Automated robotic vacuum cleaning devices, Roombas, are a blessing for those with a hectic routine. They are such amazing gadgets that you get your home cleaned perfectly without lifting a finger! They have technologically advanced navigation systems which map your house and clean all the spots spotlessly. 

However, even with such high-tech soft-wares minor faults in the system can result in annoying inconvenience. Out of several minor faults that can occur in your Roomba one is, that it keeps cleaning the same area over and over again moving in circular motions. To really understand why this occurs, we first need to have a better insight into the navigation software Roombas. 

Why Does My Roomba Keep Cleaning The Same Area?

Navigation techniques

AWARE Robotic Intelligence System

Roombas use a system consisting of many sensitive sensors and microprocessors. This system, known as the AWARE Robotic Intelligence System, utilizes Infrared radiations to navigate and learn the map of your house. The device radiates the signal and waits for the signal to bump into a surface and then return back. This helps it to approximate the distance it needs to cover and the cleaning time. It learns the map of your house while simultaneously cleaning, but it's better to just have a test run the first time you use it.  

Fall sensors

These also use the same Infrared technology to sense any cliffs or obstacles and back up and change their direction.

 VSLAM (Vision Simultaneous Localization and Mapping)

It is a recent technology used in iRobot Roomba 980. It is unlike the previous infrared technology that it is much faster, sensitive, and accurate. As the name suggests, it uses a visual camera, to navigate the area to be cleaned. It has different movements from the usual zigzag or circular movements and follows straight, organized lines. So, there is a much less chance that it will miss a spot or repeat over the same spot several times.

The question is, even after such complex, highly sensitive navigation soft-wares why do these devices sometimes keep hovering over the same spot?

Some reasons that your Roomba keeps cleaning the same spot.


If the vacuum encounters hurdles like chair legs, toys, wires, thick carpets, etc, the cliff sensors or bumper sensors can get over-sensitized and confuse the device. This results in the device doing back and forth motions cleaning the same spot again and again.

Improper Lighting.

Most automated robotic vacuums require properly lit areas to navigate properly. Dim lighting can cause them to repeatedly clean the same area or move to a different spot without properly finishing the first spot.

Special Dust Sensor.

Some Roombas have this special ultra-sensitive feature, which detects even the most minute dust particles. This can cause the gadget to hover over the same area over and over again because it thinks it has to clean it perfectly.

Missing spots.

The vacuum might occasionally miss some spots. Before completing the cycle it goes back to clean the missing spots. This might form an image that it is cleaning the same spots again.

Infrared interference from other devices.

Infrared rays from virtual walls, other devices using the same technology such as headphones, etc. interfere with the Roomba’s infrared radiations rendering it confused and prone to forget its navigation pathway. This might be the reason it keeps cleaning the same spot.

Dirty Sensors.

Cliff sensors – located on the underside of the front bumper are the easiest to get dusty.

Bumper Sensors – it is located at the bumper itself.

Front Caster Wheel 

If it gets dirty, the overall movement of the device is compromised. Mostly hair, pet fur, cords, etc. get stuck in it.

Dirt Detect Technology.

If the Roombas find a relatively messier spot than usual, it activates the Dirt Detect Technology, which leads to repeated cleaning of the same spot until the dust is completely cleared.

VSLAM Camera. 

VSLAM (Vision Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), uses a camera to map. The surface of the camera can get dirty and hazy which will interfere with the navigation

Ways to avoid getting your Roomba cleaning the same spot.

Remove tiny objects 

Clear up the floor of any objects which might become an obstacle like toys, wires, wrappers, etc. Lift the chairs on the table or move them to a different area.

Properly lit room

To avoid confusing the Roomba provide it with proper lighting so, it can perform its job efficiently

Clean the sensors

Both the cliff and bumper sensors can be cleaned using a slightly damp, soft cloth

VSLAM Camera

Just like the sensors, the camera can also be cleaned with a soft damp cloth

Caster Wheel 

Turn the Roomba upside down and see if the wheel is clean. If not, remove it from the device using the manual given with the device, and properly clean it with a soft cloth or brushes to remove any hair or threads, etc entangled in it.

Clear up interference

Remove any devices causing infra-red interference, like headsets, other home bases, etc. 

Virtual walls

Create virtual walls for areas with uneven surfaces, thick carpets, or have a lot of tiny obstacles.

Turn off the Dirt-Detect

If you think the house is dustier than usual turn off the software from the app. Then when one cycle is completed, turn it on and run it for another cycle. This way a huge chunk of dirt won’t assimilate and interfere with the navigation of the device.


Most of the problems related to Roombas are due to obstacles or minor faults with the sensors. It is always a good idea to declutter your house before you run your cycle of cleaning. Many recent models have extremely advanced navigation technology which is enhancing with every passing day. Roombas have evolved from the usual circular motions to straight, parallel lines now. All thanks to technology. Keeping in mind the various benefits we get from Roombas, some minor inconveniences like the one discussed above can be ignored.