longer be charged and will no longer do anything. It is therefore important to regularly clean the contact points of the Roomba itself and those of the charging station. You do this as follows:

  1. Clean the contacts on the charging station with a clean dry cloth
  2. Do the same with the contact points on the Roomba itself (next to the caster wheel)

Never use a detergent.

How often to clean Roomba and replace parts?

Now that we know exactly what you should clean, it is also interesting to briefly consider how often you should do this. In the overview below you can see exactly how often you should clean each part when you need to replace it.

BinWhen it's full
FilterOnce a week
Twice a week with a pet
Every 2 monthsView filters
Full bin sensorEvery two weeks
Front caster wheelEvery two weeksEvery yearView caster wheels
Side and floor brushesOnce a month
Twice a month with a pet
Every yearView brushes
SensorsOnce a month
Camera WindowOnce a month
Charging ContactsOnce a month

It is very smart to buy a complete iRobot maintenance package for your Roomba. With this you get everything at home in one go and it is often cheaper than if you buy the parts separately.

Complete Roomba maintenance set

Complete maintenance packages with all Roomba parts that you need to replace regularly.
🇺🇸 Available in the United States at and Walmart

Before purchasing new replacement iRobot parts, it is important to know which Roomba you have. In the article ‘Which Roomba Do I Have?‘ I help you find out which robot vacuum cleaner you have.

Cleaning a Roomba FAQ

Questions may arise during and after cleaning your iRobot Roomba robot vacuum. Get answers to questions you may have in the FAQ below. Is your question not listed? Please feel free to send me a message.

Can I clean the Roomba filter under the tap?

No, the filter is not washable. You can knock it out over the trash can. You have to replace the filter with a new one every 2 months. You can clean the dust container under the tap, but make sure that the filter is clicked out.

How often should I clean my Roomba?

A Roomba robot vacuum consists of several parts that need to be cleaned. How often you have to clean it depends on the part. For example, you should clean the sensors monthly, while the castor wheel should be checked for dirt every two weeks. In the table on this page, discover an overview of when you should clean what and how often.

Do you also need to clean the Roomba sensors?

Yes, you can clean it with a dry, clean cloth. Keeping the sensors clean will help Roomba continue to recognize obstacles.

Why is a red light on after cleaning?

A red light indicates a problem. If the red light flashes, there is an air leak or blockage in the vacuum cleaner. If the light stays on red, then the dust container is full or the dust container is missing.

Robbert Tigchelaar
Robbert Tigchelaar

Robbert Tigchelaar has made testing vacuum cleaners his life's work. He has dedicated himself to conducting fully independent and valuable tests of vacuum cleaners to provide consumers with honest advice. His expertise in vacuum cleaners has been highlighted in The Washington Post and the Daily Express.

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