Roomba Not Picking Up Dirt? Try These 11 Quick Fixes

Roomba Not Picking Up Dirt

Roombas are an excellent addition to any household. Vacuuming is usually regarded as one of the most tedious activities, and as a result, many individuals do not vacuum as frequently as they should. Roombas clean floors without you having to lift a finger, but their effectiveness may decline for apparently no reason like any vacuum.

If the filter and cleaning head of a Roomba gets clogged, the vacuum will begin to perform poorly. Many people overlook that debris needs to go someplace and accumulate over time. On the other hand, something is amiss if your Roomba is clean yet not working correctly.

We’ll go through the many instances in which a Roomba fails to clean an area or item adequately. If you want to understand more, we recommend that you keep reading!

Why Is My Roomba Not Picking Up Dirt?

Roombas are enticing bits of technology. They physically vacuum for you, which is a step toward robots taking care of many domestic duties, but we’re OK with cleaning now.

Even while a Roomba is typically well-made, it may have various issues, but today we will focus on the most critical element of one – its cleaning capacity.

In general, a Roomba performs well. It navigates a room autonomously and gathers up rubbish along the route if it isn’t too enormous. It should be able to take up common contaminants like pet hair and dust with ease — after all, it got intended for this reason.

But what happens when it suddenly begins to perform poorly? To start with, Roombas need some upkeep. They are not entirely set and forget. Although they are so sophisticated that they can charge themselves, they still need human care in the form of cleaning.

1. Brushes and Filter Worn Out

First and foremost, when dealing with a Roomba that isn’t picking up debris, ask yourself whether you’ve been properly maintaining it. The rudder brushes should get cleaned regularly to guarantee maximum functioning. If old material prevents fresh debris from entering, cleaning efficiency will reduce.

Hair and dirt might begin to wrap themselves around the brushes, requiring human removal. Until technology advances, no function allows a Roomba to clean itself; thus, it must get cleaned manually.

IRobot suggests cleaning the brushes once a week and twice a week for houses with pets. Brushes themselves should be changed every 6 to 12 months as well.

Another component of a Roomba that needs regular maintenance is the filter. While the vacuum is working, the filter’s role is to filter out all the dust and grime in the air. The vacuum must remove that air without all of the particles, so the filter is included.

What the vacuum is attempting to take up will just be moved about if the filter isn’t cleaned regularly. As a result, your Roomba may not be cleaned as thoroughly as you would want. In households with dogs, iRobot suggests cleaning it once a week and twice a week, much like the brushes.

Also, make sure you empty the bin regularly; this is another typical reason vacuums don’t pick up correctly.

2. Dustbin is Full

When your Roomba’s dustbin is complete, it will no longer pick up dirt simply because there isn’t enough room. To avoid this, be sure to empty the trash can regularly.

When the whole bin indication light turns red, the dustbin is full. Or if your Roomba stops moving amid a cleaning operation. To ensure peak performance, empty your trash can after each cleaning session.

3. Bin Sensors are Fully Covered in Dirt

Because of its sensors, your Roomba vacuum works properly. Its pair of complete bin sensors are one of its most critical sensors. These are the rectangles that stretch to the trashcan door. And its primary purpose is to notify you when the trash can is whole.

According to iRobot’s patent, Roomba full bin sensors detect dirt using piezoelectric sensors. It won’t be able to communicate effectively if these are banned. And may result in your Roomba not picking up any dirt.

To avoid this, wipe the full bin sensors every time you empty the trash can. It is as simple as cleaning the sensors and ports with melamine foam or a Magic Eraser. If one is not accessible, a microfiber cloth will suffice.

4. Bin Sensors Broken

The Roomba uses a collection of sensors to determine if the bin is correctly inserted, and those sensors may lose their accuracy with time. Your Roomba will display the Bin error if the sensor believes the bin was not appropriately placed or is in some other way not as it should be.

Fortunately, resolving this issue is simple, so keep reading to learn how. The bin should get installed again. When troubleshooting, it’s better to get any apparent remedies out of the way before moving on to more complicated issues when troubleshooting.

Poorly installed bins frequently cause bin problems, so try reinstalling the bin. Remove the bin and reinsert it if your Roomba model permits it. If your model does not enable you to remove the bin, make sure the lid is correctly closed. You may sand down the corners of where the bin rests on the robot with sandpaper, but be cautious not to harm the robot’s internals.

I’ve previously discussed how your Roomba determines if the bin has been inserted and how it does so using sensors. These sensors are susceptible, and because of their location, they often come into touch with dust and debris, causing them to get clogged. It may hinder them from identifying the dust bin effectively, leading the Roomba to believe you wrongly fitted it.

Cleaning these sensors, which may get found near where the bin makes touch with the filter, is a good idea. Remove the bin and wipe the sensor windows with a microfiber cloth to remove any dust or dirt.

Replace the bin and restart the Roomba to check if the Bin error reappears. The bin should get replaced. If the sensors are clean and the bin is correctly placed, but you still receive this error, the bin you’re using with your Roomba is probably not a legitimate component.

