iRobot is one of the best brands if you need a good robot vacuum for Vinyl Plank floors, tiles, marble, or carpets. But like any other machines, these vacuums have their challenges as well. And in this guide, I’ve put together some nifty tricks on how to prevent Roomba from getting stuck under cabinets.
If you have the robot vacuum from iRobot or even other brands, I’m sure it’s not one time this has happened. It’s a common issue for a lot of people, which usually ends with the machine terminating the cleaning run. Thus, defeating the main reason you bought it: automated cleaning and walkaway convenience.
Why Does My Roomba Keep on Getting Stuck Under Furniture
iRobot innovated the Roomba vacuum series to help “clean the rooms you want, when you want” with/ without supervision. So, while putting together the design of the appliance, the designers have to make sure every part will address this aspect.
For instance, when looking at Roomba S9+ and i7+, we saw the two robots have a height of about 3.5 inches. So, they can easily navigate under most beds, chairs, tables, and other furniture with no less than 4-inch underneath.
Speaking of navigating, Roomba robot vacuums usually have a built-in navigation system to help them detect and evade obstacles. The said system consists of either all infrared sensors or a camera. And considering how this navigation system works, your robot vacuum could get lost even under furniture it can easily fit. How?
Well, once it completes the cleaning task, an iRobot vacuum with the iAdapt 2.0 localization camera navigation usually returns to the original starting location. So, it’s likely to get lost if it didn’t start cleaning from a home base (or perhaps you had moved its position).
More on that, the local visualization (camera) will require light for the Roomba to navigate around the rooms. So, sending it to clean under the furniture in complete darkness could leave it stranded.
Don’t Forget about the Beveled Top
If you check your iRobot Roomba right now, you’ll notice beveled edges on top. So, even for the furniture that is a point shorter, the robot vacuum will still try to force itself in, which will now have it getting stuck.
But again, every problem always has a possible solution/s. And this now brings us to our main subject of the tricks you can employ to ensure your appliance always complete its daily cleaning schedule.
How to Prevent Roomba from Getting Stuck Under Cabinets
Typically, the best solution to prevent Roomba from getting stuck under your kitchen cabinet will depend on the cause. Some of the neat tricks that you could use as solutions for this problem are:
- Babysit Your Roomba
Indeed, you can keep an eye on your Roomba while cleaning the kitchen or any other room with the cabinet. Then, help it get out when stuck and proceed with the cleaning.
True, the hack defeats the whole idea of automated cleaning and walkaway convenience. But it will also make sure the little guy finishes cleaning in rest of the rooms much faster.
You could even opt for the manual cleaning on your Roomba for these rooms it’s likely to get stuck. But you’ll have to first get the iRobot IR remote control since the mobile app doesn’t have directional buttons.
Note: iRobot usually sends the Roomba vacuums with the Home App as the standard control system. So, you’ll have to purchase the infrared remote separately from your own pocket.
- Set up your iRobot Virtual Wall
Instead of having to follow your Roomba around, you can set up the iRobot virtual wall barrier along with the cabinet toe-kick.
The accessory, of course, is primarily for restricting your robot vacuum in a certain room/s. But it usually works by emitting an invisible beam that prevents the machine from crossing over. Thus, will also be effective when you want to cut access to the toe-kick space where it tends to get stuck.
If you’d like the Roomba to keep off the whole cabinet space, I’d recommend setting up your wall barrier in Halo Mode. In this option, the device will create a protective zone ring in a hemispherical shape.
Note: If you use the regular “Virtual Wall” mode, the barrier beam usually takes a cone shape that gets wider the farther it goes. Thus, you might end up with a lot of space outside the cabinets left uncleaned.
- Enable the iRobot Keep Out Zones
Do you have the smart Roomba J-Series or S9-Series? If yes, you necessarily don’t need to have the extra virtual wall device.
iRobot designed these machines with smart mapping technology that doesn’t just keep track of the rooms you’d like them to clean. You could also use the customizable Keep Out Zones to set up the areas you’d like the robot to stay away. And that includes the toe-kick area of the cabinets where the robot tends to get stuck.
- Make the Bumper a Bit Taller
Yes, you can also prevent your Roomba vacuum from getting stuck under cabinets by making its bumper taller.
One of the best ways you can do this is attaching two 3M Command Utility Plastic Hooks on top of the bumper. Then, when the machine tries to navigate under the cabinets, it will hit on the added height and turn back.
If you don’t have the plastic hooks, you could improvise with plastic coke bottle caps and some duct tape/ super glue. The hack will also create two little horns on the bumper and the robot won’t wedge itself under the furniture again.
However, do remember any alteration to your robot vacuum could void the warranty support from the manufacturer. So, you might not get replacements if you experience technical issues with your system during the period.
Also, the additional height could prevent the robot vacuum from fitting under other furniture. Thus, prompting you find an alternative way to clean the debris and dirt in the area, or else try another hack.
- Lower Your Cabinets Toekick a bit Down
One of the ideas to prevent Roomba from getting stuck under the couch is to put rubber foot bumpers under the furniture. Then, when the robot is trying to navigate the area, it’ll hit on them and turn back to carry on the rest of the room.
A similar approach could also help prevent your Roomba from wedging itself under the cabinet. But instead of the rubber feet, you fit a strip of double-sided foam mounting tape along the toe-kick. Then, the machine will now hit that and won’t have any chance of getting stuck again.
- Raise Your Cabinet ToeKick a bit Up
The use of furniture risers is another amazing idea to prevent Roomba and other robot vacuums from getting stuck under couches or coffee tables. And since you’re increasing the area beneath, the machine will be able to do a thorough cleaning of your entire house.
Unfortunately, though, cabinets are usually kind of permanently fixed and can’t be raised from the ground with risers. So, the only way to create more room below the toe-kick will be by cutting a few millimeters along it. And that’s a totally bad idea if you don’t have a toe kick saw or your cabinet has no more room for expansion.
- Keep the Room Well Lighted
As was mentioned earlier, some of the Roomba vacuums have a local visualization navigation system. And that means the integrated camera will require a source of light to guide the robot on its cleaning mission.
Of course, the likes of the iRobot Roomba j7 have a camera with a built-in spotlight that should help it work in darkness. But you still must have ambient light in the rooms if you’d like the device to clean thoroughly and avoid all obstacles.
Otherwise, you’ll risk the robot getting stuck under couches or even cabinets if the room is too dark for them to see.
- Remember to Clear Obstacles
Indeed, you don’t have to leave your shoes, socks, and cables lying anyhow just because your Roomba can evade them. Prepare the room you need to be cleaned beforehand, which means getting rid of the obstacles in the machine’s cleaning path.
The rooms you need to prepare for cleaning include the kitchen, especially if the cabinets have an open bottom. Otherwise, your Roomba will just get tangled by those messy cords or socks while cleaning under the area and get stuck again.
Keep Your Roomba Scratch-Free
Either of these tricks should help prevent your Roomba from getting under cabinets and even most of the other furniture. Thus, not only ensuring a successful clean cycle but also preventing the appliance from getting undesirable scratches.
Meanwhile, the use of the iRobot virtual wall barriers and customizing the Keep Out Zones are the best hacks to prevent Roomba from getting stuck under cabinets.
But then, not all Roomba machines support the Keep-Out zones or come with a free barrier device. And in this case, you can make the bumper of the robot a bit taller or lower the bottom space of the furniture.