Does Roomba Ruin the Carpet? Pros and Cons

A Roomba is a circular robotic vacuum that does the job for you – or it’s supposed to, at least. Before you get one of these futuristic devices, there are quite a few considerations to make – one of which is the effect it will have on your carpet.

So, does Roomba ruin the carpet? Roombas are typically okay with most carpets. However, depending on the type of carpet, the color, and the age of it, you might want to think about going back to your old vacuum. 

Before you jump to conclusions, let’s dive into the topic and examine the pros and cons of owning a Roomba.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Roomba

Roombas came out a few years ago, and with them came a storm of doubt and excitement. Some of the most common questions asked include:

  • Would these robots really work to clean our houses while we’re away at work? 
  • Does a Roomba ruin your carpet and cost you more money in the long run? 
  • Is a Roomba worth the investment?

We’ll answer all of these questions – and more – later in the article. But first, let’s discuss the pros and cons. 

Pros of Owning a Roomba

Here are some of the well-known pros of owning a Roomba:

  • Roombas clean, and they do it quickly. Right when you turn it on, this little machine will whir to life and start shooting off in any given direction. While it might seem random, these devices truly have a mind of their own.
  • They come with a sensor to tell them where borders are established. This means you don’t have to worry about it jumping down the stairs or running aimlessly into a cabinet. While people tended to have issues with this when they first came out, Roombas are now much more civilized.
  • A Roomba can sense when an area isn’t fully cleaned yet. It won’t run over an extra-dirty spot without doubling back over it. When you’re manually vacuuming, you know where those spots are — clumps of dog hair, dirt from the kids playing outside, and even crumbs. Roombas will make sure to tackle those pesky places.
  • You can set and forget a Roomba. While it requires a recharge from time to time, you can still leave it on when you leave the house. How nice would it be to run to the store and come back to a clean carpet? It doesn’t get much better than that! Especially for those of us who work for 8 to 10 hours a day who never want to touch a vacuum again.
  • Roombas can extend the life of your carpet. Dust and debris left behind tend to eat away and slowly deteriorate your rugs and carpet. Since the Roomba chews that unwanted debris out of the equation, your carpet will last a bit longer. It also removes nasty odors that build up over time.

There’s no doubt about it: Roombas come with a lot of pros. 

However, with this handful of useful features comes a few unfortunate downsides.

Cons of Owning a Roomba

Here are some of the well-known cons of owning a Roomba:

  • Many customers notice that the Roomba’s sensor is a bit finicky at times. It’ll often skip carpet if it’s dark enough to register as a ledge or barrier that it feels shouldn’t be passed. You can bypass this problem by putting tape over the sensor, but the Roomba will still leap off of any stairs that you might have. It might also not know when to navigate out of a corner.
  • The Roomba isn’t designed to deep-clean a rug or carpet. You shouldn’t rely on these robotic vacuums to clean your carpet if you’ve spilled Kool-Aid on it right before your landlord comes over for an inspection. These vacuums only suck up surface-level things, like dust and crumbs.
  • They don’t understand electrical cables, clothes, and low areas. You might notice that your phone charging cable or your PC’s power cord gets unplugged randomly. This is because the Roomba can’t sense anything too small. Clothes and cables also have a good chance of slowing down or completely stopping the Roomba in its tracks. Then there’s the possibility of it getting in a bit over its head and jamming underneath a couch that it can’t get unstuck from.
  • Roombas have been known to ruin carpet and rugs. If your rug is old, the Roomba can rip out loose fibers, cause spotty patches, and occasionally completely destroy your carpet. They also have a chance of getting caught on the frills of a rug, tearing your investment apart at the seams.

So, can a Roomba ruin your carpet? Find out below if yours is at risk.

Will Buying a Roomba Ruin Your New Carpet?

Yes and no. 

Roombas are designed to vacuum, which should be a clear indication of the surfaces that it deals with. Hardwood, tile, rugs, and carpets are the main candidates, as these floor types are the most popular options found in homes.

