We’ve all seen those cute little Roomba robots zipping around vacuuming floors in commercials. They make keeping your floors clean look so easy! But what about when you have rugs? Can a Roomba actually vacuum rugs effectively? That’s what we’re going to dive into today.
Not All Rugs Are Created Equal
When it comes to vacuuming rugs, Roombas definitely can get the job done, but not all rugs are the same. Depending on the type of rug you have, you may need to make some adjustments to help your Roomba do its thing. Let’s look at the different kinds of rugs and how a Roomba handles them:
Thick and Plush Rugs
If you have luxuriously thick rugs and carpets with long, plush piles, these can cause some trouble for Roombas. Those long fibers can get tangled up in Roomba’s brushes, or they might be so thick that Roomba thinks it’s going to fall off a ledge!
For super thick shag or high-pile rugs, Roomba probably won’t be able to drive up and over them due to its cliff sensor that prevents falls. You may need to put down a ramp or set up a “no-go zone” with a virtual wall device to keep Roomba off the plush rug.
Lots of rugs have rubber backing on them to help grip the floor and stay in place. This is great for keeping them from slipping around, but bad news for a Roomba trying to vacuum them. The rubber makes them too heavy for Roomba to move around.
You’ll want to avoid using rubber-backed rugs if you can in areas that you want Roomba to clean. But if you have to use them, you can set up a perimeter with a virtual wall to keep Roomba contained to the hard floor area only.
Rugs with Tassels or Fringe
Decorative rugs that have long tassels or fringe around the edges can pose problems for Roomba too. As Roomba’s brushes spin, they can easily get tangled up in all that stringy material around the edges of the rug.
To prevent this, try folding the tassels under the rug when you set up for a Roomba cleaning session. You can also set up no-go lines with a virtual wall to keep Roomba a couple inches away from the fringe.
Small, Lightweight Rugs
Smaller rugs that aren’t very heavy can be tricky. As Roomba drives over them, its movements often end up pushing the rug around instead of vacuuming it! This leaves you with a rug crumpled up against the wall.
If you have small rugs, use double-sided carpet tape or gripper pads underneath to hold them firmly in place. This will prevent them from sliding all over when Roomba tries to vacuum them.
Dark or Black Rugs
Believe it or not, the color of your rug can also impact how well Roomba vacuums it. Roombas have cliff sensors underneath to detect drops and avoid falling down stairs. But these sensors rely on reflecting light, which doesn’t happen as well with black or very dark-colored surfaces.
On dark rugs, Roomba may think it’s approaching a cliff when it’s not. You can put a piece of reflective tape over the cliff sensor to help with this issue. Just be sure to remove it if Roomba will be near actual stairs!
Roomba Features That Help on Rugs
Now that we know what kinds of rugs pose challenges for Roomba, let’s look at some of Roomba’s design features that help it handle rugs:
First and foremost, Roomba needs strong suction power to pull up all the dirt, dust, and pet hair hiding deep down in thick carpet piles. Roomba uses a multi-stage cyclone suction system that provides 5x the air power of some older vacuums. This gives it the oomph needed to deep clean carpets.
The newer s9+ model has 40x the suction of Roomba’s first vacuum back in 2002. So Roombas keep getting better at digging out embedded dirt on rugs and carpets.
Underneath, Roomba has two counter-rotating brushes designed to handle fibers and debris. The brushes spin towards each other from opposite directions. This helps propel Roomba forward while sweeping up dirt from carpets and scrubbing stuck-on messes.
The counter-rotation prevents carpet fibers from getting wrapped around the brushes as easily as they would with a single spinning brush. Fewer tangles means less time you have to spend cutting fibers out of Roomba’s brushes!
Sensors to Detect Obstacles and Cliffs
Roomba relies on a suite of sensors to understand its environment and navigate around your home. There are cliff sensors to detect ledges and stairs, wall sensors to bump into objects and change direction, and drop sensors to recognize when it’s moving over an edge.
