If you’re into practical gift-giving, robot vacuums are a slam dunk. Once they’re properly set up, they can take one of the worst time-sucking chores off your to-do list for good—or at least until they break. Thankfully, robot vacuum maintenance is fairly simple. Here’s everything you need to do to keep yours from gathering dust in a closet.
What to do daily (or after each use)
Robot vacuums have significantly smaller collection capacities than bag or canister vacuums, which means that emptying them after (or before) each use is important. To make this step too easy to skip, I put a small trash can right next to the docking station so I don’t have to carry the dusty compartment all the way into the kitchen to empty it.
Another important thing to do after each use is check the side brushes and rollers for tangles. This is especially important if you have pets, long-haired family members, or a tendency to leave your shoelaces out where your robot vacuum can gobble them up. (Our house has all three.)
What to do every couple of months
All robot vacuums have filters that keep dust from spewing out the exhaust system, and like all filters, these need changing every two months or so. The exact timeframe will vary depending on which model you have and whether you can rinse or otherwise clean the filter in between changes; check the owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific guidelines.
How to fix your robot vacuum’s side brushes
Almost all robot vacuums have rotating side brushes that sweep debris into its path. These brushes stick out past the body of the vacuum, so they’re prone to getting bent whenever it head-butts walls and furniture. The good news is that you can quickly straighten them back out with a little heat: Blast them with a hair dryer on high heat for a minute or so, then push them back into shape with your fingers as they cool. If you don’t have a hair dryer, you can also do it with boiling water:
There’s a limited number of times you can do this, however. Eventually, the side brushes and rollers will meet their maker, usually in the form of something the vacuum stubbornly tried to roll over that it shouldn’t have. When the hair dryer trick stops working or the rollers have little cracks in them—or both—it’s replacement time. You can buy replacement parts either directly from your vacuum’s manufacturer or via a third party on Amazon.
If you’re giving a robot vacuum as a gift this year, consider throwing in a replacement part kit and a few spare filters. This way, your loved one will have everything they need to keep their new vacuum running smoothly for years to come.
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