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How to Empty an iRobot Roomba Robot Vacuum

Written by Kaylee Barber |

How to empty roomba

Struggling to empty your Roomba vacuum cleaner? We’ve put together a guide to emptying some of the most common Roomba vacuums, along with tips for maintaining your robot friend.

Roomba vacuum cleaners are always easy to empty, but the method depends on the model you own. Some of iRobot’s more advanced robot vacuums also now come with the Clean Base system for self-emptying, which has a bagged design.

In this article, we’ll show you how to empty some of the most popular Roomba vacuums, including the standard i-Series, the i+ range, the older 980, and the J series.

How to Empty the Roomba J7 Without Clean Base System

The standard J7 doesn’t come with the Clean Base system, so you’ll need to empty the dust bin manually. Here’s how to empty it:

  1. Press the bin release button that’s located on the side of the Roomba J7. The bin should now slide out of the vacuum.
  2. Take the Roomba bin to an outdoor dustbin. Dust and other debris can escape when you open the bin, so it’s best to avoid emptying it indoors.
  3. Open the Roomba bin door to allow dirt and other debris to fall into the outdoor bin.
  4. Re-insert the bin into the vacuum.

The method above can also be used to access the filter for cleaning, as the filter is located on the side of the bin. You shouldn’t wash this filter with water, but you can tap off loose debris into a bin. Roomba recommends replacing the filter every two months.

How to Empty The Roomba i-Series Without Clean Base System

The following instructions are for emptying the Roomba i7. However, Roomba i-series robot vacuums all have similar dust bins, so the steps are the same for each of these models.

  1. Push the lever on the side of the Roomba to detach the dust container from the body of the vacuum cleaner.
  2. Remove the dust container and take it to an outdoor bin.
  3. Hold the container over the outdoor bin, then push the door release button to open the swing door.
  4. Allow the dirt to fall into the bin.
  5. Re-insert the dust container into the vacuum.

It’s worth noting here that you don’t need to use an outdoor bin when emptying a Roomba. We recommend it to avoid dust and allergens escaping into the air though.

Note: The standard Roomba i-series doesn’t come with a Clean Base system for automatic emptying, so you’ll need to empty the vacuum cleaner manually. If you have a plus model with a Clean Base (e.g. the i7+), or have purchased a Clean Base separately, then follow the instructions below instead.

How to Empty The Roomba i-Plus Series With Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal

If you’ve purchased a Roomba that comes with a Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal system, then you’ll need to change the bag much less frequently than emptying the vacuum. It’s still important to change the bag before it’s overfilled though.

Here’s how to empty the Clean Base system:

  1. Unplug the Roomba Clean Base from the wall.
  2. Get your new bag ready. Roomba bags are not reusable, so you shouldn’t try to empty the old bag.
  3. Lift the old bag out of the Clean Base using the grey tab at the top of the bag. This ensures the bag automatically closes to prevent dust, dirt, and other allergens from escaping.
  4. Slide the new bag into the slots inside the Clean Base. Push the bag down until it’s firmly in place, as this ensures the hole of the bag matches up with the inlet.
  5. Throw away the old bag.

Are Roomba i7+ Clean Base Bags Reusable?

Roomba bags are not designed to be reusable. iRobot claims the bags can last up to 60 days (approximately 30 robot bins) between cleaning, but you should throw them out once full.

How to Empty The Roomba 980

The Roomba 980 was a popular robot vacuum for many years. This model is no longer being sold by Roomba, as it’s been superseded by the i-Series, but plenty are still in circulation.

Here’s how to empty the Roomba 980 (this method also works for the 960):

  1. Press the side button to release the dust container. It should slide out easily.
  2. Take the dust container to an outdoor bin (as dust will escape into the air once you open it).
  3. Hold the dust container over the bin, then open the swing door to empty it.
  4. Re-insert the bin into the vacuum.

Other Tips for Emptying Your Roomba

Now you know how to empty your Roomba vacuum cleaner, here are some more tips for keeping your robot in top condition:

  • Avoid letting the bin get too full, as this can affect performance and eventually cause your Roomba to stop cleaning due to the “Full Bin” sensor. This goes for both the internal dust containers and the Clean Base bags.
  • Dirty or clogged filters can also reduce your Roomba’s cleaning performance. Roomba filters typically can’t be washed, but you can tap off dirt into a bin to remove the worst debris. Once tapping off no longer removes enough dirt, you’ll need to replace the filter.
  • As mentioned throughout this article, we recommend emptying the dust container into an outdoor bin. Like all bagless vacuums, Roomba bins allow allergens to escape into the air during the emptying process. This is also why the Clean Base bags are a more hygienic option – especially if you suffer from allergies.
  • Make sure the full bin sensor is clean whenever you empty the Roomba. You’ll find instructions for this in your vacuum’s manual, but the process usually involves wiping the sensor with a dry, clean cloth.
  • Some Roomba vacuums have washable bins, although you’ll need to remove the filter first. However, other Roomba models have electronics inside the bin, which means they can’t be washed. Make sure you check your vacuum’s manual before washing the bin.


We hope this article has helped you empty your Roomba vacuum cleaner! If there’s a model we’ve missed, or you would like extra help with your Roomba, please let us know using the comments section below.

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