How to clean a robot vacuum cleaner – revive your bot in 5 easy steps

Learn how to clean your robot vacuum's brushes, rollers, filters, sensors and exterior to keep it running at its absolute best.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Our robot vacuums live on the floor, vacuuming (and potentially mopping) regularly to keep our homes fresh for us. This means that, naturally, dirt and grime is going to build up.

Even the best robot vacuums require regular maintenance to be performing at their best. Letting dirt and wrapped hair accumulate will result in a loss of suction power, meaning your robot will have to do more runs of the house to achieve the same cleanliness.

Read on for how to clean your robot vacuum in 5 steps.

How to clean a robot vacuum cleaner

We spoke to Elizabeth Shields, operations manager of Super Cleaning Service, on the ins and outs of cleaning a robot vacuum.

'Each brand has its own way of designing and building its vacuums and that can affect how you clean and maintain them. For example, iRobot and Eufy by Anker are easy to use and clean with removable brushes, filters, and dustbins,' she explains.

Other brands might not make it as easy to access the different parts, but will make up for it by using designs that are easy to take apart and reassemble, or by including special cleaning tools.

'If you let dirt and grime buildup, it can cause problems down the line. So, try to clean it after every few uses to keep it working at its best.'

Samsung AI Jet Bot Combo robot vacuum cleaner

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Power off

Before you start any disassembling or maintenance, 'power down your robot and unplug it from the charging dock,' says Elizabeth. This simple precaution will help to avoid electrical hazards and accidents.

2. Empty dustbin

We all do this as part of our regular maintenance anyway, but it's important to make sure it's fully empty before cleaning the rest of the robot.

'You’ll usually find this compartment at the back or underneath your vacuum. When you’re done vacuuming, make it a habit to remove the dustbin and empty the contents into a trash bin,' Elizabeth explains.

'If you notice that there’s some residue sticking around in there, rinse it with some mild detergent and water. Just make sure it’s dry before you put it back in place.'

Many of today's robot vacuums, like the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1, empty themselves into the charging station. These will most likely be empty when you come to clean them, so might just need a rinse like mentioned above.

3. Disassemble & clean parts

Remove the rollers, brushes and filters. Many robots will be able to be taken apart, while others, while others will only have certain parts that can detach. Make sure to check the manual for instructions on how to do so (you can also find these manuals online at iRobot, Shark, eufy, Dyson, and Proscenic).

'Then, take your time to inspect them carefully,'' Elizabeth advises, as this is where you'll find trapped debris and tangled hair. Remove it all as carefully as you can using a brush or a robot cleaning tool. If yours didn't come with one, you can find them online, like the LAPEDASHOP cleaning set at Amazon.

If your robot vacuum doubles up as a mop, now's a good time to clean those parts too. Mopping pads can be washed with mild soap and water, or, if you want a complete refresh, some are even replaceable (you can find them here at Amazon).

Robot vacuums will help different filters. You can find out how to clean whichever type yours has in our guide on how to clean a vacuum filter.

LAPEDASHOP Cleaning Tools | $7.99 at Amazon

LAPEDASHOP Cleaning Tools | $7.99 at Amazon
The set comes with a bearings circular brush cleaning tool and a flat brush cleaning tool, to remove hair and debris from the brushes of a robot vacuum cleaner.

4. Wipe exterior

A robot vacuum coming out from under a bed

(Image credit: Getty Images)

'Grab a soft, damp cloth and gently wipe down the surfaces every so often. This will get rid of any dirt or residue that might be clinging on,' says Elizabeth. 'Never use any harsh chemicals or scratchy materials that could damage the finish.'

Before doing this, double check whether your robot's exterior can handle moisture. Most can as they're designed to live on the floor, but if not, use just a microfiber cloth instead and remove any visible dirt and grime.

5. Reassemble

'Put everything back together, and reinstall any accessories or attachments that you removed while cleaning.'

Once the brushes, rollers, dustbin, filters and all other parts are back together, give the robot a quick test run to make sure everything's in its right place. By this point, you should see your robot performing even better than before.

On the topic of robot vacuums, Samsung announced a new AI robot that can vacuum, mop, steam, and talk to your family.

And while you're at it, here's how to clean your vacuum if you're looking to do them all in one go.

Dan Fauzi
Home Tech Editor

Dan is the Home Tech Editor for Homes & Gardens, covering all things cleaning, smart home, sound and automation across the Solved section. Having worked for Future PLC since July 2023, Dan was previously the Features Editor for Top Ten Reviews and looked after the wide variety of home and outdoor content across the site, but their writing about homes, gardens, tech and products started back in 2021 on brands like BBC Science Focus, YourHomeStyle, Homes & Antiques and Gardens Illustrated.

Dan is based in Bristol, UK with a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Magazine Journalism. Outside of work, you'll find them at gigs and art galleries, cycling somewhere scenic, or cooking up something good in the kitchen.