Can A Robot Vacuum Avoid And Clean Up Dog Poop?

2023-07-28

Dog and boy playing in a living room as a deebot robot vacuum charges in docking station nearby

Let’s imagine a scenario. You’ve got your spick and span smart vacuum, perfect for handling your daily debris. You tell it to run a cleaning cycle, until it runs into a pile-up — and not the highway kind. Surprise poops and throw-up are the bane of pet parents’ lives, and if you’re investing in a robotic vacuum, you need to know that it won’t be ruined by sucking up and spreading around a big mess left behind by your pet. In this guide, we’ll go over exactly what to look for in a specialized robot vacuum that can effectively avoid pet poops.

How Do Robot Vacuums Avoid Poop?

 

Obstacle Recognition Sensors

A combination of training and technological features helps robot vacuums to steer clear of objects like poop and other pet waste. To begin with, they are trained with image sets of objects commonly found in households so they can easily recognize things like shoes, cables, fabrics, socks and chair legs.

Secondly, smart vacuums don’t have dedicated ‘poop sensors’, but they use cameras, lidar and LED sensors to create a 3D-like image of things in its path. For instance, ECOVACS’ DEEBOTS use AIVI 3D technology and an astronomy-grade RGB camera to identify objects 1. Then, artificial intelligence-based technologies help them understand in real time how to deal with unique obstacles they haven’t encountered before.
 

Deebot robot vacuum cleaner detecting a golf club cover lying on the ground as a man inspecting a golf club sits nearby

Mapping And Navigation Abilities

Most robotic vacuum cleaners are able to create 2D maps of home layouts. Some can even create 3D maps showing the exact locations and dimensions of furniture and walkways. They do this generally with laser sensors.

Let’s take ECOVACS’ TrueMapping technology as an example, which combines lidar with a DToF laser (similar to the tech used in autonomous cars) which empowers DEEBOTs to plot the most efficient course through your home, navigate tight spaces and name rooms by recognizing furniture types.

This is the same technology that helps robotic floor cleaners determine the height and depths of objects and ‘see’ things as small as 2mm across in the dark, then find the best way around it to avoid touching the mess while effectively cleaning the surrounding area.

Cameras And App Control

Many automatic vacuum cleaners also have cameras that show the robot’s P.O.V. from the companion app. In the ECOVACS HOME APP, for instance, users can use the Home Monitoring function to see a live video feed or do two-way voice calls to talk to their pet.

Ecovacs deebot smart vacuum avoiding a virtual boundary set in front of a bathroom

If, for example, you see on the camera that your pup has soiled a room, you can set virtual boundaries that the robot can’t pass. This is helpful if you’d rather the smart vacuum cleaner avoid the area containing dog poop altogether.

What Are The Best DEEBOT Robot Vacuum Cleaners For Pet Owners?

 

DEEBOT T20 OMNI

Deebot t20 omni robot floor cleaner mopping marble floor in a kitchen

The first auto vacuum from ECOVACS that is a fantastic all-round robot vacuum for pet owners is DEEBOT T20 OMNI. It is equipped with high-tech room mapping and obstacle avoidance software, TrueMapping 2.0 and TrueDetect 3D. A sweeper and mop in one, mop pads are self-cleaned with 131 °F water and hot-air dried for the most hygienic and odor-free mopping. Washable filters and auto-empty dust collection eradicate allergens from the home, which is great for those with allergies to pet fur. The DEEBOT T20 OMNI is equipped with an all-rubber brush that agitates strands of fur or tracked-in dirt to extract them from soft surfaces like rugs.

DEEBOT T10 PLUS

Deebot t10 plus from ecovacs spraying air freshener spray in a bedroom

ECOVACS knows how important it is to have a home that smells good, especially for pet owners. DEEBOT T10 PLUS comes with the Air Freshener feature, which disperses a refreshing aroma throughout your home while it cleans. Like the T20 OMNI, it also does automatic dust collection, trapping debris, fur and dust in its hefty 3.2-litre dust bag. It filters allergens and other particles that your pet can carry in from outdoors using three types of filters: filter net, high-efficiency filter and sponge.

DEEBOT X1 TURBO

Bunny eating beside a deebot x1 robot vacuum as it vacuums and mops hardwood floor

The DEEBOT X1 TURBO is a great cost-effective robot vacuum for pet parents. This model utilizes TrueMapping 2.0 and AIVI 3D to detect and maneuver around pet poops. It also uses three different filters to purify the air. The X1 TURBO features two separate clean and dirty water tanks and even refills its own water from the docking station into the smart vacuum’s reservoir, requiring less human intervention. And if your pup is sensitive to sound, rest assured that this smart vacuum operates as quietly as 66dB, which is similar to the sound of two people talking in a public place.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Robot Vacuum For Pet Waste

Dog and two cats watching an ecovacs deebot smart vacuum sweep up pet fur

Cleaning Efficacy

Object avoidance is just one part of what makes a robot vacuum good for pet households. It’s also important that it can effectively suck up hair, dirt, and food crumbs left behind by dogs or cats. Pet owners should check the suction power and if there are any specialized tools included. For example, we offer a Pet Care Kit that is compatible with DEEBOTs.

