Why is Roomba not Picking up Dirt like Before

Roomba Dirt picking
Categories : Fixing

iRobot website claims that Roomba’s suction power is no less than a standard upright vacuum cleaner. Yet, for several reasons, your Roomba might not be picking up dirt at a satisfactory level. Depending on your environment, usage, and maintenance, we will try to solve your Roomba’s failure to pick up dirt. Let’s dig deep to find the proper solution and fix your Roomba’s dirt picking issue.

Reasons why my Roomba isn’t picking up dirt

It may wonder you why your favorite robovac is leaving dirt on the floor while it was doing excellent cleaning earlier. Inasmuch as worrying will not do any cleaning whereas investigating will bring forth the cleaning perfection eventually by fixing it.

In the foreground of identifying the problems, you have to ask yourself whether you have spent a few minutes maintaining your Roomba or not. If the answer is yes, then how well you’ve maintained it. If you have left it alone thinking a robot vacuum knows its job and does everything by itself, you have been very unkind to your Roomba. Yes, indeed a robot vacuum is capable of doing all the cleaning by itself, but, it neither can clean itself nor can maintain it as it should be. The problem may arise like Roomba dirt is not going to the bin automatically. Thereupon, you have to clean it manually to secure its optimal performance. 

Brushes are worn out

As a matter of fact, your Roomba may perform poorly if the brushes are worn out. Upon using them on a daily basis, the brushes gradually get older and fail at picking up dirt. Even though the ideal life for Roomba brushes is six to twelve months, it rather depends on how frequently you use them. For instance, if you clean twice a week or even once, six months is quite short whilst cleaning twice every day will require you to replace the brush within three to six months. However, you must be checking the condition of the brush and replace it before it becomes necessary. Remember that the brushes play a vital role in cleaning and worn-out brushes will end at not picking up dirt, hair, and crumbs.

Hair or per hair is stuck to the filter

Hair is very knotty to pick up, not only for a robot vacuum but also for any vacuum. They may wrap around vacuum brushes and eventually block new hair and debris to be sucked up.  The robovac may eventually fail at picking up hair on the carpet. Although your Roomba is quite an expert at picking up pet hair, the airflow may be shockingly blocked due to the knotty hair which is wrapped around the brushes. Also, remove hair from the bearing located at the two edges of the brush. Slide off the bearings from the brush to remove all the old hair and put it back on. You may use a Robot Cleaning tool to remove or cut hair. A link has been provided for easy access.

Brushes are not Spinning Properly

Identically, a lack of maintenance prevents the brushes to spin properly. You may find your Romba brushes acting weird which can result in not picking up as well. Press the tabs over the brush and lift the back of your Roomba. Remove the brush, remove the bearings on each side of the brush, and put them back on. Now, turn your Roomba on and observe the spinning for a few minutes to identify if anything’s wrong with the brushes.

Clogged Air filter and Exhaust filter

If the air filter is clogged or worn out, the old debris creates difficulty in suction. Once the air cannot travel through the robovac, the suction gets interrupted. So, check the air filter as well as exhaust filter if there’s anything wrong with them. Alongside, if you recently own a new Roomba or don’t even know how to clean them, follow cleaning instructions from the owner’s manual.

Weak or Faulty Motor

You may doubt the power of the motor in the first place soon after the Romba is not picking up dirt as well. To assure you, suctioning performance entirely depends on the maintenance except for a few minor exceptions. We hope your robot is not among the minority we are talking about. However, we aren’t actually ignoring the motor performance issue. But, we advise you to go through all the cleaning and maintenance including the replacement of brushes and filters and emptying the bin. Prior to the replacements and cleaning, if your Roomba does not pick up dirt on a satisfactory level you should talk to the manufacturer so that they arrange a  convenient replacement. 


If the battery is demanding more frequent re-charging, interrupted power distribution may be a reason to initiate the problem. Usually, batteries hold less charge after prolonged use. In this case, try a new battery.

