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How to empty and clean a Roomba vacuum

Your Roomba is the robotic vacuum to end all bot vacs. It cleans on a dime, and you can automate it to sweep on a daily schedule, integrate it with your Alexa ecosystem, and customize it in a pinch with the iRobot app. But let's not forget that all those scooped-up dust bunnies live inside your Roomba, taking up valuable dirt bin real estate.




15 minutes

What You Need

  • Roomba vacuum

  • Philips head screwdriver

  • Trash can

  • Can of compressed air (optional)

As part of standard Roomba maintenance, you should be emptying the dirt bin regularly to ensure optimal operation of your vac. Thankfully, the process is relatively straightforward and won't vary much based on the model. For your consideration, here's a step-by-step guide to emptying the contents of your Roomba vacuum, and a few other tips for keeping your bot vac in the best shape possible.

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Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to empty the bin on the Roomba e series, i series, and j series

While Roomba's highest-priced flagship vacs often come with an auto-empty dust canister and charging dock, a majority of the company's models utilize an internal dirt bin built right into the vacuum. When the bin is full, it needs to be emptied into the garbage. Fortunately, doing so is pretty easy.

Step 1: Press the bin release button on the back of your Roomba vacuum. This switch is marked by a trash can icon. After doing so, the entire dirt bin will slip out of the vacuum.

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Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Make sure to have an actual trash can beside you. Next, with the dirt bin in hand, press the bin door release button (also marked by a trash can icon) to physically open the dirt bin's door. Then go ahead and empty the dirt straight into the trash.

Pro tip: When doing this, try and turn your face away, or you may be greeted by a plume of detritus to your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Step 3: If you're emptying the dirt bin, it's also a good idea to clean your Roomba's filter.

With the dirt bin still in hand, simply grab the side of the filter and pull it out of the dirt bin. Tap it against the side of your trashcan to shake out any deeply-lodged debris.

Do not attempt to wash the filter. It isn't designed to take on water.

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Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 4: To finish, rinse and hand wash your Roomba's dirt bin to get out any remaining debris, allow it to dry, and then re-seat the filter.

Step 5: Lock the dirt bin back into the Roomba. That's all there is to it!

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Image used with permission by copyright holder

Cleaning your Roomba's brushes and wheels

Roomba recommends cleaning the brushes of your vacuum once to twice a week. While you're at it, it's also a good idea to clean your vac's wheels. We'll teach you how.

Step 1: Flip your Roomba upside down and pull back on the two yellow brush guard levers to remove both the brushes from your Roomba's chassis.

One of the brushes should have bristles. The second will have a series of small, rubber panels.

Step 2: With the brushes removed, go ahead and start yanking the excess hair from the bristles, rubber panels, and the yellow plastic ends of the brushes.

You can even unscrew the plastic ends to get at hair trapped around your brush's lock-in points.

Step 3: To reattach the main brushes, simply align the squared end of the brush's non-removable cap with the receptacle inside the Roomba and snap it into place.

Step 4: To clean the side-sweeping brush, use a Philips head screwdriver to disconnect it from the Roomba's chassis.

If you're having trouble yanking hairs out of the brushes, you can cut them with a scissor or utility blade. Once de-haired, go ahead and screw the side brush back in place.

Step 5: Your Roomba's wheels can get full of hair and dirt, too. Luckily, cleaning them isn't too difficult.

With your Roomba flipped over, grip the front caster wheel and simply pull it straight out. Remove any clumps of hair lodged inside the wheel's axle and stem, then snap it back into place.

Step 6: Press down on the side wheels to sink them into the Roomba's frame. Doing so several times will help to dislodge any large clumps of hair and other debris.

Keeping your Roomba clean is key to keeping a tidy home and maintaining the robot vac. Thankfully, as you've seen, these incredible robot vacuums don't require much in the way of maintenance – just a little love and care now and then.

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