Can I Run a Roomba at Night? (Pros and Cons)

Last updated on February 15th, 2024

Many people prefer that their vacuums clean when they are not around. May that be when they head out to do chores or at night. Having your vacuum in your way while you are tottering around your house could feel like a nuisance. So you might be tempted to let your vacuum out on a run while sleeping. But how safe is it?

So, can I run a Roomba at night?

Yes, you can run a Roomba at night, but with caution. It requires ample light to navigate around obstacles. So it could get stuck if it is not able to identify what obstacle it is dealing with. No doubt you will have a clean house in the morning, but the sound of running a vacuum overnight could disturb your sleep.

Best tips to keep running the Roomba overnight

Tips to keep Running the Roomba overnight
Tips to Keep Running the Roomba Overnight

Here are some of the best tips you must follow to keep the Roomba running overnight without any problem.

  • Keep some dim lights ON.
  • Place the docking station away from the living room.
  • Keep unwanted objects like toys away from the floors.
  • Keep the doors locked/ place virtual wall barriers in places it must avoid.

A more detailed explanation is given at a later stage in this article. Keep on reading below.

Leaving Roomba running overnight

Many people leave their vacuum running when they go to sleep. Some are afraid it might cause havoc in the dark. You are not wrong to worry. In fact, Roomba’s navigation system is not that well equipped to handle dark environments. But running the robovac at night has its own perks. Let’s dive deep into this discussion.

Roomba j7+ cleaning the floor at night
Roomba j7+ cleaning the floor at night

Perks of running Roomba at night

You wake up to a clean house

Many people prefer that their morning starts fresh and clean. Hardly anyone likes waking up to find an untidy house. If you schedule your vacuum to run while you are sleeping, you will wake up to find a neatly vacuumed house. It will clean the entire house while you are sleeping. And all you had to do was schedule a nighttime run.

Roomba won’t get in your way

Imagine being late for a meeting while you are still packing lunch, and your robot is constantly bumping into you. Nothing can be more frustrating. That is why many people choose to run their vacuums while they are away or asleep. vacuums can really get in the middle of your work and create a nuisance.

You also don’t want the loud self-emptying bin running while you are in a critical Zoom meeting. Thus, running it at night will keep the vacuum out of your way for the entire day.

Drawbacks of running Roomba at night

Roomba models use an array of sensors to navigate, some of which include a camera. This camera looks around for objects it could bump into and turns around at the right moment. But if there’s no light, the camera will find it difficult to locate obstacles and could get stuck. You will need to leave your light on if you want to run your vacuum at night.

It might get stuck

If, for some reason, your vacuum gets stuck, it will not be able to finish its job. You will receive a notification on your iRobot app that the vacuum is stuck. And unless you go and manually unstuck it, the robot is going to stay in the same spot. So you will have a half-cleaned house in the morning.

Roombas can be loud

We are often asked, ‘Are Roombas too loud to run at night?’. The answer is yes, they can get loud. There’s not much noise around at nighttime, so the vacuum’s noise could really stand out. If you are a light sleeper, this will really affect your sleep. Additionally, vacuums with a self-emptying bin make extra loud noise while emptying their contents in the docking station. It is loud enough to wake you up startled.

How to tackle the drawbacks of running a Roomba at night?

Keep some lights on

Roombas will navigate poorly in dark regions, but that doesn’t mean you have to turn on all the lights in your house. At night time, you can keep ON a few night lights so there’s no complete darkness. But it has to be sufficient enough so you can make out what’s lying on your floor. Also, don’t leave any dark spots.

Close doors

Roombas do make loud noises while cleaning. But if you still want to run it at night, then you can choose to keep your bedroom door closed. So the sound of the vacuum won’t be carried directly into the room. Also, place the Clean Base (auto-emptying base) away from your bedroom. So the sound of a vacuum emptying its bin won’t startle you.

Place the virtual wall barriers

An effective way to avoid robovac entering certain places is to use virtual wall barriers. They emit infrared rays in straight lines when placed on a floor. As soon as the vacuum detects these rays, they do not cross it. In fact, it changes its course of motion. Thus, avoiding those places.

How does Roomba’s navigation work?

Roomba navigating the floor at night
Roomba navigating the floor at night

Roombas use an array of sensors for cleaning at night. It includes optical sensors, a camera, a gyroscope, bump sensors, cliff sensors, etc. The gyroscope won’t be a trouble as it doesn’t need any light for navigation. It completely relies on the movement of the wheels.

But cliff sensors and bump sensors use IR signals. It ideally shouldn’t be an issue, but they are known to cause problems in the dark. Cliff sensors are unable to detect stairs in low or no light and can surely fall off the stairs. The bump sensors don’t recognize they are near an obstacle until it is too late. And not to mention that a camera cannot work without ample light.

Check out: 11 different sensors on your Roomba


So, even if you can run a Roomba at night, we do not recommend it. The noise could disrupt your sleep and disturb your neighbors. You will need to leave the lights on in the dark for effective cleaning. Instead, you can clean in the daytime in natural light. But if you prefer to run it at night, make sure you take the necessary precautions.


Can Roomba operate in the dark?

A Roomba can operate in the dark, but it won’t be that efficient because it requires light to sense the path ahead of it.

What is the best time of day to run a robot vacuum?

The best time of the day to run a robot vacuum is in the morning when you have left for work.

Can robot vacuums work 24 hours a day?

Yes, robot vacuums can work 24 hours a day. But it is often not necessary. you can let it rest on the dock and connected to electricity throughout the day when it is not cleaning.

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Mark Thompson

Hi I am Mark, the founder of Smart Home Bulls. Having spent 5 years immersed in the intricacies of smart home gadgets at a leading tech company, I decided to chart my own course side by side along with the job. Enter Smart Home Bulls – the result of my desire to simplify the smart living experience.

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