Rubber Skirts

The rubber squeegee located at the bottom of your Roomba may cause such a problem too. It must have been known to you that the pair of rubber skirts (blue in most cases)  help the robot concentrating on suction. They are essentially responsible for picking up dirt. So, have a look at whether any damage is there or not. They may also lose their focusing ability and ignore dirt.

How to fix

Have a System Reset

A system reset may resolve minor issues. At least, give it a try. To obtain the reset, put the Roomba unit on the charging base. Press the “Clean” button and hold it for 10 seconds until you see the blue text “r 5 t” on the display. Now, release the “Clean” button. You’ll hear a sound confirming a successful reset.  If you see any improvement, it’s a bonus.

Empty the Bin Each and Every Time

Apart from weekly cleaning and/or washing the filter, the bin must be emptied after each and every use. It may seem that the Roomba automatic dirt disposal is not working. Moreover, if you become lazy emptying the bin, the filter can be partially or completely blocked and the vacuum will fail to expel the air freely. This not only hampers the cleaning but also lessens the durability of the robot itself. We advise you to let your Roomba breathe freely.

Clean the Head Module

Cleaning is the first attempt to solve the dust pick-up problem of your iRobot Roomba. Take a piece of cloth that is soft and dry. Thoroughly clean the device, starting with the head module. Check each and every corner of the device and take time while cleaning it. Try to clean the device every now and then to have a smooth suction and cleaning performance. It is not that you only clean it when your Roomba is not picking up dirt, rather you should form a habit of cleaning it even there’s no issue.

Maintain Filters Regularly

Roomba’s recommendation is to clean both your vacuum brush and filter once a week, at least; and twice a week in case you love pets and have them in your house. Again, it depends on how frequently you use your robot.

Filter needs to be replaced after every 2 months of usage. In essence, the duration is merely a generalized duration that may vary depending on your use and environment. We will be suggesting you check them manually if there’s anything wrong with any of them.

Clean and Replace Side Brushes

In case the brushes are wrapped around either by your hair or pet hair, you must clean them manually, or else the old hair will be an obstacle to pass debris as well as new hair. Also, clean your Roomba’s bin sensors every now and then. Brushes are prescribed to be replaced every 6 to 12 months.

Wash Foam/mesh Filter

If your Roomba has a foam or mesh filter, dry cleaning will not be sufficient. Rather it should have been washed with water once or twice a month. Roomba containing  HEPA filter is required to be replaced twice a year.

Clean the Roller Brush

In particular, Cleaning the roller brush may fix the dirt picking-up problem. Roller brush may not function accordingly, due to the development of blockage. So, clean the roller brush using the following tool

#Cleaning tool link

Use a Humidifier

Cleaning performance may vary due to the build-up static, especially if the environment is excessively dry. In this case, your robot vacuum may struggle to pick pet hair. A humidifier may increase the performance a bit.

Clean the Wheels

Clean the wheels so that your Roomba can travel around every corner and pick up dirt, without any trouble.

Clean the Sensors

If your Roomba dirt detection is not working, you may notice dirt on the carpet. Clean the sensors of your robovac to ensure a sound performance.

Clean Accessories

Clean vacuuming accessories before they get blocked. Also, clean the plastic accessories with a dry cloth or plastic cleaner solution.

Final Word

The aforementioned solution will cover all Roomba 600 series (including Roomba 600, Roomba 650, Roomba 675), Roomba 780, Roomba 960, Roomba i7, and many other robot vacuum cleaners. If your Roomba is not picking up dirt even after attempting all the steps we have mentioned, try contacting the manufacturer. To seek help from iRobot, make a call to their toll-free number. The number is stamped on the bottom of your Roomba neighboring the battery. Since it takes time to get feedback by email, we suggest you call directly to their helpline.

In either case, if you are using an old model of Roomba which by all means performs poorly, neither the maintenance nor the prats replacement will benefit you at the end of the day. In that case, you will be needing an upgrade. Here is a list of some amazing latest Roomba which may fulfill your requirements.

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