Non-certified replacement parts aren’t subjected to the same high manufacturing standards as iRobot genuine components, and they could not operate with Roomba or its sensors. If you recently changed the bin and are experiencing this error, your bin is probably not a genuine iRobot replacement component.

Purchase a genuine iRobot Roomba Dust Bin (view on Amazon), or search for an iRobot-approved emblem on any third-party replacement components. They endure more prolonged, and some come with a separate guarantee for the components.

5. Clogged Cleaning Head Module Gearbox

“I’ve already cleaned the brushes.” But my Roomba still doesn’t function…” In such a scenario, you might attempt cleaning the cleaning head module (CHM) gearbox. It might also get clogged with dirt and dust. CHM is in charge of the Roomba’s gears.

Gears, together with the motor, are one of the most crucial components of a robot vacuum. The state of the gears determines the brushes’ direction, speed, and torque. Its operation might be hampered if it becomes blocked with dust and grime.

Caution: When unscrewing the gearbox and cleaning its gears, use extreme caution because any flaw might cause your Roomba to malfunction or stop working entirely.

If you find that you’re not picking up direct because your head module gear is damaged, you can get a replacement head module gear of your specific Roomba model (view on Amazon)

6. Brushes Are Not Spinning Properly

Fibers, string, threads, and hair may get entangled in the brushes even when they are spinning, and the vacuum is operating, and they can also hide in the locking mechanisms that keep the rollers in place.

Keeping the rollers free is critical because stiff fibers might be pushed tight and cut through the rubber if they’re left in place for too long. Remove the rollers by popping them out; the frame surrounding the rollers opens with a squeeze of a level, and each roller is designated with a form to ensure proper reinstallation. Remove any tangles from the ends and untangle or cut anything impeding them.

7. Dry, Static-Prone Environment (Attracts Too Much Hair to Causing Clogging)

Roomba may not be able to pick up dirt if it’s in a dry, static-prone area, according to iRobot. You may either use a humidifier in the room to solve the issue. It will assist in humidifying the air and reduce static accumulation in any areas that may be affected.

In static-prone regions, another option is to utilize a static guard. Particularly on some kinds of carpets or rugs.

8. Vacuum Loses Suction

When cleaning rugs and carpets, your Roomba’s suction power should be increased. Ensure the appropriate vacuuming activity is set in the iRobot app if it isn’t. If you’ve got everything set up correctly, but it’s still not cleaning well, the brushes and filter need to get cleansed.

If you use it often, clean it once a week; clean it twice a week if you have dogs. Brushes and filters should get changed every 6 to 12 months and every two months.

How to Fix Roomba Not Picking Up Dirt?

1. Clean the Bin Sensors and Ports Clean

Because of its sensors, your Roomba vacuum works properly. Its pair of complete bin sensors are one of its most critical sensors. The rectangles that extend to the trashcan door are these. Its primary purpose is to indicate if the trash can is already whole.

Roomba full bin sensors employ piezoelectric sensors to detect dirt, according to an iRobot patent. It won’t be able to communicate effectively if these are banned. And it may prevent your Roomba from picking up any dirt.

Clean the full bin sensors every time you empty the trash to avoid this from occurring. Wipe the sensors and ports with melamine foam or a Magic Eraser to clean them. If you don’t have any, a microfiber cloth will suffice.

To clean full bin sensors, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the dustbin and empty it.
  2. Wipe the sensors and ports with a soft cloth.
  3. And then put the trashcan back where it belongs.

Keep in mind that there are six (6) pieces to clean. The package includes two complete bin sensors, two inner sensor ports, and two external sensors.

2. Remove Debris Stuck on Brushes

Hair strands may wrap around brushes, accumulating dirt on them. obstructing the doorway or impeding the rotation of the brushes. Because Roomba does not clean itself, any debris that becomes lodged on its brushes must be manually removed.

To clean dirt from Roomba brushes, use these steps:

  1. Turn the Roomba upside down.
  2. To open the brush guard, lift the slightly dangling tabs.
  3. Pull gently to remove the bristles.
  4. Take off the brush covers on the sides.
  5. Remove any hairs or debris that have been caught on the brush cap shafts. To remove knotted hair strands, use a scissor.
  6. Replace the brush bearings.
  7. Replace the brushes.
  8. And then retract the brush guard.

For best performance, iRobot suggests cleaning Roomba brushes once a week. If you have pets, do it twice a week.

3. Clean the Cleaning Head Module Gearbox

While unscrewing the gearbox and cleaning its gears, you must use caution because any flaws might cause your Roomba to malfunction or stop working entirely.

To access and clean the cleaning head module gearbox, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the CHM entirely by unscrewing it from the base.
  2. Remove the screws on the gearbox’s side.
  3. Remove the gearbox plate by unscrewing six screws.
  4. Remove any debris that has been lodged in the gears. Remember where you put the kits if you’re shifting them. If necessary, take a photograph.
  5. Reinstall the gears.
  6. Close the gearbox cover.
  7. And replace any screws that have been removed.

