9 things not to do with your robot vacuum cleaner

Yeedi Cube being tested in writer's home
(Image credit: Future)

Vacuuming is a household chore that most of us dread. It can be a pain and regularly ranks as one of our least favorite chores (just behind ironing). However, many of us have discovered a more convenient way to keep our homes clean and tidy – the best robot vacuums. With their advanced features and smart technology, these little helpers make light work of the housework and can save us a lot of time and effort.

Whether you’ve splashed out for a Christmas gift or found a great Black Friday vacuum deal, knowing a few things is essential. Once you’ve unboxed your new purchase, mapped your home, and got everything ready, here are some key things to remember about your new item to make the most of this exciting purchase.  

1. Don’t let it get wet

Many new robot vacuums can mop the floor and vacuum and come with in-built water tanks; however, do not take this as permission to let the vacuum get soaking wet. It’s still electronic equipment and shouldn’t be used to clean up significant spills or messes. You could badly damage the robot vacuum or spread the liquid around the house. The last thing you want is sticky jam or drinks, causing the wheels to stick or dragging red wine (or worse, if you have pets or babies!) around onto a cream carpet. 

2. Don’t leave it unattended with pets

Just because your new robot vacuum says it is perfect for life with pets and cleaning up Felix and Rover's hair and fur, it doesn’t mean that your four-legged friend will take kindly to the new addition. There might be many cute videos online of cats riding on top of a robot vacuum, but you could risk injury to your pet or damage to the device if a larger dog were to chase it or knock it around. The loud vacuuming noise can also upset some more sensitive pets. 

eufy Clean Robotic Vacuum X8 Pro being tested

(Image credit: Future)

3. Don’t leave cables or wires loose

The last thing you want is your expensive phone charging cable or laptop power supply to get mangled up. They are essential for most people but could also damage the rollers or mechanisms of the robot vacuum. Even things like shoe laces can get sucked up by the vacuum, as they are too small to be spotted by the sensors used for avoiding objects. It’s great to be able to leave the vacuum to do its own thing, but it’s worth having a tidy around first. Yes, tidying before tidying, you won’t regret it. 

4. Don’t forget to run it

Double check whether your new robot vacuum’s software can schedule cleans, as running it regularly can make life much easier if it is a daily light clean of dust, debris, and pet hair rather than leaving it for a weekly deep clean. It is far easier to maintain a high standard of cleanliness if the robot vacuum is sent to do a circuit daily, with some people saying they run it every few hours. 

Mopping pads inside the DEEBOT X2 OMNI robot vacuum cleaner and mop

(Image credit: Future)

5. Don’t forget to clean or maintain it

One of the perks of a robot vacuum is the hands-off element, but don’t forget to clean the rollers and brushes. Pet and human hair can quickly become tangled around the rollers, decreasing the suction and the cleaning ability. Many of these robot vacuums aren’t cheap, and it’s worth looking after your investment. Some self-emptying models still have a bag that needs emptying, so be sure to set a reminder to double-check it. 

6. Don’t use harsh cleaning chemicals

If your robot vacuum also features a water tank for mopping, be sure not to add corrosive cleaning liquids into the tank. Many instruction manuals list approved cleaning products they recommend for use if you want a sparkly, fresh finish without damaging your new purchase. 

DEEBOT X2 OMNI robot vacuum and mop

(Image credit: Future)

7. Don’t block the sensors

The sensors help the robot vacuum navigate your home and must be kept clean to prevent your vacuum from crashing into objects. It might seem funny when people share memes of vacuums crashing into things or tumbling down the stairs, but when some don’t come cheap, it’s not worth the risk (to the item and your wallet). 

8. Don’t let the kids play with it 

Sure, it seems cute, and robot vacuums often raise people's smiles, putting googly eyes on them or sharing videos of festive theming, but remember, it is still a vacuum. Some models come with a child lock to prevent injury, but you don’t want a little one to lift a lid while it is operating or to injure themselves. 

9. Don’t let it go outside

It might seem obvious, but there have been well-documented cases online of robot vacuums that have gone AWOL and ended up in the garden or roaming around next door’s house. Even in warmer weather, be sure not to leave doors open, which could allow your robot vacuum to make a bid for freedom (or, as in one famous meme, send you an alert saying it’s on a cliff when it’s stuck on your front doorstep). Grass and robot vacuums do not mix. 

Jen Thomas
Freelance writer

Jen Thomas has been working as a freelance journalist and reviewer for two decades, also presenting for Magic Radio. She has a fondness for leopard print, houseplants, and mixing patterns, as well as a tendency to acquire more gadgets than she really needs. In her spare time, Jen enjoys playing with and training her rescue dog from Romania, as well as tending to her balcony garden.