Roomba Flashing Red Trash Can. How To Clean?

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Like many other devices in your home, the Roomba smart vacuum has several indicators. One of them is a flashing red trash can that comes on when the onboard dustbin is full and needs to be cleaned. So, how do you clean the bin and stop the red trash can from flashing?

You can clean the bin by removing it from the Roomba. Pressing the bin release button will allow you to do so. Then, you can empty the bin by shaking its contents into a trash can. Don’t forget to clean the full bin sensors, too. Doing that is crucial, so the Roomba knows the bin is empty and stops flashing the red trash can indicator.

This guide will help you understand the meaning of the red trash icon on a Roomba. Then, you’ll learn how to clean the Roomba thoroughly so that the icon stops flashing.

What Does The Red Trash Can Icon Mean On A Roomba?

The flashing red trash can symbol on your Roomba means that the dustbin inside is full.

Most Roomba robot vacuum models typically have a bin capacity of 0.5 liters. However, some might have slightly more or less than that amount, representing how much dirt can fill the bin before the red trash can symbol appears.

When that red symbol starts flashing, you should clean the bin out immediately. That’s because a full bin will reduce the suction power necessary for picking up dirt from your floor.

As a result, your Roomba will become less effective at cleaning.

When the red trash can symbol goes ignored, and the bin reaches its maximum capacity, the Roomba will pause its cleaning cycle. The robot vacuum will only resume cleaning once the bin is empty, and it can continue picking up more dirt.

Some Roomba models are compatible with the Clean Base docking station. So when the red trash can flashes on those Roomba models, the unit will dock with the Clean Base and empty its bin automatically. The Clean Base can hold up to 60 days worth of dust in its bag until you have to remove it.

Read: Roomba Keeps Saying Clean Debris Extractors – Troubleshooting Guide

What Do I Do If My Roomba Bin Is Full?

When your Roomba bin is full, and the red trash can symbol starts flashing, you’ll have to start by cleaning the bin thoroughly. However, the bin isn’t the only part that’s involved.

Instead, the cleaning process will involve:

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  • The Roomba’s onboard dustbin
  • Its air filter
  • The full bin sensors

Here’s the cleaning process you should follow when your Roomba bin is full:

Step 1: Clean the onboard dustbin

  • Push bin release button: Firstly, push the bin release button that keeps it secured to the Roomba’s body.
  • Remove bin: Next, remove the bin. Some dust might fall out as you do that, so be mindful of where and how you perform this task. It’s best to remove the bin somewhere that isn’t too windy.
  • Open bin door: On the bin, you’ll find that it has a door keeping the dust contained inside. Open that door only when you’re ready to empty the bin.
  • Empty bin: Next, turn the bin over your trash can and shake all the dust out. You’ll likely have to shake the Roomba’s bin for at least a few seconds to get most of it out.
  • Pull out stubborn dirt: Once you’re confident that the bin is empty, look inside for any stubborn pieces of dirt, dust, or debris. To clean the bin thoroughly, you’ll have to pull those pieces out.

Read: Why Is Roomba Not Self Emptying?

Step 2: Clean the air filter

Now that the primary task of cleaning the Roomba’s bin is done, it’s time to clean the supporting parts. 

Your Roomba robot vacuum also has an air filter attached to the bin.

That will be the next item you need to clean to optimize your Roomba’s performance.

Here’s how you can do that:

  • Open filter door: Your Roomba’s air filter is located behind the filter door on the dustbin. So, start by opening that filter door to expose the air filter.
  • Remove filter: Next, remove the filter from the bin. The manufacturer makes this step easy by adding a tab that you can pull to get the filter out.
  • Shake off debris: Then, take the filter to your trash can. You can remove the dust in the filter by shaking and tapping the filter on the side of your trash can. Again, be careful, as you might breathe in some dust that floats in the air.
  • Return filter: Once you’re confident that the filter is clean, you can return it to the dustbin, closing the filter door behind it.
  • Replace if necessary: While cleaning the filter, it’s also an excellent idea to check its condition. Filters should be replaced every few months, or when you can see that yours has become worn out.

Read: Do Roomba Batteries Need To Be Replaced?

Step 3: Clean the full bin sensors

After cleaning the bin and the air filter, there’s one more crucial part that requires your attention. Unfortunately, this is also the part that many users tend to overlook, usually because they don’t know it’s there.

The last step is to clean the full bin sensors on the dustbin and the Roomba unit. These sensors must be cleaned thoroughly, so the Roomba doesn’t mistakenly think that the bin is full, even though you’ve already emptied it.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • How many full bin sensors are there on a Roomba? There are 6 full bin sensors that you will have to clean. Please refer to the user manual if you need help locating and identifying all of them.
  • How do you clean the full bin sensors on a Roomba? Cleaning the sensors is very straightforward, and you can do it quickly. Just wipe each sensor and its surrounding parts thoroughly. You must ensure that the sensors and their immediate sections are free from any dust.

Once you’ve completed all 3 cleaning steps listed above, you can return the dustbin to your Roomba unit. You can do so by pushing it until it clicks into place.

Read: Why Roomba Is Not Turning On? – Troubleshooting Guide

Why Does My Roomba Keep Saying Empty The Bin When It’s Empty?

Your Roomba will keep telling you to empty the bin (even if you’ve already cleaned it) when its full bin sensors remain dirty.

Remember: your Roomba should no longer flash the red trash can indicator after completing the cleaning process described above.

However, failing to clean all 6 of the full bin sensors will trigger the red trash can light to keep flashing. 

Besides that, the Roomba may also flash an error and tell you to empty the bin, even though you’ve cleaned it thoroughly.

So, after you’ve ensured that each sensor is clean, you can then reboot your Roomba to clear the error. You can do so through power cycling, removing the battery for 5 minutes before putting it back in.

Read: Why Roomba Vacuum Side Brush Is Not Spinning? – Troubleshooting Guide

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are a few more crucial questions and answers to help you troubleshoot the flashing red trash can on your Roomba:

Will My Roomba Tell Me When To Empty The Bin?

Yes, the Roomba will inform you when to empty the bin. Firstly, you’ll see a flashing red trash can icon on top of the Roomba. That icon indicates that the bin is full and that you must empty it. Depending on your Roomba model, the unit might also play a chime or a recorded voice telling you to empty the bin.

How Often Should I Clean My Roomba?

Ideally, you should clean your Roomba and empty its bin after every cleaning cycle. Still, you can also choose to clean it regularly on a schedule of your choosing. Remember that the Roomba’s dustbin only holds about 0.5 liters of dirt. So depending on how dirty and dusty your space is, your Roomba might require cleaning more frequently than others.

How Do I Manually Clean My Roomba?

If you do not have a Clean Base that automatically removes dirt from your Roomba, cleaning it manually is still easy. First, remove the onboard dustbin and empty its contents into your trash can. Then, clean the air filter that attaches to the bin. Lastly, wipe all the full bin sensors on the dustbin and the Roomba unit.

Will Roomba Stop If Bin Is Full?

Yes, as the Roomba fills its bin with dust, it will eventually pause the cleaning cycle. The Roomba cannot continue cleaning your floors if it has nowhere to deposit the dust, dirt, and debris. The Roomba will resume its cleaning cycle once you’ve emptied the bin.

How Do I Clean Roomba Sensors?

You can clean the Roomba’s full bin sensors by wiping them with a dry cloth. Be sure to remove as much dirt as possible without leaving any behind. That way, you’ll ensure that the Roomba doesn’t mistakenly sense that the bin is full because of a dirty sensor.

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