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Will Roomba Fall Down Stairs? 5 Fixes (Updated 2022 How-To)

Will Roomba Fall Down Stairs

As soon as I got my new Roomba…

The first thing I did was turn it on and do a test run.

I felt like a proud dad, watching his child take their first steps.

But, when it fell off my stairs…

Let’s just say it wasn’t a great time to be a parent.

You don’t have to suffer as I did.

Keep reading to discover:

  • Why and how you should replace your cliff sensors.
  • Where you can contact iRobot to get your Roomba repaired.
  • 5 easy ways to fix a Roomba that keeps falling down the stairs.
  • And so much more…

Will Roomba fall downstairs?

Your Roomba can fall downstairs because of dirty or faulty sensors, or internal bugs. To prevent that from happening, you can install stoppers near the edges of your home. Smart mapping is also available on Roomba devices for better navigation.


How do I keep my Roomba from falling downstairs? 5 fixes


#1: Clean sensors

I’ve gotten so used to Roomba cleaning up after me…

That I sometimes forget to clean everything else.

And that includes the Roomba itself.

Since Roomba aims to clean, dirt and gunk will inevitably clog up some of its parts.

Two of which are its bump and cliff sensors.

In that case, here’s how iRobot instructs you to clean your hardware:

  1. Flip your Roomba.
  2. Get a dry microfiber cloth.
  3. Locate its sensors.
  4. Lightly brush the fabric over the sensor openings.

#2: Put stoppers

Sometimes, whatever I do to fix my robot, I can’t stop my Roomba from falling down the stairs.

So what I did was solve the problem was to use my handyman skills…

And a little bit of money.

How?

You can do so, too, by installing stoppers to physically block your Roomba.

Which ones? I recommend a:

  • Gate.
  • Magnetic tape.
  • Virtual wall barrier.

Are you lost on how some of those can stop your robot? Allow me to elaborate.

Stairs gate

Usually, a stairs gate is for toddlers and pets who can’t stop carelessly running around your home.

But do you know that it’s handy for a Roomba too?

Since it’s an obstacle, your Roomba can detect the gate and avoid it.

Sounds good, right?

The only problems with a gate are that it’s a little costly and a hassle to install.

Magnetic tape

This method’s a little easier and a lot less expensive.

Get a magnetic tape.

After getting one, here’s how you can protect your Roomba with these steps:

  1. Measure the width of your topmost stair step using a tape measure.
  2. Cut a portion of your tape equal to the width of the step.
  3. Place the tape at the edge.

Note: The magnetic tape must be black.

Why?

So that, if the magnetic force wears off the tape, your Roomba still can’t go near your stairs.

Here’s the thing: your Roomba doesn’t exactly have 20/20 vision.

It can sometimes assume that a black surface is a cliff.

Therefore, turning away from it.

Virtual wall barrier

Lastly, buy iRobot’s virtual wall barrier.

This device can create an invisible wall that can only be felt and seen by your Roomba.

What’s more, it’s portable and easy to hide. Nobody will notice the wall emitter unless you point them towards it.

And, honestly, I’d point it out. Invisible walls are pretty cool.

Warning: Watch out for the wall’s lights. Flashing 5 times means that you need to replace its batteries.

Need help setting up your virtual wall? Watch this tutorial from the company iRobot themselves:

#3: With smart mapping

Do you know that your Roomba is smart? Maybe far more intelligent than you give it credit for.

How so?

You see, you can teach your Roomba the layout of your home through smart mapping.

That’s right. 

With just a few easy steps, your Roomba can learn which path it’s supposed to take when cleaning your house.

And this is how:

  1. Download the iRobot Home app. (Available on Android and iOS.)
  2. Ensure that your phone and the Roomba are connected to the same Wi-Fi.
  3. Press the Map button.
  4. Select the + logo on the upper right corner of your screen.
  5. Click Create New Map.

Now, turn your Roomba on and let it clean your house. Next time, it won’t depend on sensors alone to avoid cliffs and bumps.

