Five Cleaning Tips for Your Household Robot Vacuum
We've come a long way as a civilization of homemakers. The first vacuum cleaner was rolled out all the way back in the 1800s, and was created from a handful of early hand-crank models that came before it. Since then, we've taken to enlisting robots to do our dirty work for us -- literally.

From the iRobot Roomba vacuum to the Neato brand vac and beyond, millions of machines are created every year to help us keep our homes sparkly and shiny. But just like human creations, these tiny miracles may need help performing their work from time to time . It helps to know what to do when your robot vacuum needs a little maintenance.

Step 1: Change the filter regularly.

This actually goes for any vacuum cleaner, robotic or otherwise. If you're relying on your vac for picking up the slack for your own home cleaning, changing the filter frequently is the only way to ensure a fully functioning machine. You can even operate these robots when you're not physically home -- just make sure your drapes aren't touching the ground before you leave.

Step 2: Clear any debris from the sensors.

One of the biggest dangers plaguing even the best robotic vacuums is physical harm done to them by running into corners of tables, chairs and couches. Though these machines have strategic sensors built in to avoid these obstacles, dirt and debris can often obscure the sensors, leaving your vac essentially blind and liable to bump into things. Always check the sensors first, then...

Step 3: Check the wheels to ensure fluid motion.

The draw of robot vacuum cleaners is how they move around your carpets and floors so you don't have to. But when too much dirt builds up near the wheels, it might start to limit your machine's mobility. String can easily get wrapped up on a wheel and prevent it from making contact with your floor, so giving each wheel a quick look can ensure your vac's not losing any mobility.

Step 4: Wipe away dirt from the charging base.

This one's important for helping the device take in the necessary power it needs to clean your house in full. Use a damp cloth to remove any dirt, dust or lingering debris you find near the charging base, and if any substance is particularly stubborn, use a bit of rubbing alcohol. Just make sure you don't douse your machine!

Step 5: Examine its brushes, both inside and out.

Each robo cleaner, including the iRobot Roomba vacuum and other name-brand machines, contains a series of specially placed brushes on the inside that allow them to pick up debris around your home. If you think your vac's simply not taking in these particles anymore, pop off the back panel to see if you have a clogged brush on your hands. You can always replace the brushes and brush guards in order to ensure optimum performance, including for the side brush, located on the outside of the machine.

Remember, finding the right robot vac is kind of like finding the right pet. Whether it's an iRobot Roomba vacuum, a Neato machine or something else entirely, you'll just know it when you see it. Happy hunting!