Robot vacuums can be life changers, keeping your floor cleaner than ever been before with little or no effort on your part. However, sometimes robot vacuums can have some downsides, including potential damage to furniture.
Can a robot vacuum damage furniture? A robot vacuum can damage furniture by bumping into furniture repeatedly and causing dents or scratches, rubbing away paint or varnish with the brush, getting stuck underneath furniture, or spraying furniture with soapy or dirty water.
You don't need to give up on the convenience of a robot vacuum to spare your furniture from damage. Here's what you need to know about how a robot vacuum can cause damage to your furniture and specific things that you can do to prevent it.
Damage a Robot Vacuum can do to Your Furniture and How to Prevent It
What to do About It
Bumping into furniture
Choose a vacuum that can map your home with a laser, like the Neabot, to avoid impact with furniture. You can also get bumpers for your robot vacuum to protect furniture or mount your furniture on risers.
Rubbing away paint and varnish with the brush
Choose a vacuum with laser mapping and a side-mounted brush like the Dreame L10 Pro or mount your furniture on risers.
Getting stuck under furniture
Choose a vacuum that allows you to set up virtual barriers, such as the Ilife A10, so you can tell it to avoid furniture it can't fit under. You can also mount your furniture on risers so that the vacuum can fit underneath.
Mopping vacuum can spray or spread water onto furniture
Choose a mopping vacuum that sprays directly down and immediately sucks up dirty water, like the Ilife W400S
Why a Robot Vacuum Might Damage Furniture
A Robot Vacuum Can Bump Into Furniture
Different robot vacuums work in different ways to navigate your home. Older models may navigate a space by charging in a direction until they bump into something, at which point they will turn around and go another way.
These types of robot vacuums can damage furniture, especially softer wood or delicate upholstery. They must bump into your furniture each time to understand where it is, and the constant impacts can cause damage.
The Robot Vacuum Can Damage Furniture With its Brush
Some robot vacuums have a brush located at the front of the vacuum that spins around to free up debris to make it easier for the vacuum to collect it. Unfortunately, sometimes this brush spins fast enough and with enough force to do some damage.
With vacuums that navigate by simply bumping into things to figure out where they are, the constant impact from the brush can wear away at paint or varnish. In time, you may notice that your furniture has a noticeable worn spot at the level where the brush makes impact.
Robot Vacuums can get Stuck Under Furniture
If robot vacuums only sense what is right in front of them and can't tell when furniture is too low for them to fit, they can get stuck underneath the furniture. When this happens, the top of the robot vacuum can rub against the bottom of the furniture, potentially causing damage underneath that can be visible when looking at the furniture from the side as well.
Mopping Robot Vacuums can Spray Furniture
Mopping robot vacuums are the newest craze in robot vacuum technology. Why stop with just picking up debris when you could also be scrubbing floors continuously? However, many people find a downside with mopping robot vacuums.
These vacuums sometimes spray out from the vacuum, which means that they may also spray your furniture. Needless to say, having furniture regularly sprayed with soapy water isn't usually the best for it.
Another potential hazard of mopping vacuums is that once water is on the floor, the motion of the vacuum can spray dirty water onto furniture.
How to Keep Your Robot Vacuum From Damaging Furniture
Choose a Robot Vacuum With Laser Mapping
Some newer robot vacuums, even relatively inexpensive models under $200, can thoroughly map your home using a laser. This laser mapping means that it doesn't need to bump into furniture to know where it is.
It can avoid your furniture while still thoroughly cleaning your home. Because it continuously laser maps, it doesn't matter if you move furniture around or get new furniture. They will identify where furniture is and proactively avoid it.
Pick a Robot Vacuum With a Side-Mounted, Lower Speed Brush
A robot vacuum that uses laser mapping will be less likely to make impact with your furniture, which can prevent the damage that the brush can do. However, to be even more confident that the brush won't rub your furniture, choose a model like the Dreame L10 Pro.
