How To Keep Robot Vacuum From Getting Stuck Under Furniture?

2024-05-20

robot vacuum cleaner working near couch

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend an average of 1.89 hours per day on household activities like housework and cleaning. Homeowners who wish to spend less time cleaning their living spaces turn to devices like robot vacuum cleaners, which automatically navigate around furniture to keep homes spotless.

While these appliances are convenient, using them can be frustrating as they can sometimes get stuck on thresholds or under couches, and removing them from these situations can be an additional hassle. Smart vacuums may even struggle to work their way around bar stools, dining chairs, and furniture with intricate bases. However, there are effective solutions and technologies that manufacturers like ECOVACS have designed to prevent these problems from occurring.

Why Does Your Robot Vacuum Get Stuck Under the Couch?

Robot vacuums can get stuck under couches if they have low clearance or uneven legs, when the device’s sensors misjudge the height or depth of the couch, or if the vacuum’s brushes or suction mechanisms catch onto the couch fabric. Sometimes slippery hardwood floors under the couch can even reduce traction by making the wheels spin without moving the robot.

The most common reason that these devices can get stuck under couches is because they’re navigating tight spaces that are usually lower than the height of the device. The vacuum then gets wedged between the floor and the underside of the couch and can’t reverse out. Other culprits include crossbars, leg supports, or other structural components that restrict the machine’s movement.

In other instances, the device may stall or shut down while attempting to find a path through a mix of items like pet toys, remote controls, or wires stored under the couch. The spinning brushes or suction unit can catch onto upholstery tassels or a loose skirt, preventing your vacuum from moving. Older models of robot vacuum cleaners may stop mid-clean because they’re low on battery and can’t return to the charging dock.

How To Keep Robot Vacuum From Getting Stuck Under Furniture?

There are several ways to stop your robot vacuum cleaner from getting stuck under furniture, especially if your main problems are low-clearance couches or the sensors miscalculating the space between the couch and the floor.

Adjusting Vacuum Sensors

Regularly clean your robot vacuum cleaner, and pay special attention to the sensors to ensure accurate obstacle detection. If the robot vacuum has a calibration option, use it to improve sensor accuracy. You can try partially taping over cliff sensors by using opaque tape to make them less sensitive to low-clearance furniture. Some models allow slight tilting of ultrasonic sensors to adjust the detection range. Another option is modifying wheel sensor settings via firmware updates or mechanical adjustments. Manufacturers may even release updates to improve navigation and sensor sensitivity.

Physical Barriers

Put heavy books, boxes, or objects like foam pool noodles or PVC pipes along the base of the couch to physically block your robot vacuum’s access to the area. Place magnetic strips or boundary tape under furniture edges to create invisible barriers that your robot vacuum will detect and not cross. Try using virtual wall emitters or boundary beacons that send out signals to define a restriction zone.

robot vacuum cleaner with no-go zone setting on app

Virtual Walls

If your robot vacuum cleaner persistently gets stuck under a couch or other furniture, you can use its mapping technology to create virtual no-go zones or barriers in the companion app to prevent it from accessing the couch area. Use digital room dividers in the mapping feature to set up barriers in front of problematic areas under the couch. You can even exclude entire rooms with low-profile furniture from your appliance’s cleaning routine using these features.

Furniture Adjustments

Open paths between items of furniture to allow your smart vacuum to navigate through your home, and avoid creating spaces narrower than the robot’s width. Use cable organizers, clips, or cord covers to keep cables off the floor. Clear away small items like toys or shoes, and organize chairs or bar stools in groups to free up floor space during cleaning sessions. Raise the height of low-profile furniture with risers, caster wheels, or leg extensions to give the device more space to work. When buying new furniture, ensure it has at least 4 inches of clearance and purchase tables with taller legs or fewer horizontal bars.

Custom Settings on Vacuums

Robot vacuums have built-in features like obstacle avoidance or accessories to control cleaning paths. Users can create and save multiple maps for different floors and define custom cleaning routes for specific areas or activate edge-cleaning mode to focus on cleaning along the edges and avoid low-profile furniture. Other options include spot-cleaning mode, in which the device will work on small areas and ignore other regions. Use accessories like magnetic strips or virtual wall emitters to create physical and invisible barriers to block access to tricky furniture.

How To Stop My DEEBOT From Going Under The Couch?

If your ECOVACS DEEBOT routinely gets caught under couches and sofas because it’s taller than the space under these items of furniture, there are specific features and accessories you can use to prevent it from going to these unwanted areas and getting stuck. The ECOVACS HOME App allows you to map your home and set up no-go zones around areas you want to the device to avoid cleaning, which is especially useful for larger sofas.

robot vacuum cleaner avoiding chair legs

However, if you own an older ECOVACS DEEBOT that doesn’t come with these options, or works on the “bump and go” principle, you can use place furniture blockers in front of your couch. The vacuum will then detect the blocker and avoid it, or bump into it and change course to clean another area. If you’re in the market for a new device, buy a slim vacuum cleaner that can access spaces that are a minimum of 4 inches high.

FAQ

Can I adjust my robot vacuum settings to avoid certain areas?

Yes, you can adjust your robot vacuum settings to avoid certain areas in your home. Set up no-go zones via the device’s mobile app, create physical barriers like magnetic strips, or use virtual wall emitters. You can also schedule room-specific cleaning and define custom-cleaning zones for targeted and efficient cleaning.

What routine maintenance should I perform on my robot vacuum?

Empty the dustbin after each use, unless you have a self-emptying vacuum, in which case you can do this less frequently. Clean filters weekly, and replace them every few months. Regularly check the underside of your robot vacuum as it may get stuck under furniture if wheels and brushes have picked up too much long hair while cleaning. Make sure you wipe sensors with a dry cloth, and check for software updates to keep the vacuum running efficiently.

Do robot vacuums have sensors to avoid getting stuck?

Robot vacuums generally have four types of sensors. Their obstacle sensors, either infrared or ultrasonic, help them detect and navigate around furniture. They have cliff sensors so they don’t fall down stairs or ledges, bump sensors that signal collisions and redirect the device, and camera or LiDAR sensors to map the environment for smooth navigation.

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