Roomba Not Vacuuming, Picking Up Dirt & Hair?

Roomba’s clogged brushes, filters, a worn-out battery, or a malfunctioning motor are the reasons for Roomba not picking up debris, dirt and hair.

Is your Roomba vacuum not picking up dirt, debris or hair from the floor? I had this issue last week and it took me hours to find out the actual problem and fix that.

However, sometimes the type of flooring and the layout of the home can also cause this problem.

Reasons Roomba Is Not Picking Up DirtExplanation
Clogged FiltersRoomba filters play a crucial role in
capturing dust and debris. However,
when these filters get clogged, the
suction power of Roomba diminishes,
resulting in a decline in its cleaning
Dirty BrushesRoomba brushes are specifically designed
to effectively collect dirt and debris from
various types of floors. However, when
these brushes become clogged with hair
or dust, their ability to pick up dirt is
compromised, leading to poor cleaning
Worn-Out PartsAs time passes, certain components of
Roomba, such as its brushes, battery,
and motors, may experience wear and tear,
resulting in a decrease in cleaning effectiveness.
Low BatteryThe cleaning performance of Roomba relies
on its battery. If the battery level is low,
Roomba might not have sufficient power
to effectively pick up dirt.
Obstructions In The Cleaning PathThe advanced sensors of Roomba enable
it to effortlessly move around obstacles.
However, when the cleaning path is crowded
with furniture or clutter, Roomba’s ability to
effectively pick up dirt may be compromised.
Inappropriate Cleaning ModeRoomba provides a range of cleaning modes
tailored for different types of floors, including
spot cleaning and edge cleaning. It is important
to select the appropriate mode to ensure effective
cleaning of your desired area.
Dustbin is FullWhen Roomba dustbin is full, the robot vacuum
becomes less effective at picking up hair and
debris in your home.

It is important to identify and understand the root cause of the problem to restore your Roomba to its optimal cleaning performance.

This involves troubleshooting and testing, but by knowing the potential reasons behind your Roomba’s inability to pick up dirt, you can take appropriate measures to rectify the issue and ensure that your floors remain clean and free from debris.

Reasons Why is Roomba Not Picking Up Dirt?

Why is My Roomba Not Picking Up Dirt & Hair

There are several possible reasons for Roomba not picking up dirt and knowing them help us detect the exact problem and fix the issue.

 Here’s what I found during my research.

Clogged Roomba Filters

The filters of Roomba play a crucial role in capturing dust and debris. However, if these filters become stuck or clogged, it can result in reduced suction power, ultimately affecting the cleaning performance and effectiveness of Roomba.

The Dirt Detect™ feature built into Roomba helps to prevent this issue.

The Brushes Are Dirty

The Roomba brushes are specifically engineered to effectively collect dirt and debris from various types of flooring.

However, if these brushes become obstructed with hair or dust, their ability to efficiently gather dirt get compromised, leading to poor cleaning performance.

Roomba Has Worn-Out Parts

Over time, the parts of Roomba, like its rubber brushes,, battery, and motors, may experience wear and tear, resulting in a decline in its cleaning efficiency.

Low Battery

Like other robot vacuums, the cleaning performance of Roomba relies on its battery. When the battery is low, Roomba may not get sufficient power to effectively pick up dirt.

Dustbin Is Full

Roomba has full dustbin? No Problem!

If your Roomba dustbin is full and you don’t know what to do, don’t worry.

We have written another blog post on how to empty your Roomba bin, check this out to empty the dustbin in the correct way.

Obstructions In The Cleaning Path

Roomba’s advanced sensors allow it to effortlessly move around obstacles. However, when the robot gets an excess of obstructions along its cleaning path, such as furniture or clutter, its ability to effectively collect dirt gets compromised.

Inappropriate Cleaning Mode

Roomba offers various cleaning modes for different floor types such as spot cleaning and edge cleaning.

If the incorrect mode is chosen, Roomba may not effectively clean your desired area.

By identifying potential causes of Roomba’s poor cleaning performance, we can troubleshoot and troubleshoot the issue, ensuring optimal Roomba performance.

How Does Roomba Detect Dirt?

roomba on its cleaning job

Roomba robot Vacuum cleaners are equipped with  Dirt Detect™ Technology that allows them to work harder on cleaning dirtier areas.

The robot uses it sensors to find out concentrated particles in one area and activate the Dirt Detect feature.