Not only does this vacuum digitally map your space to avoid running into furniture, but it also has a side-mounted brush. This side-mounted brush is much less likely to make contact even if the vacuum does bump into furniture. That means you won't have to worry about worn away paint or varnish.
Use a Vacuum With Virtual Barriers
A vacuum that is equipped with virtual barriers like the Ilife A10 can allow you to tell it which furniture you don't want it to approach. This way, even if the vacuum isn't sensing that furniture is too low for it to go under, you can simply tell it not to approach that particular furniture.
This feature can keep your robot vacuum from getting stuck under furniture and causing damage. The vacuum may get stuck once or twice before you realize which furniture it needs to avoid, but as soon as you set the virtual barrier, you won't have to worry about it anymore. Highly precise virtual barriers mean that you can still get the floor clean right up to the edge of the furniture.
Choose A Mopping Vacuum That Sprays Downward and Collects Water Instantly
If you want all of the advantages of a mopping vacuum but don't want to have to worry about the vacuum spraying soapy water onto your furniture, consider a mopping vacuum that sprays down and collects dirty water right away like the Ilife W400S. This vacuum will never spray soapy water onto your furniture because it sprays straight down and doesn’t cause splashing.
It won't push water onto your furniture because it instantly collects dirty water as it mops. This vacuum allows you to get the floor right next to your furniture clean without having to worry about furniture being damaged by water or soap.
Consider Robot Vacuum Bumpers
Robot vacuum bumpers attached to the front of the robot can provide a soft, cushioned surface to bump up against your furniture. The soft surface is much less likely to damage furniture than the hard edge of an unprotected vacuum.
The bumpers are designed to fit around the sensor panel so that they won't interfere with your robot vacuum’s navigation. You can find bumpers that are either very thin to avoid scratches or quite thick and cushioned to avoid dents from impact.
If you can't find space in the budget right now to move up to a more updated robot vacuum that uses laser mapping to chart out your space and avoid running into furniture, a robot vacuum bumper may be the next best thing. However, if you have a couple of hundred dollars to improve your robot vacuum experience, it may be best to purchase a vacuum cleaner with digital mapping and avoid having your robot vacuum run into your furniture at all.
You Can Place Your Furniture on Risers
If you'd like to prevent the robot vacuum from running into your furniture while at the same time enabling access to clean underneath lower furniture, putting your furniture on risers may be the perfect solution. Risers are strong enough to hold a bed, couch, or whatever other heavy furniture you need to raise up.
You can provide enough room for the robot vacuum to go underneath the furniture, and if it bumps into the risers, you won't have to worry about it doing any damage to your furniture itself. The downside to risers is that they generally aren’t very attractive. You may not notice them under a bed, but they can detract from the look of your couch and other furniture.
Risers may also not be quite as stable when holding furniture that can already be prone to tipping.
Is it Better to Buy a New Robot Vacuum or Make Alterations to the Vacuum or Your Household?
If your current robot vacuum is damaging your furniture, you may find yourself wondering whether it is a better option to get a new robot vacuum or make some changes around the house and to your existing robot vacuum. If you are on a very strict budget, it could be much more affordable to buy a bumper for your vacuum or put your furniture on risers than to get a new vacuum.
However, you may be surprised by how affordably you can purchase a new robot vacuum that will solve your problems and offer a lot of new advantages over your old vacuum as well. If you have even a couple of hundred dollars to spare, you are likely to find it better to purchase a new vacuum. Technology has advanced dramatically in just the last couple of years, and much higher quality vacuums are now available at a much more reasonable price.
Enjoy Your Robot Vacuum Without Damage To Furniture
With the right preventative steps, you can keep your robot vacuum from damaging your furniture. Whether you are in the market for a new robot vacuum that won't pose a hazard to your furniture or you want to make alterations to your vacuum or furniture to prevent issues, taking the right steps to protect your furniture can make all of the difference.