Yeah, well, it’s a weird topic, but not all of us know how to clean Roomba side wheels right. Some will rush to clean with water, which is totally wrong. Then others will argue they don’t know what to do and neglect it all.
Nonetheless, cleaning the side wheels of the Roomba or any other robot vacuum is a total breeze. And in this guide, I’m going to show you how to do everything in 10-15 minutes before the little things comprise the efficiency of your machine.
Are Dirty Roomba Side Wheels Really a Big Concern?
Just the other day, we saw failing to clean Shark robot vacuum filter can have a huge impact on the performance. The same will happen when the wheels of a Roomba are neglected, whereby you can expect issues like:
- Squeaking Noise
Similar to a car, your Roomba will start making high-pitched weird and annoying noises if the wheel is encountering some friction when turning. One of the causes of this friction is when the axle has excess dust & dirt build-up
- Difficulty Transitioning Between Different Floors
Roomba is the best robot vacuum for hardwood floors and carpet with an auto-adjust cleaning head. But if the wheels are dirty and start dragging, the machine might struggle to transition between different floors.
- Longer Cleaning Time
When the Roomba side wheels are too dirty to spin at the appropriate speed, they will drag on the cleaning task. And that will have the likes of Roomba S9+ or i7+ with “recharge & resume” take longer than usual to complete the task.
- Incomplete Cleaning Session
Sadly, not all iRobot robot vacuums have the smart “recharge & resume” feature. Thus, any drag on the movements (from dirty wheels) might have the machine unable to complete cleaning before the battery dies.
- Worn-Out Tires
If the axle of either side wheels tangles on hair and other stringy fibers, the other wheel will pull it behind. In the process, this will have the stuck wheel eat on the threads of its tire much faster. Thus, leaving the component ineffective even after you’ve cleaned it.
- Burnt-Out Wheel Motors:
When the side wheels of your Roomba aren’t exactly spinning freely, their motors will be overworking to move the appliance around. In the end, this will overheat either of the motors or all and they will soon burn out from too much stress. Thus, rendering the whole system non-functional.
- Unplanned Extra Expenses:
Indeed, you’ll have to go back to your wallet when the motors or tires of your Roomba side wheels fail. And like any other local brand, iRobot sells the original replacement parts of their robots at a relatively high tag.
Alternatively, you can go for the cheaper generic replacement side wheels. But do note the design and quality won’t be the same as the original brand.
An Easy, Quick Guide on How to clean Roomba Side Wheels
As mentioned earlier, cleaning Roomba side wheels is super easy. It will be much easier if you have been cleaning them regularly (at least twice or once per month) when you’re wiping down the exterior of the robot.
But then, do you even remember to wipe the exterior of your robot vacuum after having it clean your floors throughout the week? I’m sure many of us don’t, especially if the machine has the self-emptying base.
However, you should clean the outer housing of your machine regularly to retain that sleek shiny look. And the task isn’t as hard as what you expect the robot to live through daily. It’s only to wipe down with a clean, dry cloth- something you can easily do each week.
No, the weekly wiping of the wheels doesn’t have to be deep cleaning where you even unscrew their modules. It’s just a quick thing with a clean microfiber cloth and a handheld vacuum (optional) to discourage the accumulation of debris/ dirt.
How to Do it:
- Spread a clean soft towel on a flat surface like a work table. The purpose of the towel is to avoid scratching the outside of the robot on a hard surface.
- Lie the Roomba vacuum on its top (while upside down) on the spread towel.
- Take the clean microfiber cloth and wipe the sides of each wheel gently while you rotate. Wipe off the dust on the outer track too
- Gently push one of the side wheels down and remove any dust, dirt, and hair you see. The wheel has a spring that forces it to return to position once you release it. So, push it in and out several times to loosen the stuck-on dust and debris
- If available, Use a handheld vacuum (preferably with a crevice tool like the Eufy Homevac H11) to vacuum around the wheel when in the pushed-down position. An air can (or compressor air) can also blow away stuck-on dust/ dirt
- Repeat Steps 4 and 5 on the other side wheel
- Now try to spin both side wheels to make sure they can move freely. If you still notice a resistance or they seem to get stuck, chances are there’s a heavy dirt/ dust build-up on the assembly. Thus, you might want to do a deep clean-up.
