How to Clean Roomba 980

How to clean Roomba 980

Learn how to clean the Roomba 980 in this guide properly. I’ll share a step-by-step guide on how to keep the different components clean.

Note: The steps here are also applicable to the Roomba 960 since it also shares the same architecture.

Robot vacuums, more than any other type of cleaner, are particular with dirt. Any accumulation on critical parts like the brushes or wheels will result in unnecessary friction, accelerating wear – requiring you to replace components sooner than necessary.


Tools you’ll need

Tools you need for cleaning the Roomba 980

  1. Philips screwdriver: The primary tool you’ll need to remove the base place and side brush.
  2. Mini screwdriver set: It’s a handy device for removing the smaller bolts in the robot. You’ll need this for removing components like the side wheels for a more thorough clean.
  3. Gloves: Protects your hands from dust.
  4. Ziplock bag (optional): It’s excellent for storing robot parts and bolts to avoid misplacing them.

How to clean Roomba 980 filter

Roomba 980 dust bin

Before I share the steps, the Roomba 980 has a HEPA filter with thicker material, so it filters better than the Roomba 675 or 690. But this filter isn’t washable.

It’s essential to regularly clean the filter for the robot to run at its peak. A cloFrogged filter will hamper airflow and affect pick up.

1. Remove the dustbin.

Roomba 980 slide out dustbin

2. Empty the contents if it’s filled with dirt.

Empty Roomba 980 dustbin

Roomba 980’s wide opening makes it easy to dispose of dirt. You’ll notice part of the motor (on the right) is inside, so you can’t rinse it with water.

Most debris will come out. If there are any scraps inside, use a handheld vacuum with a brush attachment to capture these particles.

3. Open the cover, then pull the filter out.

Roomba 980 HEPA filter

Tap the HEPA filter on a trash bin to dislodge dirt. A better alternative is using a handheld with a brush attachment to clean debris trapped in the folds.

With regular cleaning, the filter will last three or four months.

An extra step is cleaning the dust bin. This is where a handheld will come in handy. The Roomba 980’s dustbin is big enough for the brush tool to fit. It cuts down the cleaning time significantly.

How to clean Roomba 980 side brush

Roomba 980 side brush out

The side brush takes lots of abuse and often is neglected. Hair and dust will accumulate and put more strain on the motor, thus accelerating wear.

Cleaning the side brush is straightforward with just a Philips screwdriver.

Removing the Roomba 980 side brush

  1. Loosen the bolt.
  2. Pull out the side brush.
  3. Remove any hair underneath. Check the bristles for any buildup, then clean.
  4. Reattach the side brush, then tighten the bolt.

How to clean Roomba 980 main brush

Roomba 980 rollers out

iRobot is unique because it has two rollers. Since they own the patent, you see this technology in other brands.

The Roomba 980 utilizes rubber extractors that are easier to maintain.

Here are the steps

  1. Push these two tabs to lift the brush guard.
  2. Remove each of the two extractors.
  3. Check the axles for debris accumulation and clean if needed.
  4. Long hair (over 5″) will wrap on the brush. Use a scissor to remove any wrapping on it.
  5. Wipe the brush housing with a clean towel or use a handheld vacuum to clean any dirt buildup.

It’s essential to keep these extractors clean. Any accumulation will cause unnecessary wear and prematurely burn out the motor.

Don’t forget to wipe down the brush assembly.

Roomba 980 brush roller assembly

Use a dry, clean cloth to wipe this area. Since the dirt detect sensor is in this area, don’t use a damp cloth or risk damaging it.

Cleaning the Roomba 980 drop sensors

The Roomba 980 has six drop sensors underneath (blue arrow).

Roomba 980 drop sensors

You’ll need a clean, dry towel to clean these sensors. Don’t soak it in alcohol or water. Using something wet may damage the circuitry underneath.

To clean, flip the robot. Use a clean towel to prevent scuffing on the robot’s surface. Then wipe all six sensors.

Don’t forget to wipe the tracking sensor (yellow arrow), again, with a dry towel. This sensor is a fail-safe measure, as a back-up, just if it wanders into a low-light zone.

How to clean Roomba 980 wheels

Roomba 980 caster wheel out

Most Roomba products (except for the S9) have three wheels. One caster wheel for steering and two side wheels.

Steps to cleaning the Roomba 980 caster wheel

  1. Pull out the caster wheel assembly.
  2. Remove the pin from the assembly to remove the wheel.
  3. Wipe the wheel and pin with a clean towel.
  4. Clean the assembly to remove any dirt buildup.
  5. Reattach the wheel and pin.
  6. Place the caster wheel back on the robot.

To remove the pin, pull out the wheel, then slide out the pin.

Roomba 980 pin out from caster wheel

Clips hold all the components here, so there’s no need for any tools to disassemble.

Hair can wrap around this area and cause unnecessary friction and wear.

Steps to cleaning the Roomba 980 side wheel

Roomba 980 side wheel

There are two ways to clean the side wheels. The first option is regular maintenance wipe down, only wiping the visible portions of it.

Grab a clean towel, preferably a microfiber, then wipe the tracks and sides. Carefully rotate the wheel to clean every part.

The second option will provide a more thorough clean. This involves removing the base place and each of the side wheels.

1. Remove the side brush

Loosen one bolt holding the side brush in place to remove the side brush.

2. Remove the base plate

Roomba 980 removing base plate screws

Loosen two bolts holding the base plate (blue arrows), then two for the battery cover (blue arrows), since part of the battery cover holds it in place.

Roomba 980 base plate out

If you only remove the two bolts, it won’t come off. After taking out all the bolts, remove the battery cover then the base plate.

Once you’ve taken out the base plate, look for any dirt accumulation and tidy up these areas.

Roomba 980 debris on side wheel assembly

One option is using a microfiber towel. My preference would be a handheld vacuum with a crevice attachment – it cleans these spaces really well.

3. Loosen bolts holding the side wheel

Roomba 980 side wheel bolts

Grab a smaller Philips screwdriver to remove the bolts holding each side wheel. There are three.

Don’t loosen it all the way since it has enough leeway to remove the assembly without completely taking out the screws.

Once the wheels are out, and there’s lots of space to do a meticulous clean.

I like using a microfiber towel because dust sticks to it like a magnet. It’s soft, minimizing the risk of scratching or damaging any of the robot’s components.

With the base plate out, wipe all the other components with visible dirt. Again, you could use a handheld with a brush attachment for this task.

Don’t forget to check the area underneath the side wheel assembly.

Roomba 980 debris underneath side wheel

Dirt may buildup here as well. Again, use a handheld vacuum to clean.

Reattach all the components in this order – side wheels, base plate, battery cover, and side brush.

Give the robot’s exterior a final wipe down with a clean microfiber towel to remove any fingerprints (if you’re not wearing gloves), and it will be ready for the next cleaning task.

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About the author: Garrick, the visionary behind Cordless Vacuum Guide, brings over a decade of hands-on expertise in cordless vacuum testing to his insightful reviews showcased on this platform. Beyond his passion for empowering consumers with informed choices, he cherishes precious moments with his family, exploring global cuisines and exploring different horizons with his beloved wife and son. Follow him on Youtube, Tiktok, Facebook, and Instagram.