Roomba robot vacuums are intelligent devices that clean your home automatically. That’s why it can be pretty confusing when these devices don’t behave so smartly. For example, why would your Roomba fail to start cleaning, even if it’s actively moving around your home?
Firstly, your Roomba might not start cleaning because it’s performing a Mapping Run to understand the layout of your home. Besides that, a full bin, clogged brushes or extractors, and a software glitch can also prevent the unit from starting its cleaning cycle. To fix it, let the Roomba complete its Mapping Run, clean its bin and brushes, and remember to update the unit’s software when possible.
A Roomba that refuses to start cleaning can be pretty confusing at first glance. Still, there’s nothing to worry about. So instead, this guide will walk you through the most likely reasons and how to fix them yourself.
Why Won’t My Roomba Start Cleaning?
Your Roomba won’t begin cleaning if it’s on a mapping run, has a full bin, suffers from a clog, or has software issues. Thankfully, resolving any of these issues is pretty straightforward.
This section dives into each of those likely causes and their individual solutions.
The Roomba Is On A Mapping Run
What it is: Your Roomba unit has a unique feature called a Mapping Run. The Roomba will explore your home to understand its layout when the feature is active. As a result, the Roomba can plan its cleaning sessions better and work more efficiently to clean your space.
The problem: When your Roomba performs a Mapping Run, its vacuum motor is disabled to save battery power. That way, the Roomba can explore more space in your home without returning to its home base to recharge.
In other words, you’ll see your Roomba continue to move around even though it never starts cleaning.
How to solve it: The best thing you can do when your Roomba is performing a Mapping Run is to let it continue uninterrupted. That way, the Roomba can spend less time mapping the spaces it’ll clean.
Let’s suppose you’ve assigned your Roomba to clean a space that’s larger than average. In that case, it’ll take much longer for it to complete the Mapping Run. The Roomba might have to recharge halfway through before continuing the rest of the Mapping run.
Whatever the case, you must let the Roomba work without any interruptions.
The sooner your Roomba finishes the Mapping Run, the sooner it’ll start cleaning your floors.
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The Roomba Has A Full Bin
What it is: When your Roomba cleans your floors, its brushes and extractors will collect dust and debris. Then, everything collected is deposited inside the onboard bin, where it’ll stay contained.
You can quickly clean the bin by removing it from the Roomba and emptying its contents into the trash.
The problem: The Roomba robot vacuum offers plenty of convenience because it cleans your home automatically. Unfortunately, that also means it can be hard to track how much dust or debris it picks up while cleaning.
When that onboard bin gets full, the Roomba will pause its cleaning activities. It will not start cleaning again until you empty the bin.
How to solve it: To solve this issue, remove the bin from your Roomba. Then, be sure to empty all the dust and debris inside.
Before putting the bin back in your Roomba, you must use a dry cloth to wipe the full bin sensors and ports. There are 6 inner and outer full bin sensors and ports that require your attention.
If those sensors stay dirty, the Roomba will mistakenly think that the bin is still full. That will prevent the vacuum from resuming its regular cleaning activities.
You can refer to the user manual for help in identifying and locating each of those full bin sensors.
The Roomba’s Brushes Or Extractors Are Clogged
What it is: Each Roomba unit relies on several brushes and extractors to clean your floor. As it passes over the floor, these parts will spin to agitate and collect dust, debris, and other small objects in its path.
As long as the brushes and extractors are spinning as they should, the Roomba will have no problems performing its cleaning activities.
The problem: The Roomba’s spinning brushes and extractors have no problems dealing with loose dust and debris particles.
Unfortunately, long strands of dust and hair will wrap themselves around these parts. Over an extended period, those strands will form buildups that worsen over time.
When the buildup becomes severe enough, the brushes and extractors won’t turn at all. That will prevent the Roomba from starting any new cleaning cycles.
How to solve it: You will have to remove all of the Roomba’s brushes and extractors from the unit. You can start by unscrewing the corner brush to remove it from the Roomba.
Then, remove the brushes or extractors that are in the cleaning head module at the center of the Roomba’s underside.
First, try to remove as much dirt as possible from those brushes and extractors by hand. Then, you’ll need a blade or a pair of scissors to cut through the buildup that’s wrapped around those parts.
When cutting through, be careful not to cut the bristles or rubber fins on the brushes or extractors.
With all the built-up dust and debris removed, give each part a final wipedown and reattach them to the Roomba.
The Roomba Has Software Issues
What it is: The Roomba robot vacuum is a smart device. It relies on electronic parts and onboard software to understand your home’s layout and plan the most efficient cleaning routes possible.
Occasionally, you’ll have to update the Roomba’s software to fix previous known issues and to keep it functioning as efficiently as possible.
The problem: Like any other smart device you might own, your Roomba may suffer from a software glitch that prevents it from working correctly. In this case, the software glitch could prevent the Roomba from starting to clean your home like it usually does.
How to solve it: To clear any possible software glitches, reboot your Roomba. You can remove the onboard battery for 2 minutes before putting it back in. Doing that will allow the Roomba to reset itself.
Once you’ve done that, check for any software updates you haven’t downloaded. Software updates fix any known issues that might be causing problems for your Roomba.
Those updates also include software improvements that prevent future problems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few additional questions that you might find helpful when troubleshooting your Roomba.
Why Won’t My Roomba Wake Up?
Your Roomba won’t wake up if its battery is not recharged or has failed. So firstly, check that the home base receives power from a wall socket. Without that, it can’t charge the Roomba’s battery when docked. Besides that, inspect the Roomba’s battery. Old or damaged batteries won’t store power, so you’ll have to replace them.
How Do I Reset My Roomba?
You can reset your Roomba through power cycling, which effectively means turning it off and then on again. However, you must remove the Roomba’s power source for several minutes to do that effectively.
Start by laying the Roomba upside down so you can remove its bottom cover. Then, pull the battery out and set it aside for at least 2 minutes. During that time, any power in the Roomba will dissipate, clearing its memory and resetting the entire device.
Then, slide the battery back in and replace the bottom cover. Finally, the reset process is complete.
Is There A Reset Button On Roomba?
No, there is no dedicated reset button on a Roomba. However, you can reset it by pressing and holding the CLEAN button for 20 seconds. Release the button after that time passes. You’ll know you did it correctly if you see the white light ring around the lid swirling clockwise.
How Do You Manually Start A Roomba?
The Roomba vacuum typically starts cleaning automatically. However, you can start it manually by pressing the CLEAN button once to wake it up and one more time to begin a new cleaning cycle.
How Many Years Does A Roomba Last?
A well-maintained Roomba will last anywhere from 2-6 years. However, a Roomba battery will last between 1 and 2 years. As your Roomba and its battery get older, you can expect more issues to emerge. Regular cleaning and maintenance will delay those problems and maximize the Roomba’s useful lifespan.