That being said, even if yours falls on the list, it might not be safe from this seemingly harmless self-powered vacuum.

New carpet, as long as it’s light in color, tends to be safe from possible harm. The reason that the color matters is due to the aforementioned con regarding the sensor. 

If the Roomba thinks it sees a ledge or barrier instead of a carpet, your carpet won’t be cleaned at all. While this isn’t directly damaging, it ruins the point of owning a Roomba in the first place.

Another reason that the Roomba could ruin your carpet is if it has loose, deep fibers. 

Old carpets and rugs start to fall apart at the fibers, leaving a frayed appearance and fluffy feeling. This is when you know it’s time for a new carpet; however, it might be a bit too expensive at the time. 

Unfortunately, a Roomba might speed up the process. If left unattended, it can tear apart every fiber, leaving your carpet looking more like an old rug in a dumpster rather than flooring in your living space.

Finally, the edge of your carpet might be at risk as well. If it’s rounded, you should be safe. However, some carpets have a flat edge that touches tile or hardwood. If this edge sticks up too high, you Roomba might take one of two routes.

  • It might see it as an impassable barrier and skip the carpet completely. 
  • It might tear the rug up with its hard-surfaced brushes.

Most Roombas have abrasive brushes. They tend to work in favor of a Roomba, pulling debris from your rugs, tiles, and so on. 

But while it’s almost always a benefit, the brushes have problems that are worth a section of their own.

Are a Roomba’s Brushes Too Abrasive?

The brushes on the bottom of a Roomba vacuum cleaner are made to remove debris and dirt. They’re comparable to a broom with stiff bristles. 

These brushes are generally harmless, but old and brittle carpets and rugs can have a major issue when they come in contact with the brushes.

Unfortunately, the brushes can really dig into a carpet. This process will ultimately spell the end of it if the Roomba goes over a surface too frequently. You might even start to notice patches that look like a small discoloration. If you rub your hand over the area and it doesn’t go back to normal, you’re in trouble.

The biggest problem with these brushes is that they don’t feel too abrasive to the touch. It’s the repetitive motions that cause it to destroy unsuspecting carpets and rugs. Always keep an eye on yours, even if they’re brand new. The last thing you’d want is a Roomba eating away a new investment!

On the flip side, the brushes of a Roomba favor its beneficial quality more times than not. As is usually the case with product reviews, we typically hear about critical concerns rather than positive experiences.

When someone is satisfied with a product, they tend to use it without considering leaving any feedback. 

However, an angry, unsatisfied customer will do anything in their power to bring the product to its demise. The same issue applies to a Roomba. 

Generally speaking, though, Roombas have thrived as one of the most popular vacuums in the world and should work fine with your carpet. 

A Few Other Concerns About Roombas

There are definitely more pros to owning a Roomba than there are cons. 

After all, people use them every day around the globe without the company going out of business. However, there are a few concerns that might arise in some instances.

For example, some Roombas have a mind of their own. I don’t mean this literally, but they can occasionally malfunction in ways that make them seem a bit independent. 

Sometimes like to charge full-speed ahead right into a closet door. This doesn’t usually cause any problems, but it might chip off a little bit of paint if the paint is old and withered. New paint and all wood never really show any issues, though.

Another rare issue is when these vacuums inhale shoelaces, cords, and strings. If you buy a Roomba, you should make it a regular habit to remove excess stuff off of the floor. 

Try to leave the house as if you’re currently in the process of vacuuming. Put your clothes on the bed, don’t leave food or drinks on the ground, and certainly don’t leave sharp objects lying around.

The last concern to think about is the fact that Roombas don’t last forever. They need to be charged. If you have a large house, be prepared to recharge the vacuum two or three times to complete a full cycle. 

Compared to manually vacuuming the whole house yourself, this isn’t much of an issue – especially since some models can head to their docking bay and charge themselves!

