Roomba Side Brush Not Spinning [SOLVED]

iRobot sold $278.2 million worth of products in the third quarter of 2022, proving to be one of the most popular brands of robot vacuum cleaners.

However, even the best of products can develop faults (Just like one day you are fit and young, the next you do your back in by sneezing)!

A common issue reported against iRobot is the Roomba side brush not spinning. But why does that happen?

If your Roomba’s side brush is not spinning, it may be due to several reasons such as a poorly lubricated side brush motor module, lodged debris in the brush, or the need for a software update, a reboot, a factory reset, or for replacement of the side brush module.

In this guide, I will help you troubleshoot the issue and walk you through fixing it 🙂 

You can use this guide to fix all Roomba models, including:

  • Roomba 694
  • Roomba 780
  • Roomba 800
  • Roomba 980
  • Roomba e6
  • Roomba i3
  • Roomba i7
  • Roomba i8
  • Roomba j7

Roomba Side Brush Not Spinning – An Easy Guide

As mentioned in the intro, a Roomba side brush can stop spinning due to the following reasons:

  • The side brush needs cleaning
  • The side brush motor module needs some TLC
  • Your Roomba needs a software update
  • Your Roomba needs a reboot or a factory reset
  • It is time to replace the side brush module 

Below, I have listed each troubleshooting step in order of what you should try from first to last.

Make sure you test your Roomba after executing each step to know when to stop troubleshooting 🙂 

And if at any point you feel stuck, make sure you contact iRobot to get the support you deserve.

How Do You Fix A Roomba Side Brush That Doesn’t Spin?

We are going to try 7 different things to fix a Roomba vacuum brush that does not spin:

1. Clean The iRobot Roomba Side Brush

The first thing to try is to clean the actual Roomba side brush.

Chances are the brush is clogged with hair and debris:

  • Turn the iRobot Roomba upside-down
  • Undo the screw located in the middle of the side brush
Unscrewing Roomba side brush
  • Remove the side brush by gently pulling it
  • If you are finding it hard to remove it, utilize a plastic opening tool to take the brush out
  • Pull out hair and debris wrapped around the brush as well as where the side brush sits
Hair wrapped around where Roomba side brush sits
  • Put the side brush back on your Roomba
  • Make sure you screw it back into place

2. Reboot Your Roomba

A reboot is just a restart of your iRobot Roomba and can sometimes help fix certain issues.

The steps follow vary slightly depending on the type of Roomba you have:

Roomba® s and i Series: 

  1. Press and hold the CLEAN button on the Roomba for 20 seconds
  2. Release the button after 20 seconds and verify that the light ring around the bin lid swirls clockwise in white
  3. Wait a couple of minutes for your Roomba to reboot. Once that’s done, the light ring will disappear

Roomba® j Series:

  1. Press and hold the CLEAN button on the Roomba for 10 seconds
  2. Release the button after 10 seconds and verify that the light ring around the bin lid swirls clockwise in white
  3. Wait a couple of minutes for your Roomba to reboot. Once that’s done, the light ring will disappear

Roomba with the Dock and Spot Buttons

If you have:

  • Roomba e Series
  • Wi-Fi Connected Roomba 800 Series
  • Roomba 500 Series 

Follow the steps below:

  1. Press and hold HOME and SPOT Clean buttons on your robot for 10 seconds
  2. Release the button → Roomba will play the reboot tone and reboot will start

If you own either of the following Roombas:

  • Wi-Fi Connected Roomba 600 Series
  • Roomba 600 Series

Follow the steps below: 

  1. Remove your Roomba’s bin and locate a green dot on the underside
  2. Remove the battery by following the steps shown in the video below
  3. Leave the battery out for 30 seconds prior to placing it back in you Roomba to allow your robot to reboot 

3. Clean and lubricate The Side Brush Motor Module

Unfortunately, dirt can sometimes get into your Roomba side brush motor shaft.

Follow the steps below to get rid of the debris an lubricate the module:

  1. Remove the side brush itself
  2. Undo the screws located at the bottom of your Roomba
  3. Remove the rear cover
  4. Undo the screws that keep the side brush motor shaft in place
  5. Disassemble the motor shaft, clean it and apply a small amount of oil
  6. Put everything back together 
  7. Test the side brush using your finger to see if it spins smoothly

Here is a video from CactusNaga showing how to do it:

4. Check for Software Update

Your Roomba would usually receive software updates automatically whenever it is connected to the Wi-Fi and it is sitting on its Home Base.

But as with any technology, updates can fail or not occur at all:

Updates are done to fix bugs, and perhaps the previous update contained a bug that affected the functionality of your Roomba’s side brush.

To check if your Roomba needs a software update, follow these steps:

  1. Open the iRobot app on your phone
  2. Click on “Locate Roomba” to ensure the app can communicate with your robot vacuum
  3. Look at the “settings” section, where an update option should appear if available
  4. Tap on “settings”
  5. Follow the prompts to complete the update

If there is no software update available or if the update did not solve the Roomba side brush not spinning issue, try a factory reset.