Filtration System

Another element of a pet-friendly smart vacuum is a good filtration system. Different particles have different micron sizes, so having multiple filters or a filter that deals with various types of pollutants is a good sign. For example, the DEEBOT T10 is equipped with a high-efficiency Air Filter. The washable filter cartridge offers triple micro-dust filtration, effectively blocking 99% of inhaled allergens as small as 0.3–0.5μm 2.

Compatibility With Pet Hair

Next, the brushes and other vacuum configurations should be designed to be able to handle, or durable enough to endure, pet hair tangles without breaking down. Some DEEBOT models feature a Tangle-Free Brush that prevents tangling. All DEEBOT robots also feature Tangle Detection.

Dustbin Capacity And Self-cleaning Mechanisms

The dustbin should be large enough to run for multiple cleaning sessions without manual emptying. As already mentioned, self-cleaning and self-emptying are not just convenient for pet owners but reduce the amount of contact between the user and allergens like fur. After the dust bag in DEEBOT base stations are completely filled, the bag seals independently so it can be removed without releasing any particles back into the home. Plus, if the robot vacuum is on mop-only mode and encounters a bit of pet waste, it can thoroughly wash and dry its own mop pads without a hitch.

Quiet Operation

Another characteristic to look for when comparing robot vacuums compatible with pets is noise level.

DEEBOT automatic vacuum cleaners range from 65 to 69 decibels when operating, making them no louder than a normal conversation and thus less likely to scare pets.

Maintenance And Durability

Auto vacuums co-habiting with pets may have to endure some abuse, such as being stepped on by a stray paw, being bumped or coming in contact with a wet mane. Check what kind of materials the robot vacuum is made from and how protected the inner components are from the elements to ensure they can handle daily wear-and-tear.

No-go Zones

Most models of auto vacuums available on the market offer the ability to set no-go zones, whether through physical boundary tape or virtual boundaries. This personalization feature makes it easy for the user to signal the robot vacuum to stay away from ad-hoc pet messes for optimal poop avoidance or permanent zones like a pup’s bed or cat’s litter box, if desired.

How To Clean Poop Inside A Robot Vacuum

What if your auto vacuum already ran over a poop-y situation? Don’t worry, you don’t have to decommission your robot vacuum just yet.

First, get some gloves. Ensure the device is completely powered off (to be extra safe, unplug the charging station, too) and remove the battery to make sure there isn’t any dirt or water around it. Wipe the surface with a damp cloth and empty the dustbin. If solid waste has got inside the suction area, use a plastic tool to remove as much as you can before wiping the area with a damp cloth. If your filters are water-washable, then wash those and the brushes with warm, soapy water.

Allow all the components to dry before reassembling the smart vacuum cleaner and giving it a full charge. If you have a DEEBOT, you can power the robot back on and use the mobile app to check that all the parts are functioning correctly.

FAQ

 

Which robot vacuum cleaners avoid poop?

Robotic vacuum cleaners with sensitive cameras and sensors, usually RGB cameras, laser sensors and DToF lasers, can accurately gauge the height and depth of many common domestic objects. These are the best robot vacuum cleaners for avoiding poop. They are also generally programmed with an image library of these common obstacles, including animal waste.

What do you do if a robot vacuum runs over pet poop?

If your robot vacuum cleaner ran over poop, immediately turn the device off to shorten the waste’s journey and minimize damage. Empty the robot’s dust reservoir and use a tool to clean the mess from the brushes and suction vent. Allow everything to fully dry before reassembling the robot vacuum and turning it on to see if it runs properly.

How do robot vacuums avoid pet waste?

Smart vacuum cleaners avoid different kinds of pet waste using cameras, lasers and LED sensors and pre-programmed training images to detect, recognize and avoid pet poop. They then use their A.I.-based navigational technology to go around the mess and continue cleaning.
 

Disclaimer(s):
1. Different models have different functions. Advanced models like DEEBOT X2 and X1 Family are pet-friendly as they are equipped with AIVI 3D obstacle avoidance technology, AI computing, and a RGB camera with Autopilot Tech – meaning they can detect and navigate around pets, preventing potential harm or disturbance. The effectiveness of the pet waste avoidance feature is affected by indoor lighting brightness, feces shape, softness, and color. We suggest promptly cleaning it by hand. Please don't solely rely on the robot vacuum pet poop avoidance function.
2. The data comes from ECOVACS laboratory.

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