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[10 ways to fix] Roomba Keeps Cleaning The Same Area

You buy a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner with high hopes of automating the cleaning chores of your house. But if your Roomba keeps cleaning the same area or keeps spinning in circles, you may start to wonder, that’s not what it was supposed to do. 

The following listed reasons might be the ones that are causing your Roomba to clean the same area or spin in circles. In this article, you will get to know how to keep your Roomba working properly without spinning in circles. You will also be able to make your Roomba clean the whole house instead of cleaning the same area time and again.

Why Does My Roomba Keep Cleaning The Same Area or Spinning In Circles?

roomba keeps cleaning the same area and going in circles

A robot vacuum cleaner cleaning the same area or doing circle dance will surely take forever to clean the whole house. So, take note of the following reasons that might be causing your Roomba to act drunk.

1. Roomba mapping the area

One possible reason for your Roomba cleaning the same spot might be that it is still mapping your room. Newer models of Roomba vacuum cleaners map your house floors and store the map in their memory. This helps them avoid furniture and other obstacles while cleaning. 

Does Roomba clean randomly? Some older models of Roomba, 500 and 600 series, clean in random patterns. Newer models of Roomba, i series, clean your home in neat, straight lines.

2. Stuck bumper

One of the main reasons why your Roomba keeps going in the same area or going in circles is that the Roomba bumper might be stuck. 

The bumper contains touch and light sensors that help Roomba to navigate around. 

If dirt, dust, fluff and hair strands are accumulated in the bumper, they will make the bumper stuck. 

3. Dirty Sensors

Roomba vacuum cleaners have multiple sensors that help in navigation. If dust is accumulated on these sensors, Roomba will find it difficult to navigate around your room. 

Cliff sensors enable Roomba to avoid stairs and other edges. If these sensors are dirty, your Roomba will not be able to recognize obstructions properly. 

If your Roomba misinterprets something to be a cliff or edge, it will avoid that area. 

4. Wheels malfunctioning

Another possible reason for Roomba going in circles is a malfunctioning or stuck wheel. Again the accumulated dirt and dust will be the culprit here that will jam the wheel. A malfunctioning or stuck wheel will make Roomba do the circle dance and keep cleaning the same area again and again. 

Hair strands clogged up in the axle of the wheel will make it jam if not cleaned over time

5. Cleaned one room and doesn’t know where to go next

Your Roomba vacuum cleaner cleaning the same area might be because it has cleaned one room and doesn’t know where to go next. Older models of Roomba vacuum cleaners don’t have mapping features so they cannot navigate from one room to the other. You will have to manually pick up the Roomba and place it in another room to start cleaning. 

6. Roomba got stuck

Another reason for Roomba cleaning the same area or spinning in circles might be that the Roomba is stuck. Roomba can get stuck mostly under furniture – couch, bed or dining table. And in an attempt to find its way out of there, it will go in circles. 

In this situation, you will need to pull the Roomba out manually so that it starts cleaning the whole house.

7. Virtual wall placement

Virtual wall restricts Roomba from going into a certain area or leaving a certain room. If you have placed a virtual wall at the entrance of your room, your Roomba, after cleaning the whole room, will not be able to leave that room to clean the whole house. In this situation, you will have to remove the virtual wall to let the Roomba clean the whole house. 

8. Presence of dark area rug or carpet

One fact you should be aware of is that the Roombas, or any other robot vacuum cleaners, don’t like dark area rugs or carpets. This is because the cliff sensors, built in the robot vacuum cleaners, misinterpret dark rugs or carpets as cliffs and edges. This is the reason that your Roomba will either get stuck on a dark-colored rug due to the fear of falling over or simply will not visit the area where dark rugs or carpets are placed. 

9. Improper lighting

Most robot vacuum cleaners use optical sensors to see around, recognize obstacles and navigate through your house. These optical sensors work best when there is some light around. If you make your Roomba clean the house in the dark, it will most probably start bumping into obstacles and clean the same area again and again. 

10. Dirt detect technology

Roomba vacuum cleaners have dirt detection technology that activates when there is more dirt around. This makes Roomba focus on the dirt spot before going ahead. This might be one reason that the Roomba starts cleaning the same area because it has detected more dust there. 

11. Software issues

Roomba models have software installed in them. This software not only stores the maps of your house but also controls the navigation of your Roomba. 

While the software offers the convenience of controlling your Roomba from your cell phone, it also comes with drawbacks. The software might cause issues if not updated in time. Even updated software will cause problems sometimes. As described by a user on Reddit who uploaded a time-lapse video of a Roomba struggling to dock and going in circles. The main issue was a software update from iRobot that was not working properly. 

Time lapse video of i7+ attempting to return to clean base after 3.12.8 update. After over 15 minutes of this, the roomba stopped due to low battery, failing to dock. from roomba

12. Multiple Roombas

Another possible reason might be the presence of multiple Roomba vacuum cleaners in your house. Roomba vacuum cleaners communicate with their Home Base and get commands from it. If there are more than one robot vacuum cleaner cleaning in your house, robot vacuums will get confused and would wonder, what’s going on and which Home Base commands should they obey?

