Roomba Keeps Saying Clean Debris Extractors – Troubleshooting Guide

The Roomba robot vacuum relies on several moving parts to clean your floors thoroughly. Some of the most crucial parts are the debris extractors underneath the Roomba that pick dirt up off the ground. When they get dirty, the Roomba will remind you to clean them.

If your Roomba keeps saying to clean the debris extractors, start checking them. There’s likely dirt around the pegs and caps on either side of the extractors. Then, clean the cleaning head module. Besides that, the Roomba might need a reboot or a software update, or a replacement extractor if it’s damaged.

This guide will help you understand the debris extractors in your Roomba better. Then, in the following sections, you’ll learn how to clean and troubleshoot them thoroughly. 

Why Does My Roomba Keep Saying Clean Extractors?

When your Roomba displays or announces Error 2 and tells you to clean the extractors, that should be your first step. You must clean the extractors thoroughly before putting them back in your Roomba.

To clean your Roomba’s debris extractors, follow these steps:

  • First, remove the extractors from the cleaning head module.
  • Then, brush off any loose dirt on or around the extractors.
  • Next, remove any hair or dirt from the plastic pegs and under the caps on either side of each extractor.
  • Lastly, replace the debris extractor inside the Roomba.

However, if the Roomba still tells you to clean the extractors even after doing so, you’ll have to troubleshoot the device further.

Here are the most likely reasons your Roomba keeps telling you to clean its extractors.

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

Roomba Has A Software Glitch

What it is: Your Roomba robot vacuum is a smart device. That means the Roomba relies on a processor, several electronic parts, and onboard software to work correctly.

Like any other smart device, the onboard software could suffer from a glitch that prevents it from working correctly.

What’s likely happening: If your Roomba still tells you to clean its extractors even after you’ve done so, the first possible reason is that there’s a software glitch.

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As a result, the Roomba might fail to turn its extractors. On top of that, it’ll mistakenly assume that the extractors are clogged with dirt and repeatedly tell you to clean them even though you’ve already done so.

How to fix it: There are two ways to resolve a software glitch on your Roomba. Firstly, you can perform a total reset of the device to clear its processor and other electronic parts.

You can reset your Roomba by removing its battery for 5 minutes. During that time, any retained power in the Roomba will dissipate naturally, causing the device to reset itself.

After the 5 minutes pass, you can reinstall the battery and continue using the Roomba.

Secondly, you should always keep the Roomba’s software up to date. Be sure to download the latest updates, as they’ll resolve any glitches that exist in previous versions of the software.

Read: Why Roomba Brushes Is Not Spinning? Troubleshooting Guide

Dirty Extractor Caps And Bearings

What it is: Each debris extractor on your Roomba has a cap and bearings. These parts ensure that the extractor sits perfectly aligned inside the cleaning head module and can spin freely.

You can test these parts by turning the debris extractor by hand. When the debris extractor is clean, and there are no obstructions, it should spin without much effort on your part.

What’s likely happening: The debris extractors on a Roomba will get dirty very quickly. However, it’s easy to forget that dirt makes its way under the extractor caps and around its bearings.

After a while, the dirt buildup there can become so severe that it prevents the debris extractors from spinning. So, even if you’ve cleaned the outside of the extractor, its failure to turn will cause the Roomba to continue announcing the same error.

How to fix it: To resolve this issue, start by removing your debris extractors from your Roomba. Then, remove the cap on the extractor’s side. That will allow you to clean any dirt that’s built up inside.

The space underneath each cap is tiny, so that you might need a pair of tweezers or something similar. That will allow you to remove any fibers inside gently.

Don’t forget to clean the other side of the extractor as well. You must remove dirt from both ends of the debris extractor to ensure it can spin freely.

Read: Roomba Vacuum Cleaner Troubleshooting Guide

Dirt Buildup Inside Cleaning Head Module

What it is: The cleaning head module sits on the Roomba’s bottom side. Not only does it house the debris extractors, but it also has a motor that spins them to collect dust from the floor.

Like other modules on your Roomba, the cleaning head module is removable. So, you can take it out for cleaning, troubleshooting, or even replace it with a new one if necessary.

What’s likely happening: Even though you’ve cleaned the debris extractors thoroughly, there will likely be dust elsewhere in or under the cleaning head module. That’s especially true if you’ve been using your Roomba for an extended period of several months or years.

A severe dust buildup inside the cleaning head module can trigger the Roomba to repeatedly tell you to clean the debris extractors, even if you’ve already done that.

How to fix it: The cleaning head module is removable. So first, remove the Roomba’s bottom cover. Then, unthread the screws that hold the cleaning head module in place.

Once you remove the module, you can clear away any trapped dust and debris before reinstalling it inside the Roomba.

Read: Roomba Robot Vacuum Battery Troubleshooting

Damaged Extractor Cap Or Bearing

What it is: The extractor is designed to spin and remove dust, dirt, and debris from your floors. However, that free spinning is only possible thanks to the cap and bearing on the extractor.

The cap ensures that the extractor is mounted safely, while the bearing provides a smooth rotation of the extractor whenever your Roomba is cleaning.

What’s likely happening: If the problem persists even after cleaning the extractors, their bearings and caps, and the cleaning head module, there’s likely damage to the extractor itself.

More specifically, the extractor cap or bearings are damaged, preventing them from spinning. The most likely reason for that damage is normal wear and tear over many years. However, it’s also possible that the debris extractor was somehow mishandled, which resulted in that damage.

Unfortunately, when that damage prevents the debris extractor from spinning, the Roomba will interpret it as caused by dirt and debris. The device will trigger the same error and continue telling you to clean the debris extractors.

How to fix it: Unfortunately, you cannot repair the cap and bearing of a debris extractor. Instead, you’ll have to replace the debris extractor with a new one. Once you do that, the Roomba can resume normal functioning and continue cleaning your floors.

Read: Why Is My Roomba’s Battery Not Charging?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are a few additional questions and answers that’ll help you troubleshoot your Roomba and its debris extractors:

How Do You Reset A Roomba?

Sometimes, when your Roomba keeps telling you to clean the debris extractors, all you have to do is perform a  simple reset. You can do so by power cycling the device. To do that, start by removing the battery. Then, leave it alone for at least 5 minutes. Once the time passes, put the battery back in the Roomba to complete the reset process.

What Does Error 2 Mean On A Roomba?

Error 2 on a Roomba means that the debris extractors or brushes cannot turn. Roombas use this error code to tell you that the debris extractors need cleaning. Some Roomba models will beep twice when this error happens and also provide you with audio instructions on what to do.

How Do You Clean Roomba Extractors?

You can clean Roomba extractors by removing them from the bottom of the device. Then, brush away any dirt that’s on the extractor’s outside. Don’t forget to remove the cap and clean underneath that, as dirt also gets trapped within the extractor.

When Should I Replace My Roomba Debris Extractors?

You should replace your Roomba debris extractors once a year under normal usage. Those extractors may last longer if you maintain them regularly or use the Roomba less often than average. However, if the debris extractor suffers damage, particularly to its cap or bearing, you must replace it immediately.

How Do You Replace Roomba Extractors?

To remove or replace your Roomba’s debris extractors, turn the unit upside down. Then, open the plastic bottom that keeps the extractors locked inside the cleaning head module. Once you do that, you can remove the existing extractors and slide the new ones in without a problem.

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