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Mai Pham
December 15, 2023

During my very first few days owning a robot vacuum, I was always concerned about whether it was a good investment. And when I saw it running back and forth a few areas while skipping the other areas, I rolled my eyes and was tempted to send it back and ask for a refund. But good thing I waited. Because it needs a while to learn a house and start to get smart. If you are wondering how long it takes for a robot vacuum to map your house, here’s what I’ve found out.

Generally, it takes a robot vacuum 3 to 5 cleaning sessions to completely map your house. However, for smaller houses or apartments, a robot vacuum can develop a full map in 1 to 3 cleaning sessions. To speed up this process, some robot vacuum models have a quick mapping feature, where they navigate through your home without cleaning.

The robot vacuum is cleaning and maps the house

When having the first run, your robot vacuum might go all around the house in a weird path. To help it collect enough data to develop a full map, there are some things you can do.

Keep The Doors Open

Give your robot vacuum access to all the rooms you want it to clean: bedroom, living room, studio, etc. However, a robot vacuum is not meant to use in your bathroom so make sure you keep your bathroom door closed.

If you have a patio and want your robot to vacuum the patio as well, I recommend putting blocks or some barriers to prevent the robot vacuum from falling, then you can run the vacuum on your patio.

Remove Obstacles

To allow your robot vacuum to map your house effectively, you need to remove all obstacles that can block its way. Because if you don’t, the robot vacuum might not be able to access some areas.

If the obstacles are more permanent-like – such as the bars you install to baby-proof the electric room or powerhouse, don’t remove them. It’s best to just simply pick up your robot vacuum and let it manually run in those rooms instead.

Guide It To Areas It Misses

A robot vacuum goes under furniture

After a few runs, your robot vacuum can develop a full map of your house. In case you have some obstacles around the floor and block some areas, your robot vacuum can miss them.

In this case, you can manually guide it to that area by pointing to the missed area in the map and directing it to run there.

In case the map isn’t developed yet, you can use a few books to create barriers to direct the vacuum to the designated areas.

Make Way For It To Navigate

A robot vacuum cleans under a table

When your furniture is too close to the wall, your robot vacuum will miss a few lines and the corner. If you want your robot vacuum to clean the whole floor and get to the corners, make sure you arrange your furniture a bit to make way for the vacuum to navigate.

From my experience, to allow the vacuum to get into a certain area, the path to that area needs to be wider than the vacuum, around 3 to 5 inches wider on each side. Smaller than that, the vacuum might tell you that it finishes the cleaning as it cannot get around.

Save The Map For Each Floor

For houses with multiple floors, you need to save the map for each floor so that the robot vacuum knows where to go, and where not to so that you can put virtual walls or keep out zones to prevent it from falling.

Can My Robot Vacuum Go To Room That Is Not On The Map?

Robot vacuum is working

Even after your robot vacuum has developed a full map of your house, if you leave the doors open, it still can go to rooms that are not initially on the map. As it will continue learning and updating the map of your house while cleaning.

If you do not wish your robot vacuum to access those rooms, make sure you install virtual walls, close doors or install the Keep Out Zone.

Can I Run The Robot Vacuum In A Room That Isn’t Mapped?

You can manually run your robot vacuum in any room without having to map it first. Your robot vacuum will clean that room as a normal mapped room. However, as it is not mapped, your robot vacuum might run back and forth and in a weird path to clean that room and in the meantime map it.

As you can see, it takes a few runs before your robot vacuum learns your house and gets truly smart to do what it’s supposed to do. So just give it a little bit of patience and wait until it can do the trick!

About the Author

I am a working mother who more than often prefer to come home and rest rather than doing house chores. I am passionate about simplifying house chores to live and enjoy life more.

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