4. Empty the Dustbin

Once your Roomba’s dustbin is complete, it will no longer pick up dirt simply because there isn’t enough room. To avoid this, make it a habit of emptying the trash can regularly. When the whole bin indication light goes red, you know the dustbin is full. Or if your Roomba abruptly stopped moving during a cleaning operation.

Ensure to empty your trash can after each cleaning session for best results.

Here’s how to properly clean and empty the Roomba dustbin:

  1. Press the bin release button on the vacuum’s rear.
  2. Remove the dustbin from the unit.
  3. Open the bin door by pressing it.
  4. Go to the closest trash can and empty the contents.
  5. Remove the filter from the side or top.
  6. Shake the container to remove any remaining material.
  7. Go to the sink and wash the bin with warm water.
  8. Allow it to air dry.

Please keep in mind that the filter is not meant to get washed. So, mainly if you’re cleaning the dustbin, remember to remove the filter. Furthermore, not all trash cans can get soaked. Make sure you read your user handbook.

5. Clean The Filter

Filters, like brushes, should be cleaned once a week. If you have pets, do it twice a week. It ensures that the filter effectively filters out all dust and grime and assists in the creation of considerably cleaner air in your house.

Clean the Roomba filter as follows:

  1. Take the dustbin out of the vacuum.
  2. Place the filter to the side or on top of the trash can.
  3. Take it out and shake off all of the dust and debris.
  4. And then put it back in its appropriate position.

If the filter is not positioned correctly, the filter door will not shut. Take that as a sign that you’ve put the filter appropriately.

6. Replace Roomba

It’s also worth mentioning that if your Roomba is somewhat old, you could need to replace it. The original Roomba got introduced in 2002, so we’re talking about an over two decades old product when we speak about them. Over time, vacuum cleaners lose their effectiveness. The Roomba 675 is a good alternative that isn’t too expensive (view on Amazon).

7. Replace Filter

Change your Roomba filter every two months, according to iRobot, mainly if you use your gadget regularly. Replace the filter as quickly as possible if it seems “darker” and damaged. Roomba uses HEPA filters to filter microscopic particles such as dust, allergies, molds, and other contaminants.

Filters, like any other technology, have their limitations. HEPA filters lose around 20% of their filtering efficacy after 150 days, according to a 2020 experiment. When is the optimal time to change a HEPA filter?

iRobot, on the other hand, recommends that owners change their Roomba filters (view on Amazon) after every two months of continuous operation. It will be more prone to wear and tear as a result. But also any microbial development that may occur if bacteria build on the filter for an extended period.

The following are some of the benefits of updating your Roomba filters regularly:

  • You will not develop allergies as a result of it.
  • It will assist Roomba in performing at its best.
  • It will significantly improve the quality of the air in your house.
  • It will remove allergies brought in by your pets.
  • It will aid in the prevention of mold and bacteria growth on specific flooring in your home.

8. Replace the Filter and Brushes

According to one trial conducted in Beijing, a HEPA filter loses 20% of its efficacy after 150 days. “Do I need to change its filters every 150 days?” Yes, however, iRobot suggests replacing Roomba filters every two months.

You should also change its brushes every 6-12 months. It is especially true if it already has bristles. It will assist your Roomba in collecting more dirt and dust more effectively.

9. Get a Humidifier (To Fix the Dry Environment That Encourages the Pick of Hair)

Roomba may not be able to pick up dirt if it is in a dry, static-prone environment, according to iRobot. You may solve the issue by placing a humidifier in the room. It will assist in humidifying the air and prevent static electricity from accumulating in any potential spots.

In static-prone regions, another alternative is to utilize a static guard. Particularly on some kinds of carpets or rugs.

10. Stop Trying to Pick Up Large Objects

Your Roomba is not designed to pick up large objects. We recommend you use your hand or a vacuum cleaner for large things. Roomba autonomously navigates a room and picks up rubbish as it goes as long as it isn’t too enormous. It should be able to take up common contaminants like pet hair and dust with ease — after all, it got intended for this reason.

11. Contact Roomba

If you’ve made it this far, it’s because nothing else has worked with your Roomba. Last but not least, you may contact iRobot customer service. They could give you a replacement Roomba as long as the manufacturer’s guarantee still covers your gadget.

Prepare the following before filing a warranty claim with iRobot:

  • The Roomba robot vacuum cleaner.
  • Roomba serial number.
  • Invoice or receipt of purchase.

Note that if the warranty terms and conditions are broken, iRobot has the right to nullify the warranty. So, before seeking a replacement, go through their terms and conditions. You will save more time and effort this way.


Roombas are fantastic items that function flawlessly the overwhelming majority of the time. They are beneficial and enhance your quality of life if you dislike vacuuming manually but want clean floors. However, they are not entirely hands-free and must be maintained weekly by the user.

Cleaning the brushes and filter at least once a week (twice if you have dogs) or changing them after a specific amount of time is the cause of a Roomba not picking up. The filter should get replaced every two months, and the brushes should be replaced every 6 to 12 months, according to iRobot.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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