These sensors allow Roomba to detect area rugs and transition smoothly between floors and carpets. The sensors also signal Roomba to slow down as it moves from hard floors onto carpets and adjust its cleaning behavior.
Higher-end Roomba models create visual maps of your home and track their location. This allows them to expertly navigate between rooms and remember where problem spots are.
They build these maps automatically, room by room, keeping track of the locations of rugs and carpeted areas. This repeated mapping helps the robot become an expert cleaner in your unique home.
Long Battery Life
Since carpets usually require more time to clean than hard flooring, Roomba needs enough battery life to finish vacuuming all surfaces in a home. Most Roombas run from 60 to 90 minutes on a charge. Some advanced models with Lithium ion batteries can run for 2 hours.
So if you have mostly carpet, be sure your Roomba has ample battery life to complete full cleaning cycles without getting stuck mid-job with a dead battery.
Optimizing Your Roomba for Rugs
In addition to Roomba’s built-in features, there are some extra steps you can take to optimize your robot vacuum for cleaning rugs:
Set up No-Go Zones
Using magnetic strips or Roomba’s virtual wall devices, you can set up barriers to keep Roomba away from thick rugs it may have trouble climbing over or rugs with loose tassels. This prevents it from getting stuck or tangled.
Use Boost Mode on Thick Carpets
Engage Roomba’s Boost Mode when vacuuming high-pile carpets to increase its suction power. This gives it the extra oomph needed to deep clean thicker fibers. Just note that Boost Mode drains the battery faster.
Add Gripper Pads to Lightweight Rugs
Affix gripper tape, a rug pad, or rubber mesh under lightweight rugs to hold them in place so they don’t slide around on Roomba. This prevents them from getting pushed out of place instead of vacuumed.
Build Ramps for High-Pile Rugs
For very thick, cushy rugs, you can create a slope or ramp up to the rug with wood, foam boards, or sturdy cardboard so Roomba can smoothly roll up onto the rug without getting stuck.
Fold Up Rug Tassels
If you have a tassel-edged rug you want to use, simply fold the tassels underneath the rug while Roomba is cleaning so they don’t get caught up in the brushes.
The Best Roombas for Carpets and Rugs
Not all Roomba models are created equal when it comes to vacuuming carpets and rugs. Here are a few top options:
iRobot Roomba s9+
The s9+ is iRobot’s most powerful and advanced robot vacuum yet. It has 40x the suction power of early Roombas, with specialized carpet cleaning heads. This beast was designed to deep clean carpets and large homes. It automatically empties itself into a clean base after each cleaning job. If you have lots of carpets and rugs, the s9+ is a great choice.
iRobot Roomba i7+
The i7+ also empties itself and has 10x the suction power of baseline Roombas. Its superior navigation maps your home and keeps track of where it’s cleaned. You can customize cleaning schedules room by room. This smart model is great for homes with lots of carpet.
iRobot Roomba 675
For a more budget-friendly option, the Roomba 675 provides 5x the air power of older models. It automatically adjusts between carpets and hard floors and has a 90-minute run time. This is a great Roomba for cleaning smaller spaces with a mix of rugs and hard flooring affordably.
Tips for Unleashing Your Roomba on Rugs
To really get the most out of using your Roomba on carpets and area rugs, keep these tips in mind:
- On first runs, watch Roomba to see if it gets stuck on any rugs and make adjustments
- Check the brushes regularly for tangled fibers after cleaning carpets
- Clean Roomba’s sensors frequently so they work properly on dark rugs
- Adjust placement of rugs and use virtual walls to guide Roomba away from tassels
- Use boost mode when vacuuming thick high-pile carpets
- Make sure Roomba’s battery is fully charged before cleaning large carpeted rooms
While not perfect for every type of rug, Roombas can definitely handle vacuuming most carpeted floors and area rugs with a little help. Pay attention to problem rugs, set up no-go zones when needed, clean Roomba’s brushes often, and take advantage of boost modes for supercharged cleaning. With a few tweaks, your Roomba robot can keep wall-to-wall carpets and area rugs looking fresh and clean!