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How to clean Roomba sensors

Jun 25, 2023

by: Jennifer Blair, BestReviews Staff

Posted: Aug 3, 2023 / 01:36 PM CDT

Updated: Aug 3, 2023 / 01:36 PM CDT

If you’ve ever wondered how your Roomba navigates around your home so successfully, it’s all thanks to its sensors. They help it detect stairs and other drops, so the robot can move around the house without taking a tumble.

But because these sensors come into contact with dirty floors, they can easily get covered with dust and other debris. When they’re dirty, your robot may have trouble moving as it should, spinning in circles rather than the neat rows it usually cleans in. Cleaning the sensors regularly ensures that your Roomba can navigate safely through your home, so its vacuuming is never interrupted.

A Roomba’s cliff sensors are on the underside of the robot along its front edge. The infrared sensors are beneath a clear plastic window that can easily get coated with dirt and dust. The exact number of sensors varies from model to model, but most robots have between four and six.

No matter where your Roomba’s sensors are located, the cleaning procedure for them is the same — and very simple.

Start by turning the robot over, so its underside is exposed. Next, gently wipe the plastic windows over the sensors with a clean, dry cotton or microfiber cloth.

In addition to a cleaning cloth, you can also use a cotton swab or sponge made of melamine foam, like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, to remove stubborn dirt on Roomba sensors. Don’t wipe too hard, though, or you may scratch the plastic and affect how well the sensors work.

When the sensors are clean, they should work as they’re supposed to and help your Roomba navigate effectively.

It’s not just your Roomba’s sensors you should keep clean. Its charging contacts should also be free of dirt and grime if you want your robot to charge fully every time it’s in its base. Both the bottom of the Roomba and the charging base have two silver contacts each. These contacts line up when the robot is properly seated in the base, so charging can occur.

To clean the contacts on your robot, turn it over to expose its underside. The charging contacts are usually located right behind the brush roll. Use a clean, dry cotton or microfiber cloth to wipe the silver contacts and remove any dirt or debris. As with the sensors, you can also use cotton swabs or a melamine foam sponge.

But those aren’t the only contacts that need cleaning. You’ll easily spot the contacts on the charging base when the robot is removed. Clean them in the same way as the robot’s contacts to keep your Roomba charging without any issues.

According to iRobot, you should clean your Roomba’s sensors and charging contacts at least once a month. However, it’s a good idea to check them periodically to see if they look dusty or dirty, so you can clean them as soon as you notice an issue.

It depends on the model you have. All Roombas have between four and six cliff-detecting sensors. They also have two charging contacts on the robot and two on the base. Each Roomba also features two internal bin sensors and inner- and outer-bin sensor ports.

If you’re still having trouble with your Roombas sensors after cleaning them, you may need to reboot your robot. Wi-Fi-connected models are easy to reboot through the app — just go to your robot’s product settings, choose Reboot and wait for the Roomba to do the rest.

You can also manually reboot your robot. For the 500, 600 and 700 series, press and hold the Home and Spot buttons for 10 seconds on the robot. For the 800, 900 and j series, press and hold the Clean button for 10 seconds. With the i and s series, press and hold the Clean button for 20 seconds. Once you initiate the reboot process, it usually takes just a few minutes to complete.

Once you know where your Roomba’s sensors are, it won’t have any trouble cleaning them.

And if you get in the habit of examining your robot regularly, you’ll notice dirt accumulating on components like the sensors and charging contacts right away, so you can wipe them clean before your Roomba runs into any issues.

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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500-, 600- and e-series Roombas: S-series Roombas: 700-, 800-, 900-, i- and j-series Roombas: