roomba says vacuuming but isn't

Sometimes the Roomba says vacuuming but isn’t. It might move around the house, but the floor is still full of dust at the end of the cycle. Other times, it doesn’t even move.

We will help you fix the issue!

A Roomba that can’t vacuum might have an issue related to following schedules, the firmware being outdated, or being glitched. Alternatively, the problem could stem from some components being too clogged for the robot to perform its actions or the battery being defective, meaning the robot doesn’t have enough charge.

Investigating the correct cause of the Roomba malfunction might take some time. Still, it is easy once you learn how the robot behaves.

Below we will discuss all the possibilities and the steps you must take.

Roomba Says Vacuuming But Isn’t – Reasons 

reason why roomba says vacuuming but isn't

Sometimes a Roomba might fail to do its job. Moreover, it can send false alerts or notifications.

One of those is when the Roomba says vacuuming but is not moving.

There could be different causes for such behavior, and we nailed them down to these:

Defective Mechanism

If a mechanism responsible for making the Roomba move or collect dust does not work, it won’t be able to clean around your house.

Clogged Robot

If some components on your Roomba robot are clogged, the robot will not be able to pick up debris and dust as it should.

Not Enough Charge

You must check if the robot has enough battery to do its functions. Sometimes the battery alert glitches and won’t let you know the robot needs charging.

An Issue With the Schedules

Sometimes, the robot cannot follow a schedule, which will cause it to stay still or move around without cleaning.

How To Fix A Roomba That Doesn’t Vacuum

how fix roomba says vacuuming but isn't

You must be curious about what is causing the Roomba’s odd behavior. But even more, you are probably eager to fix it and get the robot back on track.

We will list many solutions below, and one will undoubtedly succeed in making the robot vacuum again.

1. Manage The Schedules

Are you using schedules to control when your Roomba robot ought to clean the house?

In that case, it is worth checking the app and the schedules to see if you can solve the problem in a few clicks.

So here is what you will do:

  1. Hold “Schedule”;
  2. Press “Day” to cycle through the set schedules;
  3. Hold “Day” when it shows a schedule you want to delete.

Delete the schedule that has presented issues. For example, if no schedule works, you might want to delete all of them. 

Test The Robot Without Schedules

test robot without the schedules

Alternatively, you might try putting the robot to work without a schedule.

That will tell you whether the problem relates to the app’s settings or has a different cause.

  1. Remove the Roomba from the base station;
  2. Turn it on;
  3. Press the “Clean” button.
Note: If the Clean button has a swirling red right, the dustbin is full. 

2. Check The Cleaning Components

The first piece of hardware you will check on your Roomba robot is the brushes to check if they can collect dust.

Here is how you do that:

check the cleaning components
  1. Turn the robot upside down;
  2. Open the cleaning head module;
  3. Remove the brushes carefully;
  4. Clean any debris that is inside the brushes container;

Next, it is time to see how the brushes look. They might only be dirty, so you must get them underwater and rinse them thoroughly. 

Note: However, if they seem damaged from collecting too much dirt, it is time to buy new brushes for replacement.

Check The Dustbin And Filter

Depending on which Roomba model you have, the dustbin usually empties itself on the base station.

However, even if the dustbin is empty, the filter might be full of dust. In that case, the vacuuming capacity is decreased.

  1. Remove the dustbin from your robot;
  2. Detach the filter;
  3. Clean the filter (wash it if it is a washable model);
  4. Wash the dustbin, too, if possible;
  5. Wipe the robot’s insides.

When reassembling all components, check if the dustbin fits well. If it is a bit lose, that could cause the robot to not recognize the dustbin and then send false notifications/alerts. 

Note: If the dustbin doesn't fit well, you could use a bit of paper to fill the gap. However, if the dustbin looks damaged, it is best to buy a replacement.

3. Clean The Base And Robot

clean base and the robot

Since the Roomba is a device that helps you clean the house, it must remain clean too.

Here is what you must do to fix the issue at hand and also prevent further problems that stem from accumulated dirt:

  1. Detach all that is detachable from the robot;
  2. Wipe all the dust with a soft cloth (on the robot and base);
  3. If necessary, use a toothbrush to scrub the wheels;
  4. If you have detached the dustbin and battery, clean the robot’s insides;
  5. Use rubbing alcohol to get rid of any stubborn dirt.

You must notice that your robot has some sensors. Those help it navigate your house and check when the dustbin is full.

They must remain spotless so the robot can work as intended.

4. Examine The Battery

If cleaning the robot hasn’t helped solve the problem, the next culprit you must consider is the battery and the charging contacts.

examine roomba battery

When you clean the robot, you must ensure you clean them well so the device can always charge fully.

Next, let’s see about the battery:

  1. Turn the robot upside down;
  2. Remove the battery cover (you must remove the screws first);
  3. Carefully detach the battery;
  4. Clean the battery compartment.

What To Do Next?

Once you have the battery in your hands, it is time to check its condition. For example, it could be burned or show signs of leakage.

It could also be a bit deformed, which would be just as bad.

After examining, do one of the following:

  • Buy a new battery if the old one looks bad;
  • Put the battery again and ensure that it connects correctly;
  • Test with a different battery to learn whether the old battery is dying.

5. Update The Firmware

update robot firmware

Once you have eliminated all hardware suspicions, it is time to look at the firmware.

Although the Roomba should update automatically when connected to the internet, it might have skipped an important bug fix.

Do the following:

  1. Open the iRobot HOME App 
  2. Select More 
  3. Click Settings 
  4. Choose About (robot name)

Is an update available for your Roomba? Then download it and wait for the robot to restart.

Once it restarts, try putting it in to vacuum again.

6. Reset The Robot

reset roomba robot

Perhaps no update is available for your robot, but it keeps saying it is vacuuming when it isn’t. Then, it is time to try resetting it.

Some Roomba models can be soft reset, which means the system will refresh itself, and all the functions should be re-established.

Soft reset the Roomba S, I, and 900 series:

  1. Hold the “Spot Clean,” “Home,” and “Clean” buttons together;
  2. Wait for the light around “Clean” to swirl;
  3. A light ring indicates you can release the buttons;
  4. Wait for the Roomba to restart.

Soft reset the Roomba 800 and 600 series:

  1. Hold the “Home,” “Spot Clean,” and “Clean” buttons together;
  2. Pay attention to the beeping sound;
  3. Let go of the buttons.

Hard Reset The Roomba

It might also be necessary to hard reset the Roomba robot. A hard reset will erase all of your configurations associated with the device.

Here are the steps:

hard reset the roomba
  1. Ensure your phone and Roomba are on the same Wi-Fi;
  2. Open the iRobot HOME app;
  3. Tap “Settings”;
  4. Choose “Remove/Factory Reset.”

Add The Robot Again

Next, you might want to test if the robot will clean.

Then, add it to the app again:

  1. Select “Add your product”;
  2. Choose the correct model;
  3. Connect to a network supported by your model;
  4. Follow the prompts.

What We Learned

It is undoubtedly odd when the Roomba says vacuuming but isn’t. Fortunately, it is easy to fix the issue.

There are two ways of facing it: the problem is either hardware- or software-related.

The guide above has all the information you need to get through the situation.

Read Next: Roomba Schedule Not Working?

Nicole B