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How Do Robot Vacuums Know When To Vacuum or Mop?


The best robot vacuums can efficiently clean by vacuuming all the dust in one go. One could say that these robots are a technological revolution when it comes to smart cleaning home appliances. With little to no human intervention needed, they can finish cleaning various floor types by sucking up dust, pet hair, and other dirt by themselves.

What’s more impressive is that other robot vacuum models also have a mopping function that can do extra cleaning after vacuuming! These are what we call hybrid vacuums and they have cleaning modes that will allow them to vacuum and mop whenever you program them from their companion apps.

This is not to be confused with a robot vacuum or robot mop that only focuses on either vacuuming dust or mopping floors respectively — hybrid robot vacuum cleaners have both functions installed in them.

How Do Robot Vacuum Cleaners with a Mop Work?

How Do Robot Vacuums Know When To Vacuum or Mop?

Unlike a regular robot vacuum cleaner, a hybrid robot vacuum cleaner has a built-in mop and would come equipped with a water reservoir you can fill with either water or the recommended cleaning agent solution.

The size of the water reservoir of a robot vacuum cleaner will vary. The bigger the water reservoir, the fewer trips you’ll have to make in refilling it to make the mop damp. Should you want to remove any stains or if your house has a slightly large floor plan, then it’s best to invest in a hybrid robot vacuum cleaner with a bigger water reservoir. However, the mop works even without any liquid in case you would like for your robot’s mop to be dry.

Depending on the model of the hybrid robot vacuum cleaner, the mop pad can be reusable or disposable. Most of the time, a robot mop has a pad that is velcro detachable to make it easy to replace whenever it gets dirty.

Like most vacuums, the hybrid robot vacuum cleaner can clean various floor types such as floor tiles or marble. However, a hybrid robot vacuum cleaner works best on hard floors, especially dark hard floors where dust and dirt can easily be seen.

Although a robot vacuum can still work on carpet, it’s still best to avoid carpet flooring when the robot mop is activated as the mop pad can be damp and make it dirty. Some robots can detect when the floor is soft and will avoid them automatically, but you can also choose to use boundary strips and virtual walls just to be safe.

Hybrid robots with a mop also have the same navigation system and technology as a regular robot vacuum cleaner. They have sensors to help them avoid objects and furniture found in a room, they can search which room in the house they are allowed to enter and clean, and can be controlled via the app or voice command through Google Assistant or Alexa.

Do Robot Vacuum Cleaners Mop and Vacuum at the Same Time?

How Do Robot Vacuums Know When To Vacuum or Mop?

A hybrid robot vacuum cleaner can vacuum and mop simultaneously. However, the key term to remember here is that a hybrid robot vacuum cleaner is still first and foremost a robot vacuum. Using suction power and the brushes, the robot cleans by sucking up dirt and dust. Soon after, the robot mops the floor, immediately doing a second round of cleaning for any leftover dirt, dust, or stains if any.

Looking at the design of a hybrid robot vacuum cleaner, the vacuum is at the front of the robot while the mop is located behind it. This allows for the robot to first vacuum the floor followed by mopping right after. By having such a design and system, the hybrid robot vacuum cleaner can do a more meticulous job of cleaning the floor — an advantage for when you want to clean the same spot thoroughly.

For any dust that the robot vacuum was not able to suck or perhaps any dust floating in the air, the robot mops immediately. This is especially useful for those with allergies as the mop works as a secondary feature that can support the HEPA filter of a robot vacuum to ensure that there are no dust remnants.

Depending on the model, it can also interchange from being a robot vacuum to a robot mop accordingly. You can choose when it will function as a robot vacuum, robot mop, or both via the app or through voice control like Google Assistant or Alexa if the model allows it.

Additionally, you can program the sensors of your robot to detect which parts of the house are restricted. This will come in handy for when your robot vacuum cleaner starts cleaning the carpet floor since we wouldn’t want the robot to mop this, especially when the mop is damp.

In case you wanted a more focused vacuuming and mopping automated cleaning session that a hybrid robot vacuum cleaner cannot guarantee, then you may consider investing in the Braava Jet M6.

Although this is a mopping vacuum, iRobot has started a partnership with the manufacturer of the machine, Bona, to allow the Braava Jet M6 to be linked with the iRobot Roomba. This allows for both robots to work in tandem — the iRobot Roomba will first do the vacuuming, then the Braava Jet M6 robot mops the floor after.

How Does a Robot Vacuum Cleaner Know When It’s Done?

How Do Robot Vacuums Know When To Vacuum or Mop?

A robot vacuum is a semi-autonomous machine that is designed to clean the house without much intervention needed. These robots can automatically search for the rooms to clean because they can self-navigate by learning the floor plan of your home and sensors to guide them. You can also direct the robot vacuum to which areas to clean through voice commands or boundary strips.

Once the robot vacuum can learn all these, the robot will vacuum and mop these areas. The robot vacuum will mark the job done once each floor and room programmed have been cleaned.

There are also quick tips on making sure that the robot vacuum will finish the job are first to make sure that the robot is fully charged. Failing to charge the robot vacuum may result in it stopping cleaning midway and not being able to return to the charging dock.

The second is to make sure the suction power of the robot vacuum you are using is appropriate to the floor type to be cleaned. Otherwise, the robot vacuum may do a poor job.

Final Note

How Do Robot Vacuums Know When To Vacuum or Mop?

Hybrid robot vacuum cleaners are still primarily vacuum cleaners. We must look at the mopping function as an “added” feature that helps clean a floor thoroughly as the robot vacuum can mop up leftover dust as there can be a remnant of it regardless of how strong the suction power is.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do Robot Vacuums Know When To Vacuum or Mop?

Does a Roomba learn the floor plan?

The Roomba can learn up to 10 floor plans. Some Roomba robots even have a built-in camera and machine learning technology that will help detect any obstacles along the way that may not have been included in the initial floor plan.

It’s not only the Roomba that can learn a floor plan, other robot vacuum cleaners are capable to do so, too. If you’re looking to find other robot vacuum cleaners that have similar features and more, then you can check out this guide on the best robot vacuums that we’ve created.

How do robot vacuum cleaners find the dock?

By way of mapping, robot vacuum cleaners can self-navigate their way through rooms and find their way back to the dock. The more advanced robot vacuum cleaners have an infrared sensor that will detect the signal emitted by the dock so they can automatically connect themselves back to it when their battery starts running low.

Sota Takahashi

Sota Takahashi is a Japanese-born electrical engineer. At the age of 18, he moved to Seattle and completed his Electrical Engineering degree at the University of Washington, Seattle. Being a fan of all things tech, he channels his geeky side through this website, and with his wife Linda, shares knowledge about robot pets and how they can be lifelong and advantageous companions for both children and the elderly.

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