It’s that simple.

Pro tip: When creating a new map, remove or cover all black surfaces around your home.

Why?

As previously mentioned, Roomba detects black objects on the floor as cliffs.

So, during mapping, it’s best not to have any objects that may confuse your Roomba.

Don’t worry. You can put everything back together after mapping.

#4: Reset Roomba

Reset Roomba

Now, when your Roomba still keeps falling off the stairs, it’s best to make it forget…

Everything.

This process is possible through a factory reset.

A factory reset allows your robot to get rid of all its data and settings.

So, if there’s any bug you got from corrupted data, this is the easiest fix.

Through the app

According to iRobot, this is the recommended method of resetting your Roomba.

Grab your phone and:

  1. Open the iRobot Home app.
  2. Go to the settings menu.
  3. Press Remove or Factory Reset.

Note: After you press the Factory Reset option, you’ll receive a prompt asking if you want to save your smart maps.

Always say yes.

You can still delete your maps later, but it’s more time-consuming to recreate maps on a Roomba.

Through the Roomba itself

On the other hand, you can also factory reset your Roomba by pressing its physical buttons.

The question is, which ones?

Roomba Series E, I, S, 600, 800, 900; and Braava Jet

Don’t fret. This is an easy process.

All you have to do is:

  1. Turn on your Roomba.
  2. Press the Home/Dock, Spot Clean, and CLEAN buttons simultaneously.
  3. Hold for several seconds.

I know you might be wondering:

“How long do I have to hold the buttons? How can I know when it’s reset?”

You’ll have to wait and hold until:

  • E Series: Hold for 20 seconds.
  • 900 Series: All the lights illuminate.
  • Braava Jet: Light shines around the tank lid.
  • 600 and 800 Series: You hear a beeping noise.
  • S Series and I Series: White light swirls around the CLEAN button.
Roomba Series J
  1. Turn off your Roomba Series J.
  2. Remove the dust bin.
  3. Long-press the CLEAN button for 7 seconds.
  4. When the Roomba plays a tune, tap the CLEAN button again.
Roomba Combo
  1. Open the lid of your Roomba.
  2. Find the Reset button.
  3. Long-press the button for 10 seconds.

#5: Contact iRobot

Feel like jumping off a cliff because of frustration?

Don’t. Just because none of our home solutions worked doesn’t that nothing else will.

For more information regarding your Roomba’s sensors, call iRobot themselves.


Frequently asked questions:


Can you disable Roomba cliff sensors?

You can’t disable Roomba cliff sensors, but you can bypass them.

What do I mean by that?

iRobot, the company that makes your Roomba, doesn’t want people to disable their sensors.

But people are crafty. So some people have found a way to bypass the sensors instead. How?

You’ll need:

  • Tape.
  • Paper.
  • Scissors.

And here’s how you’ll need to use them:

  1. Cover a piece of paper with tape.
  2. Cut the taped paper into 6 small pieces. (About 2 inches wide and an inch high.)
  3. Flip your Roomba.
  4. Locate the 6 sensors.
  5. Put the taped pieces of paper over it.

It’s that simple.

Now, you might be asking:

“Why do I have to cover the paper with tape?”

Great question.

Sensors can detect whenever something’s blocking them using lights.

So to overcome this problem, you’ll need to block it with something reflective.

And reflecting light is something that a simple tape can do.

For that reason, you can use an aluminum foil too.

Warning: Block the cliff sensors at your own risk. Bear in mind that cliff sensors are essential, especially if you live in a house with multiple stories.

Do other robot vacuums fall downstairs?

Other robot vacuums can fall down the stairs, but not intentionally.

For example, let’s look at 5 alternatives to Roomba:

Like Roomba, all of these 5 also has a built-in cliff sensor.

However, cliff sensor technology isn’t perfect, especially on cheaper robots.

Some can detect contrasting colors and low elevation as dangerous.

This fact makes any robot prone to falling.