How to Clean Roomba Side Wheels

How to Clean Roomba Side Wheels

Robot vacuums, such as the Roomba, make home cleaning chores easier. Floors get scoured while you are out. The carpets are tidier because the robot did the work. Life is better with automation!

However, our robot friends can develop some problems. They need our help sometimes. The Roomba (and other automatic vacuums) needs someone to take care of it as it does its job. In particular, its wheels may need cleaning in order for it to perform properly.

We’re going to show you how to clean Roomba side wheels easily, thoroughly, and simply. In case you need it, we’ve also included a quick guide for cleaning the front caster wheel.

Quick Cleaning

If your Roomba is a little dirty or making some tracks, it might just need a quick clean. You don’t have to disassemble it to clean the wheels. If the wheels are very dirty or clogged with hair, then you can skip this guide and go to the thorough side wheel cleansing section.

To begin, all you need is a simple baby wipe or two. Any thin cleaning cloth will do, but it needs to be as thin as a baby wipe. Here’s what to do:

  1. Begin stuffing one corner of the baby wipe into the wheel well. You shouldn’t shove too much at this point.
  2. Slowly and gently turn the wheel by hand. You want the wheel to begin to grip the baby wipe and pull it through the wheel well.
  3. As you continue to turn the wheel by hand, the wipe should be pulled through the wheel well by the tire. Continue turning until the wipe has gone around the whole wheel well two or three times.
  4. When you’re ready, pull the wipe out gently as you turn the wheel. Don’t try to tug it out – it will simply tear. Turn the wheel slowly and pull the wipe away from the wheel as it comes out.

Four simple steps will get the job done. You’ll have clean wheels and a cleaner floor in under five minutes!

Other Things to Try

Roomba suggests two more things you can do to clear out the wheels. These are their recommendations for error messages 5 and 10.

First, turn the Roomba over and press the wheels up and down a few times. This should shake loose any debris trapped inside. Flip the Roomba back over and see what falls out the bottom. If nothing has shifted, try a few more times.

Second, you can manually turn the wheels quickly. This isn’t like the gentle turning we were just talking about with the baby wipes. Give those wheels a solid turn to break out whatever gunk is making its home inside. If it is easier, but the unit on the floor and shove it around by hand a few times.

If none of these actions work, then you may need a wheel unit replacement. Call your local service center and ask them to suggest a course of action to you.

Caster Wheel Swabbing

The front caster wheel can attract dirt and hair because it passes over the floor before the vacuum sucks up anything. If the caster wheel stops spinning freely, then the Roomba cannot turn properly. Here’s how to sort it out:

  1. Flip the Roomba over and pull the wheel away from the unit. It’s a caster wheel, so it should come with a solid tug.
  2. The caster wheel has three separate parts to clean:
    1. Pull the main caster wheel out of the housing. Then pull the small metal axle out of this wheel. Clean the axle with your fingers or a cloth. Be sure to remove any hair.
    2. Clean the main wheel, which is colored black and white. Simply wipe it down with a cloth.
    3. Wipe out the whole wheel area. Ensure any hair is pulled free to avoid trapping the wheel.
  3. Reassemble the wheel by sliding the axle back into place, pushing the caster wheel into the housing, and then inserting the whole housing back into the Roomba.

These simple steps should restore the caster wheel to a full, glorious working order. If you’re really OCD about turning performance, give it a little squirt of WD40. Just make sure to catch any drips!


Follow these simple instructions showing you how to clean Roomba side wheels and your robotic assistant will be good as new. With a little practice, you can scrub up your Roomba in just a few minutes.

About the Author Jason