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Keep your Roomba running in tip-top shape

Follow these maintenance tips to keep your Roomba running at peak performance (and have a little fun disassembling its parts).

Until those smart, tidy Roombas learn to clean themselves, it's up to us humans to keep them running at peak performance.

Even after a few short cleaning cycles, debris like dust, dirt, hair, and fur can begin to take a toll on your Roomba. For starters, the vacuum works less efficiently, and too much buildup can also put harmful strain on the unit's battery.

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After each cleaning cycle...
The most basic level of maintenance should be done after each cleaning cycle to clear out the grime that builds up the most.

Start by emptying the dust bin. But before you put it back, remove the two filters located inside. These are essential for catching dust and should be replaced every month or so, depending on how often you vacuum. But, if you're willing to put your junior MacGyver hat on, you can delay replacing those filters.

The easiest way to clean these filters is by simply tapping them on the side of a trash can to knock out any debris. If you have a few extra minutes, however, you can use compressed air to blow out any caught debris.

For an even deeper cleaning, wash the filters using water. But, you've been warned: do not put the filters back in the Roomba until they're completely dry. Putting them back before they're completely dry can permanently damage your robot. (And then you're back to the dreaded stand-up vacuum.)

Once a week...
Every Sunday -- or whenever you find a few extra minutes -- conduct midlevel maintenance.

First, remove the brushes and their bearings. Then, use a comb or one of the provided cleaning tools to pull out hair and fur that may be slowing the Roomba's motor down. Remove debris from the bearings as well.

Your vacuum's front wheel also needs attention. With a little tug, remove it from its housing, and clean out any debris. You'll often find hair stuck here.

Once a month...
Once a month, detox your Roomba with a slightly more in-depth cleaning. For this part, you'll need a screwdriver.

Begin by removing the screw that secures the spiral brush, and clean out any debris caught below. Set the brush and its screw aside.

Then remove the four screws that secure the cover -- two on the battery door, and two by the large wheels (they should be marked with arrows). Once they're out, you'll be able to remove the cover. Immediately, you'll notice your robot's been hoarding debris in its inner parts.

To clean out this area, use compressed air, or a dry dustcloth. When you're done, replace the cover and spiral brush, and replace and tighten those screws.