How to make Roomba clean the whole house

Once you have figured out the main reason why your Roomba is cleaning the same area or going in circles, it is easier to select the related solution to make your Roomba clean the whole house and to fix going in circles.

1. Clean the bumper

The bumper of the Roomba vacuum cleaner should also be cleaned properly. The bumper tends to clog up with dirt and dust more often because it is the bumper that first comes into contact with dust and debris. 

Unscrew the bumper and remove all the dust and hair stuck in it. Clean the sensor installed on the bumper as well.

Give the bumper a gentle tap to get rid of all the lose dirt stuck in it. 

2. Clean the sensors

Dust and fluff can accumulate on the sensors over time. This should be cleaned properly. Sensors are the eyes of a robot vacuum cleaner. If the Roomba’s eyes are covered in dust, it won’t be able to see around things.  

Wipe the sensors of your Roomba with a clean melamine foam (magic eraser). Following image shows the placement of sensors on different models of Roomba. 

roomba robot vacuum cleaner sensors

3. Clean the wheels

Roomba vacuum cleaner needs maintenance. Regularly cleaning your Roomba vacuum cleaner will make it live longer and work more efficiently. Cleaning the caster wheel and wheel modules will make stop Roomba from doing the circle dance. 

The caster wheel and both wheel modules should be removed and cleaned properly. Hair strands tend to clog up in the axel of the wheels. So, make sure to take out all the hair and fluff out of the axels as well.

4. Declutter your floor

If you want your Roomba to clean your whole room or house without missing a spot, you should first declutter your floor. This includes removing all the toys, socks, towels, and other household stuff before letting your Roomba start cleaning. 

Keep your wires and cables organized as well. Aligning the cables along the walls will not only make it easier for your Roomba to navigate around your house easily but it will also make it safe for you and other family members to avoid entangling in the cables. 

5. Enable “Edge Cleaning”

If the ‘Edge Clean” feature is turned off in the home app of the Roomba, it will avoid the edges completely. Dust and debris tend to accumulate more in the edges. So, make sure that the Edge Clean option is turned on. 

Follow these steps to turn on the Edge Clean.

  • Go to iRobot Home App
  • Open “Cleaning Preferences”
  • Enable “Edge Clean”

6. Enable “Detailed Clean”

Some select models of Roomba vacuum cleaners have “Smart Map” technology. This enables the Roomba to perform direct room cleaning. This means you can direct your Roomba and make it clean a specific room. While “Smart Map” is activated, the Roomba will only clean the specified room. To make Roomba clean the whole house, make sure that the Smart Map is deactivated and “Detailed Clean” should be activated. 

Follow these steps to activate the “Detailed Clean” feature.

  • Go to iRobot Home App
  • Open “Cleaning Preferences”
  • In “Vacuuming Behavior” select “Detailed Clean”

7. Remove dark area rugs and carpets

As discussed earlier, dark area rugs and carpets are misinterpreted by cliff sensors as cliff or edge. Cliff sensors use infrared rays to detect edges and stairs. The dark surface will absorb the infrared rays instead of reflecting them back. This makes the Roomba thinks that the dark surface is a steep fall. Hence, the Roomba will avoid such a surface. 

The best practice is to remove the dark area rugs or carpets before the Roomba starts cleaning. This will make your Roomba clean your whole house without fearing a fall. 

But if your whole floor is dark-colored, your only option is to turn the cliff sensors off. Special care should be taken while turning the cliff sensors off because now the robot vacuum cleaner will not be able to avoid stairs. 

In this case, you should put either a virtual wall or some other physical barrier on the stairs to keep your robot vacuum cleaner from falling.

8. Ensure proper lighting

Some Roomba vacuum cleaners use optical sensors to navigate around the house. These optical sensors use light to detect obstacles. There should be enough light to let these sensors work properly. 

9. Reset your Roomba

If your Roomba vacuum cleaner is doing the circle dance, resetting it might solve the problem. Follow these steps to reset your Roomba vacuum cleaner. 

To reset Roomba 500 and 600 series, press and hold the SPOT and DOCK buttons for around 10 seconds until the Roomba restarts.

To reset Roomba 700, 800 and 900 series, press and hold the CLEAN button until ‘rSt’ appears on the display. This will restart the Roomba. 

To reset the Roomba i and j series, press and hold the CLEAN button for about 20 seconds until a white light ring swirls clockwise around the CLEAN button. This will restart the Roomba. 

To reset Roomba s9/s9+, press and hold the CLEAN button until a white light swirls clockwise on the bin lid, indicating that the Roomba is restarting.

10. Contact Customer Support

If nothing, mentioned above, works, the last option for you is to contact the iRobot customer support. You should describe the Roomba malfunction and also the steps you already have taken to correct it. There might be issues with hardware or software that only the manufacturer can take care of.