Part Two: How to Deep-Clean Roomba Side Wheels
If you notice your Roomba side wheels are struggling to spin, I’d recommend doing a deep cleanup straight away. The same should also be the case if it has been several months since you checked on the wheels of your robot.
Otherwise, you may end up doing a two-level cleanup after attempting the Part One steps above but they fail to solve the issue.
In any case, to thoroughly clean the side wheels of your Roomba…
- A clean, dry microfiber cloth/ towel that you can wipe the area of the wheels without leaving scratches or lint
- A screwdriver set with the standard head for the outer screws and another small bit for the inner screws
- A ziplock bag or an empty cable clip box to keep the screws you remove in one place
- A large soft towel to protect the robot’s exterior from scratches
- Your Roomba robot vacuum
In this How-To guide, I’ll be using the iRobot Roomba 694 for reference. But when you compare it with other series, including the self-emptying Roomba i7+ and S9+, you’ll notice the wheel alignment is pretty close.
Yes, the bolt pattern isn’t the same. But both wheels are flanking the dual multi-surface brushes system. Then the edge-sweeping brush is directly in front of the left side brush (when the robot is flipped).
What to Do:
- Lay the towel on a flat surface and flip your Roomba robot over it
- Use the standard Phillips screwdriver to loosen and remove the screw holding the side brush
- Next, loosen the four screws holding the bottom plate in place. The plate shouldn’t be difficult to take out, assuming you’ve already removed the edge brush
- After removing the base plate, you’ll see and access the three tiny screws holding the side wheels module on the robot. Use the small Phillips screwdriver that can grip and loosen these screws without eating on the threads.
- Once all the screws are loose, lift out both side wheels module from their socket and inspect them for the hidden dirt.
- Now use the dry microfiber cloth/ towel to clean out any dirt, dust, and hair trapped on the side, inside track, and axle of each side wheel.
- When you have all wheels clear of debris, you can reinsert the module to the appropriate socket and screw everything back as it was previously.
Side Tips & Precautions:
- If you had opened up any of the side wheel modules, you’d have seen the gears, motors, and electrical components that drive them. All these parts are enemies with any type of liquid from the risk of corrosion and shorting out.
And for this reason, you’re never to clean the side wheels of your Roomba with water. Don’t risk it with even a wet towel as a 2-second mistake could have you replacing the entire appliance- and the brand’s pretty expensive.
- If interested, you could lubricate the axle of your Roomba side wheels to make sure they run smoothly. It’s something you can do while the wheels are still mounted, but it’s much easier now you’ve detached the module.
Nonetheless, make sure you lubricate your Roomba wheels with an effective quick-drying lube. Otherwise, the messy grease will start leaking all over your floors and possibly into the internal parts of the wheel. And both are things we certainly don’t want to happen.
Don’t Leave the Caster Wheel Dirty
In conclusion, that’s everything you should know on how to clean Roomba side wheels. It’s a simple practice that can help enhance the performance of your robot while also saving you from unnecessary repair expenses.
But once you’ve cleaned and assembled the side brushes, remember also the front caster wheel. It too gets tied up with dirt, dust, hairs, and other debris, which could impede movements.
However, the caster wheel requires no special tools to clean or even remove from its port. While the robot vacuum is still lying upside down on the towel, you only need to grip it firmly and pull it up straight.
Next, remove the wheel from its housing to take out the axle so you can clear whatever was restricting the moments.
After you’re done, put everything back as it was previously. Then return the caster into the Roomba through its port and test all the three wheels can roll freely now.