The Dirt detect and Dirt event, both are different feature and often confuse people.

A “dirt event” refers to an uncommon accumulation of dirt found in a specific location which requires multiple cleaning passes. However, the Dirt Detect feature identifies and highlights these dirt events as small green dots on the Clean Map.

Color / IconWhat it Means
Light GreenThe light green color indicates the area
where roomba has already cleaned.
WhiteIndicates the area which Roomba didn’t
perform cleaning.
Dark Green DotsThese dots are the areas where
Dirt Detect feature was activated.
Home IconIndicate the location of the
Roomba Base station.

But, how do I know when dirt detect technology get activated on my Roomba?

Here are the light Ring color on Roomba models that shows the activation of dirt detect feature.

Roomba ModelLight Ring Color
500 and 600 seriesThe Blue dirt detect indicator light illuminate.
700 and 800 seriesThe blue dirt detect indicator light flash blue.
e seriesCLEAN button flashes white.
i and j seriesThe CLEAN button start flashing blue.
s seriesThe bin light flashes blue.

Where is Roomba Dirt Detect Sensor Located?

The dirt sensors of the Roomba are positioned on the left and right sides of the dustbin entry. They can be identified as the two rectangular blocks that extend on the dustbin cutouts.

The sensors are designed to detect dirt levels and adjust the corresponding cleaning mode. There is a power button on the top of the Roomba that can be used to turn off the device or restart it.

It has an auto-clean feature, which allows you to schedule a specific time for cleaning your home.

How To Fix Roomba Not Picking Up Dirt? My Proven 8 Ways

Roomba Dustbin is Full

If your dustbin is full, the Roomba will be unable to effectively pick up hair and debris in your home.

The most convenient method for emptying the bin is to first turn off and unplug the Roomba, then proceed to and empty its contents.

After you have emptied the dustbin, simply place it back into the Roomba and resume the cleaning process.

Clean Roomba Filters And Brushes

Clean Roomba Filters And Brushes
image credit – iRobot

Sometimes, all that stands between you and a completely functional Roomba is its brushes. If you notice your Roomba is not picking up dirt as it should, check its brushes.

You may need to clean the clogged filters and brushes to fix the issues.

Remove the filters and clean them thoroughly, or replace them if they are damaged.

Similarly, remove any hair or debris from the brushes and clean them with a soft cloth.

Choose The Right Cleaning Mode

Roomba offers various cleaning modes to cater to different cleaning needs.

To fix the issue of inappropriate cleaning mode selection, it is crucial to choose the appropriate mode for the desired cleaning area.

For example, the spot cleaning mode is perfect for targeting specific areas, while the edge cleaning mode is ideal for cleaning along walls and edges.

By troubleshooting and fixing any potential causes of Roomba’s poor cleaning performance, we can ensure optimal performance and a pristine living environment.

Replace The Worn-Out Parts

It’s quite natural for an equipment to get broken or worn out parts as it ages.

When Roomba’s components, like its brushes, battery, or motors, become worn out, it’s necessary to replace them with new ones.

Using authentic replacement parts is vital to ensure Roomba maintains its optimal performance.

For a better understanding, you should read our guide on how long does Roomba last.

Charge Roomba Battery

If the Roomba’s battery is not charged, it won’t have enough power to properly pick up dirt. Ensure that your Roomba is fully charged before testing its performance.

You should also check if the charging station or port needs cleaning as well, because debris can block the connection and prevent your Roomba from charging correctly.

Tighten The Vacuum Cleaner Wheels

If the Roomba’s wheels or bearings are loose, it won’t be able to move properly and hence won’t pick up dirt.

Make sure that all of the wheels are properly tightened before testing the performance.

If necessary, use extra screws or tighten them with pliers if need be.

Clear Obstructions In The Vacuum Path

Sometimes Roomba won’t pick up dirt because of obstacles that block its cleaning path.

Pick up any visible objects like toys, rugs, or cords and make sure that the floor is clear for Roomba to move around. (Check our blog post “Do Roomba Work on Carpets?)

It’s a good idea to periodically check the robot’s cleaning area to avoid any disruption in your cleaning sessions.

Test Your Roomba

After making all of these adjustments, it’s important to test your Roomba and make sure that everything is working as expected.

Run the robot on a clean surface for a few minutes and see if it is picking up dirt properly.