How Can You Make Sure That a Roomba Won’t Damage Your Carpet?

Okay, so you want a new Roomba – but how can you be sure that your carpet is a safe zone? 

Start by checking the condition of your carpets and rugs around the house. If they’re new or like-new, then you should be safe. 

Review all of the areas where surfaces change, such as between bathrooms and walkways. If you’re worried, just leave certain areas blocked off behind closed doors.

It’s also important to keep in mind that a Roomba isn’t a carpet repair product. 

By no means should you expect your carpet to look brand new after a few uses. It simply cleans the surface, lengthening the lifespan and reducing potential odors. You wouldn’t expect a carwash to make your car brand new, but it still looks, feels, and smells much better!

You should also watch the vacuum during the first few days of its performance. There are clear indications early on where you’ll notice if the robot is doing its job safely. You should definitely see vacuum lines, just as you would with a manual vacuum. Try the previously mentioned reverse hand technique to see if it’ll go back to normal.

Again, Roombas haven’t become popular because they shred people’s carpets. They clean very well, and the company constantly adds new features and adjustments to help out their customers. There are all sorts of different models, so it’s always a good idea to view your options before buying the cheapest version.

If you’re truly concerned about a Roomba messing up your carpet, block it off in a specific room. 

Give it a few days, as the vacuum won’t double over too often if it senses that the carpet is clean. You’ll notice changes in cleanliness or damage within a week. 

Once you’ve verified its safety, feel free to let it roam around the house to do its job.

Is a Roomba Really a Time-Saver?

The truth is that if it works for you in the sense that it doesn’t damage your carpet, a Roomba is a huge time-saver for most homeowners. 

It’s no secret that they tend to cost two to three times the amount of a manual vacuum, but there’s merit to the price.

Roombas are popular because they take the labor out of your hands. After working or running around all day, vacuuming isn’t necessarily a fun, relaxing activity. Many of us put it off for weeks or even months sometimes. 

However, a Roomba can clean every single day. This results in a constantly clean carpet, making it well worth the cost. It also means that you don’t ever have to see debris building up since it’s removed before it becomes a hassle.

The only reason that a Roomba might not save you time is if the sensor malfunctions. In these cases, you might notice that it doesn’t clean certain areas as well. 

Whether it’s the dark carpet or a cable that’s in the path, you might have to bust out the old manual vacuum every now and then. 

But even if this happens, you’ll never have to vacuum your entire house over and over, as the robot will do it for you.

Roombas are massive time-savers that’ll take away the concern of last-minute parties, family invitations, and other circumstances when the carpet needs to be cleaned. 

Instead of vacuuming the whole house, you can worry about cooking food or preparing for your guests. 

The simple peace of mind knowing that your carpet, rug, tiles, or hardwood floors are always being cleaned can bring a substantial amount of stress relief to your life. 

Is Roomba for You?

You’ve read it all, you’ve done the research, and you’ve investigated the quality of your carpet. 

So, is a Roomba really going to be the life-changing, time-saving, breath of fresh air that the company makes it out to be?

It all depends on how much surface area you’re dealing with and how much time you want to invest in manually vacuuming your whole house. 

There are plenty of people who live in an apartment with less than 600 square feet of living space. If you’re one of these people, you should only get a Roomba if you dread vacuuming yourself.

On the other hand, if you have a 2,000 square foot house that takes 45 minutes to vacuum manually, you might want to consider getting yourself a Roomba. 

Sure, they’re not perfect. But if your carpet can handle the brushes and pulling action, you’ll be more than happy to invest in one of these futuristic robot vacuums.

All in all, Roombas will only damage your carpet if the surface is already on its way out. While nobody wants to expedite the process of buying a new rug or carpet, these machines usually work perfectly fine on surfaces that are in average to excellent condition.

The only question you have to ask yourself now is which Roomba you’ll end up getting. 

There are quite a few to choose from, so do the measurements and take the time to find out the best Roomba for you. Good luck!

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