How Often Should You Empty a Roomba? (5 Deciding Factors)

Last updated on February 15th, 2024

Roomba removes the dirt and debris from your house and collects it in their bins. These bins have a limited capacity, and they need to be emptied when they are full. But how quickly do they get full? And how often should you empty a Roomba? We will discuss that in detail in this article.

Roomba bins should be emptied after every cleaning cycle. Older models need to be emptied manually, while several new models have a self-emptying feature where the dustbin empties itself. If your vacuum has this feature, you don’t have to worry about emptying the bin. Otherwise, the frequency of emptying depends on a number of factors.

Factors affecting the emptying frequency

A filled Roomba bin
A filled Roomba bin

It is ideally suggested that you empty your Roomba bin after every cleaning cycle. But there are certain factors that contribute to the frequency with which you will need to empty your Roomba’s dustbin. These are:

  • Number of runs per week
  • Size of the house
  • Amount of dirt
  • Size of the dustbin
  • Presence of pets

Let’s discuss them one by one.

Number of runs per week

The emptying frequency largely depends on how often you use your Roomba.

  • If you are using it daily, the bin won’t fill faster as there won’t be much debris left to pick up.
  • But if you are using it on alternate days or twice a week, then the scenario changes. More dust and dirt must be accumulated on your floors in those days.

Due to this, the Roomba’s bin could fill up faster, and you will thus need to empty it more frequently.

Size of your house

The size of your house really matters when we talk about emptying the dustbin.

  • More the area of your home, the more the debris. So if you have a small house emptying won’t be necessary that frequently.
  • But if you have a large house, the bin could get full after cleaning 2-3 rooms. You might have to empty your bin multiple times during a cleaning cycle.

Amount of dirt in your house

Again the amount of dust and debris your house has accumulated will directly influence how fast the dustbin fills. If you don’t clean your home daily, then more dust gets settled. This means more work for the Roomba. These vacuums are perfectly capable of handling that, but the dustbin will fill up faster. The more dust your house has, the more often you will have to empty the dustbin.

Presence of pets

Households with pets have a different story than those with none. Such houses are riddled with pet hair all over. And hair tends to take up more space than most dust particles in the bin. Roombas are pretty good at picking up pet hair, and they will fill up their bins quicker.

The shedding seasons are the worst because you can expect twice as much hair as usual. In such cases, your vacuum’s dustbin will need to be emptied more often.

Size of your Roomba dustbin

All Roombas don’t have the same size of dustbin. The smallest bins are as small as 0.3 L and can go up to 0.6 L capacity in certain models. The size of the dustbin varies from model to model. Smaller dustbins need to be emptied more because they can hold less amount of waste. While the larger dustbins can be emptied at certain time intervals.

Does Roomba automatically empty itself?

Roomba i series model with self-emptying bin
Roomba i series model with self-emptying bin

Yes, some Roombas can automatically empty themselves. But all models don’t have this feature. Only the vacuums compatible with iRobot’s Clean Base can automatically empty their dustbin. You can get this Clean Base with a few select models, or you can buy it separately if you wish you upgrade your current vacuum.

Some of the popular vacuums that automatically empty their dustbins are:

With this feature, when your vacuum’s bin gets full, it automatically heads toward its docking base. Once docked, the Clean Base suctions out the contents of the dustbin from a small hole in the base of the vacuum. The debris taken out is stored in a large bag in the Clean Base.

The dirtbag can hold up to 60 days of waste, depending on your use. This bag is sealed completely, so you won’t see or smell any waste when you take it out. You have to simply throw it away and place a new bag in its place.

How do I know when my Roomba is full?

Full bin indicator on Roomba
Full bin indicator on Roomba

Roombas are smart vacuums. They let you know the exact state they are in at any moment in time. There are a few ways in which you can know that your Roomba is full. Those are:

  • The full bin indicator light is turned on
  • The light ring indicator around the clean button shows swiping the red color
  • You receive a notification on your iRobot Home app that your Roomba bin is full

In the case of the Clean Base, there’s a red light on the top of the base that turns on when the dust collection bag is full. Alternatively, you receive a notification on your iRobot Home app to replace the dirt bag.

Error: Roomba keeps saying, ‘Empty the bin’

Have you just emptied your Roomba bin but still there’s an error saying ‘empty the bin‘? Don’t worry; it’s pretty common and occurs with many Roombas. The reason could be one of two things –

  • Dirty full bin sensors
  • Clogged filters

Dirty full bin sensors

If such an error occurs, first check the full bin sensors. There are a total of 6 of them – two on the inside and four on the outside. So clean the bin sensors with a soft cloth. This will ensure that the sensors are taking the readings accurately.

Clogged filter

But if the filter is clogged and Roomba is not able to take in any more debris could also lead to a full bin error. As no dust enters the dustbin due to the clogged filter, the vacuum could have a false sense that more debris is not coming in because the bin is already full.

To resolve this issue, take out the filter, clean it thoroughly, and replace it. Now your Roomba should no longer show the same error.


Does Roomba go back to base when full?

Yes, any Roomba having the self-emptying goes back to the base when its dustbin is full. There it empties its contents and resumes cleaning.

Is Roomba self-emptying worth it?

Yes, Roomba self-emptying is definitely worth it because it saves a lot of time and manual effort to empty the bin every time it’s full.

Can I reuse my Roomba bag?

No, ideally, you should not reuse your Roomba bag. But there are third-party options on Amazon that sell reusable Roomba bags. We can’t say they are reliable, but you can give them a try.

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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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