If not, you may need to repeat one or more of the steps above until your Roomba is back in top shape.

5 Preventive Measures To Ensure Roomba’s Optimum Performance

Now that you know how you can fix Roomba when it’s not picking up dirt, its also important to know what you should do to prevent this from happening again and ensure your robotic vacuum cleaner alway has optimum performance.

So, what should you do to prevent Roomba not vacuuming itself?

Do A Regular maintenance and cleaning

To ensure optimal performance of your Roomba, regular cleaning and proper maintenance are necessary. This involves cleaning the filters and multi surface brushes, inspecting for worn-out parts, and keeping the sensors and software of your Roomba up to date.

Declutter The Area Before Cleaning

Obstacles and clutter in the cleaning path can impact the performance of Roomba. To ensure optimal cleaning, it is important to declutter the area before starting Roomba. By doing so, we can enhance its efficiency and effectiveness.

Remove Obstacles In The Cleaning Path of Your Roomba

To optimize Roomba’s performance, it is crucial to ensure that its cleaning path remains obstacle-free. This entails removing any furniture or cables that may hinder its movement.

By doing so, we can ensure optimal cleaning efficiency without compromising its functionality.

Keep Your Roomba Away From Liquid And Sharp Object

The sensors of Roomba are highly sensitive and can be susceptible to damage from liquids or sharp objects. It is crucial to keep Roomba away from areas with potential risks to its sensors or other components.

Additionally, keep your Roomba away from areas where it could come in contact with items that may cause damage or malfunction.

To ensure a longer lifespan and better performance of your Roomba, make sure to provide it with the necessary care.

It is important to follow a few simple yet effective maintenance and cleaning practices.

Before cleaning, start by decluttering the area and removing any obstacles that may hinder the cleaning path.

Replacing worn-out parts ASAP

As time goes by, the brushes of your Roomba may become worn out and need to be replaced. The same is true for filters, wheels and other components that could wear down with use.

When replacing these parts, make sure to use genuine Roomba replacement parts so your machine can work as intended.

Why isn’t My Roomba Picking Anything Up?

If your robot is unable to pick up all the hair or excess debris, the most frequent cause is an overfilled dustbin or tangled brushes due to too much hair.

To fix this issue, try cleaning the different parts of the robot, removing any visible debris, cleaning head module, and untangling the brush. By doing so, you can ensure optimal performance and efficiency.

If you haven’t done so already, consider replacing or upgrading your Roomba. The new models come with improved cleaning power, better navigation abilities, and updated sensors to detect dirt and debris more accurately.

Additionally, they come with larger dustbins which are less likely to become overfilled quickly.

Replacing your old robot vacuum with a newer model may seem like an unnecessary expense. But, considering the improved performance, you will likely save time and energy in the long run.

Additionally, a new Roomba can help reduce outdoor allergens from entering your home. With its advanced sensors and suction power, the robot is capable of capturing dirt particles that are otherwise too small for traditional vacuums.

Ultimately, while it may seem like a hassle to replace your current Roomba with a newer model, the benefits are worth considering. By doing so, you can enjoy improved cleaning performance and reduce allergies in your home. And of course, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that there won’t be any more clogged-up dustbins or tangled brushes.

If you’re still unsure of which model to get, you can find a detailed comparison of different Roomba models on our website. That way, you’ll be able to make the best decision for your needs and budget before investing in a new model.

Why is My Roomba Not Picking Up Hair?

Vacuums may struggle with picking up hair, but they typically handle it well. However, as time passes, the hair tends to wrap around the brushes, obstructing the suction of fresh hair. 

To fix this, iRobot suggests cleaning the brushes twice a week when dealing with hair accumulation

Why is My Roomba Not Picking Up Pet Hair?

Owning a pet often means dealing with a considerable amount of hair, especially during shedding season.

While Roombas are generally effective at picking up pet hair, excessive hair entanglement can impede airflow.

Additionally, dry environments can hinder the vacuum’s ability to capture hair due to static buildup. To fix these issues, using a humidifier can be beneficial.

iRobot recommends to clean the brushes twice a week if you have pets.

Robbert Randy

Robbert is an expert in vacuums. He graduated from the University of Applied Science with a degree in Commercial Economics in 2019. He tests and provide troubleshooting tips to vacuum users on his website. He don’t do this for profit–he simply want to research the best models out there and share his findings.

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