5. Do a Factory Reset

A factory reset will remove your Roomba from the iRobot App and disassociate any saved data from the cloud.

If you don’t care about the saved data, please proceed with the factory reset as the next troubleshooting step.

You can easily factory reset your Roomba through the App, as long as both your robot and app are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

If you would rather leave factory reset as the very last option, proceed to step 6.

To factory reset your Roomba via the app:

  1. Open the App 
  2. Press Settings âž” Remove/Factory Reset (robot name).

If you would rather factory reset your Roomba manually, follow the steps below taken directly from iRobot’s official site:

Steps to factory reset Roomba

6. Replace The Roomba Side Brush Module

Your Roomba side brush may not be spinning simply because the module itself is faulty.

In which case, you will want to order a new one and replace it.

You can easily order a side brush on Amazon

Once you have received your Roomba side brush, watch one of these videos from iRobot, depending on the Roomba series you own:

Roomba 600 series

Roomba 800 Series

Roomba e and i Series

Roomba s9

The process is more or less the same across all models.

7. Use Your iRobot Roomba Without Side Brush

If the side brush still doesn’t work after replacing it, you can simply use your Roomba without the side brush.

In fact, you could even try this and see how it works for you before purchasing a new side brush.

Your Roomba will still be able to pick up dirt, though it will struggle to pick up the heavier debris.

An option would be to simply clean edges like baseboards using a broom. 

What If My Roomba Side Brush Is Still Not Spinning After Troubleshooting?

If the side brush of your Roomba is still not working, you can either:

  1. Use your robot vacuum without the side brush, sacrificing cleaning performance
  2. Purchase a new Roomba
  3. Take the current one to a vacuum specialist

However, if your Roomba is still under warranty, you can contact iRobot to let them check what is wrong with your robot and fix it/replace it for you.

Here is what iRobot’s warranty covers:

  • The iRobot Corporation provides a one-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship of your Roomba, including the Clean Base and the battery 
  • The warranty is only valid if the Roomba was purchased directly from iRobot or an authorized seller/dealer/reseller
  • The warranty only covers products purchased in a specific country. So if you bought your Roomba in the United Kingdom and moved to the United States, the warranty will not be valid. However, Canada and North America receive combined support.
  • Standard wear and tear is not covered
  • iRobot will not repair or replace products that were damaged due to inappropriate handling, misuse, neglect, water, fire, or deliberate damage
  • Consumable items such as brushes and filters are not covered

iRobot Roomba User Manual

Do you need a more in depth guide on how to perform each of the steps above based on your specific Roomba model? 

I recommend you go to iRobot’s website where you will find all Roomba owner’s manuals 🙂 

FAQ

Does The Roomba Side Brush Always Spin?

The Roomba side brush is designed to rotate any time your robot vacuum is in cleaning mode. If your Roomba side brush is not spinning while performing its cleaning duties, then there may be an issue such as a jammed motor that will need to be fixed to get the Roomba side brush to spin again.

What Does The Roomba Side Brush Do?

The side brush on the Roomba is specifically designed to remove dirt, dust, and debris from hard-to-reach areas such as corner edges and baseboards. Utilizing a rotating motion, it pushes debris towards the main brush for suction into the dustbin for a more thorough cleaning experience.

Will Roomba Work Without Side Brush?

A Roomba can still work without a side brush, but its cleaning performance may be impacted. The side brush helps the Roomba to clean hard-to-reach areas such as corners and edges, and also helps to push debris towards the main brush for suction into the dustbin. Without it, the Roomba might not be able to pick up all debris and dust in those areas, and the main brush will have to do all the work alone.

How Often To Replace Roomba Side Brush?

The recommended replacement frequency for the Roomba side brush can vary based on usage and environment. iRobot advises that the side brush should be replaced every 6 to 12 months, however, inspecting the brush bristles can help you decide whether replacement is necessary. If the bristles appear worn or damaged, it may be time for you to replace your Roomba side brush.

Conclusion

There are so many reasons why your Roomba side brush may not be spinning. Troubleshooting is crucial to get your robot vacuum side brush to spin again.

To recap, try the following:

  1. Remove clogs and tangle hairs from the side brush 
  2. Clean and lubricate the side brush module
  3. Perform a software update
  4. Try a reboot 
  5. Do a factory reset
  6. Replace the side brush module 

Contact iRobot consumer care for further assistance.

Author

  • Kevin L. Morris

    Hey there, I’m Kevin, from Colorado! I have been passionate about repairing appliances and electronics for the past 18 years. Modern vacuum cleaners break or malfunction way too often, so I have decided to contribute to vacuupedia.net and help my online readers with anything related to vacuums repair. I can’t wait to help you get your vacuum cleaner working again!