8 simple robot vacuum tips to help keep your floors clean without lifting a finger


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A Consumer Reports tester cleans dust from a robotic vacuum"s sensor. CR
A robotic vacuum can clean your floors all day long without your lifting a finger. One thing it can’t vì is clean itself. Hair, dust, crumbs, & other debris can build up inside the vacuum’s components.

Bạn đang xem: 8 simple robot vacuum tips to help keep your floors clean without lifting a finger

“It’s easy to lớn forget that robotic vacuums require maintenance, because they’re a set-it-and-forget-it kind of machine,” says Alex Nasrallah, Consumer Reports’ kiểm tra engineer for robotic vacuums. “But you should clean them once a week, or more often if they’re vacuuming more than five times a day. Otherwise, they might not clean properly or even start.”

In our labs we evaluate how well each robotic vacuum removes surface debris, lượt thích Maine coon cát fur & Cheerios, so we end up removing a whole lot of gunk from robotic vacuums. Every chạy thử requires a pristine appliance to lớn ensure that our results aren’t skewed by an errant grape stuck in the vacuum or a blocked sensor.

Here, our experts reveal the best methods for cleaning your robotic vacuum. We also highlight the top robotic vacuums from our ratings, in case you’re in the market for a new model.

Hair—of the human or pet variety—is the most common thing that gets stuck in a vacuum’s brush roll, side brushes, và wheels. “Removing any hair from the inlets và brush roll is especially important because it can block airflow, weakening suction power,” Nasrallah says.

Many robotic vacuums come with their own comb or blade tool for removing hair. But in our experience, it doesn’t always get the job done. “In some cases, a pair of scissors or a kitchen knife works better khổng lồ get hair out from crevices,” Nasrallah says. For tightly wound hair, a knife is your best bet for cutting it loose.

A Consumer Reports tester uses scissors lớn remove hair from the brush roll of a robotic vacuum. CR CR

To use a knife, place the robot on its back on a flat surface. Gently pull the hair up so that the knife can get under and slice through. You can also cut into the grooves of the robot brush roll, depending on the model. Once most of the hair is cut loose, you should be able to tear the rest out by hand. Hair can also get wrapped around the side brushes of a vacuum & cause them khổng lồ stop spinning và create a tangled mess with the bristles, keeping them from doing their job properly by not allowing them lớn sweep into corners và crevices. “To avoid that, remove the side brush—most just pop off—and pull out the hair,” Nasrallah says. If the brush is bent out of shape, gently straighten it. Some manufacturers may suggest other fixes; for instance, Eufy recommends swapping the two side brushes until they bend back in the other direction.

If these methods don’t work or if the brush is worn out, Nasrallah recommends getting a new one. “They’re inexpensive & easy to replace,” he says. Some manufacturers may even provide extra brushes in the box.

It’s equally important lớn keep the sensors on your robotic vacuum clean. After all, you don’t want it bumping into furniture or falling down the stairs because its “eyes” are blinded by a layer of dust.

First, find out where the sensors are located by checking your manual or going to lớn the company’s website. Some manufacturers have specific cleaning instructions. For example, iRobot recommends using a lightly dampened melamine foam, such as a Magic Eraser, lớn clean the sensors & the camera, if the vacuum has one. For most robotic vacuums, though, wiping the sensors with a dry cloth is enough. “It doesn’t need to be wet, & you don’t need soap,” Nasrallah says. “You just need to give the sensors a thorough wipe to lớn make sure they’re not coated in dust.” If stubborn dirt remains, you can then use a slightly damp cloth lớn get it off.

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If your robot is moving strangely, there could be something stuck in the wheel cavity or on the wheel itself. If the wheels can be removed, vày so và clean any debris you see inside the wheel cavity, và remove any dirt or hair from the wheel’s axle. Wipe the wheel itself before popping it back in. If the wheels can’t be removed, see if you can get out whatever’s stuck with a knife. Most of the time this will work, Nasrallah says. But if you can’t pop out the wheels, don’t unscrew the unit khổng lồ remove them until you kiểm tra with the manufacturer; doing so might void the warranty.

Our followers on social truyền thông media have told us their robovacs have unwittingly spread their sick pet’s vomit, and, sorry to lớn say, smeared dog poop all over the house. If your robot makes the same mistake, you should remove the dustbin & any other easily removable parts and wipe them down with a lightly dampened melamine foam sponge. Any noncorrosive cleaner suitable for electronics should work fine. If you need khổng lồ disinfect the vacuum, you can use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipes. You just want khổng lồ avoid using anything that might damage the surface material of the robot. Carefully spray a tiny amount of cleaner or disinfectant (no more than a single spray) on a sponge and wipe.

When wiping the toàn thân of the robot to remove dirt, use a slightly damp (not dripping wet) melamine foam sponge và try to avoid any small openings where water can get inside. You can rinse the robotic vacuum’s bin in a sink (or hose it down outside, depending on the mess). Just make sure it’s completely dry before replacing it.

Filters should be cleaned every five to 10 cleaning sessions, or about every other week. Remove it from the vacuum & gently tap it in a trash can lớn release any dust. You can also use a hand vacuum lớn clean the filter, or use a soft brush khổng lồ loosen dust (and prevent your hands from getting dirty) into a trash can.

If you suspect your filter got wet (say, it rolled over a spilled drink) or you can see that it’s covered in residue, it’s best just to lớn replace it. “Many filters are made from paper, and getting them wet will damage them,” Nasrallah says.

Best Robotic Vacuums From CR’s Tests

Here, listed in alphabetical order—not by rank—are five standouts from CR’s robotic vacuum tests.

How CR Tests Robovacs

Robovacs have become a popular choice for helping to keep a house clean, but how well vì chưng they perform? On the “Consumer 101” TV show, Consumer Reports experts explain to host Jack Rico how CR tests these handy vacs to find out which one is right for you.


Haniya Rae

I​’m interested in the intersection between design và technology​—whether for ​drywall or robotic vacuums—and how the resulting combination affects consumers. I’ve written about consumer advocacy issues for publications lượt thích The Atlantic, PC Magazine, và Popular Science, và now I’m happy to be tackling the topic for CR. For updates, feel miễn phí to follow me on Twitter (

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