Cleaning Roomba

The Roomba

Our Roomba is a well cherished family member. It keeps our house reasonably clean without too much effort. It's also quite a pricy piece of gadget (less than £200), and thus it's quite important that we take good care of it.
The Roomba reaches places that I couldn't reach with a normal hoover, well not without changing nozzles and climbing on things anyway. This means dust, and dust again. And hair, and hair again and again. If you put Roomba cleaning on the Max setting then she'll run till she's got no more juice, in time that means about 2.5h. No wonder she gets dirty.

A bit of a disclaimer

The procedure described below is merely how I clean our iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner. This is not some sort of God Almighty way of cleaning the thing. In fact, you should probably consult the manual instead of reading this. I however found that the manual didn't really describe how to keep your Roomba in pristine cleaning condition, so I figured it out myself, and this is what I've deduced so far. So, mileage may vary, read the manual, don't sue me and use common sense.

First things first

This step you're probably doing already as it's quite a no-brainer; Empty the dust container out, and clean the filter. Easy peasy. I usually bash the dust comparment a bit around to get most of the junk out from there. I then yank the yellow filter out and wiggle that around in the bin too, maybe a bit of brushing with my fingers and some blowing on it to make the room dusty again. that's the easy part done.

Roomba about to be cleaned, Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

As you can see Roomba is quite filthy now, so lets get started.

Opening Roomba up reveals lots of dust and hair., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Just by looking at the brush and the dust collected, you can see that a proper cleaning is in order. Note that dust in the gap above the brush.

The hidden dust

Roomba is constructed so that the brushes can move up and down, they're so to say lying in a caddy. Unfortunately this design allows for dust to trap between the top of the hoover and the movable caddy. To get the dust out of there, I usually slide a finger in there tilting the vaccuum up. I tend to get quite a lot of it out that way. If your fingers won't fit, try to make some sort of tool, but don't use anything sharp as you might damage something.

Roomba with the parts removed., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Remove the the guard, 'shovel' and brush to gain access.

The Brush

Pop off the brush-guards on the yellow pins on the side, and remove the brush along with the plastic paddle sort of thingiemajig (technical term from the manual - not). Use the supplied brush comb and cutter to get the hair off the brush. I usually find myself cutting the hair a lot, and then ripping it off with my hands. Thanks to my girlfriend I'm not short of hair to pull out from the brush.
I then use a pair of sharp scissors to clean the hair off the ends of the brush and the paddlemajig. When it's all hair free, I'm almost done with them.

Removing hair from the Roomba brush with the supplied tool, Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Use the supplied cleaning tool to remove hair trapped in the brush.

Showing the amount of hair that can be trapped in Roomba's brush, Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

This is how much hair was trapped in the brush this time; wonder if my girlfriend wants it back?!

Clean the ends of the parts by using a sharp nosed pair of scissors., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Clean the ends of the parts by using a sharp nosed pair of scissors.

The Bearings

Pull off the little yellow bearings off the end of both the brush and the paddledoohickey. Usually this will reveal a lot of hair trapped in here. I use the same scissors to pull the hair off the axle. For the bearing I use a toothpick that I've broken off to get rid of the sharp end. I poke and lift out the hairs and other rubbish that has been left in there till it's all yellowy and nice. You'd be surprised about how much can hide in that bearing! Not much more left now.

Use a toothpick to remove dirt trapped in the bearing., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

I use a toothpick that I break off to clean the inside of the bearing. You'd be surprised to see how much hair is trapped in there.

Reassembly and wiping off

I then wipe the underside clean with a paper towel sprayed with some soapy liquid. I usually don't overdo this part, but a good wipe feels good.
Now it's time to put the brushes and that nameless thing back. Then snap the guard in place. Turn her over, put the dust container back, make sure it fits tightly. Use another soaked kitchen towel to gently wipe off the top side. You're done! Not too difficult.

Wipe all the areas clean on the underside., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

I then wipe all the areas I can get to with a piece of kitchen towel and some cleaner. Notice that there's still some dust trapped between the top and the brush-mechanism. Tilt Roomba to get the dust out.

Roomba, almost clean now., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

Reassemble everything and make sure everything fits nicely. No violence needed.

Roomba, all clean now. Ready for action., Click here to view larger image (NaNkb)

I finish off by wiping the top of Roomba too. Now she's ready for another rummage around. Good Roomba!


It's not very complicated, nor does it take a long time to clean the Roomba. I guess this makes it such an easy task to forget or neglect. With all that dust gathering in all these moving parts, the Roomba is bound to enter an early grave if it doesn't get a proper clean every so often. Since I figured out how to clean her, I've started doing this more and more, now practically after every time she has been used. We really love this thing and want to keep it going for as long as possible.