iRobot warns one Roomba auto-emptying dock could "present a hazard"

iRobot's automatically-emptying Roombas are meant to be a time-saver, but at least one model could be a headache the company has warned owners today. The company is contacting those with one model of its robot vacuum cleaners to alert them that the Clean Base docking station could "present a hazard" in certain situations.

iRobot launched the Clean Base Automatic Dirt Disposal docking station back in 2018, alongside the Roomba i7+ robot. As well as recharging the robotic vacuum, it contained a much larger debris bag: when the Roomba docked, that sucked all the collected dust and dirt out of the robot so that it would be ready for the next scheduled cleaning. In the process, iRobot said, it could mean owners could go roughly thirty vacuuming cycles without having to deal with it themselves.

It proved a hit, and iRobot has used the system on subsequent Roomba models, including the more affordable Roomba i3+ launched earlier this year.

Today, though, the company contacted owners of the original Roomba i7+ Clean Base to notify them of a possible issue. "We have learned that certain Roomba i7+ Clean Base docking stations could malfunction and potentially present a hazard if liquids are collected by the Roomba i7+ robot vacuum and deposited into the Clean Base unit," the email to users says. "Our vacuums are only designed for cleaning up dirt and debris from dry floors and carpets and should never be used to pick up any liquids."

The issue only impacts the Clean Base docking station itself, iRobot insists, and not the robot vacuum cleaner. It's also limited to certain Clean Base units for the Roomba i7+ specifically, and not other Roomba models.

Those impacted are directed to fill out a service form with their serial number and address; you should have an email regarding that if you registered your new Roomba when you first set it up, or you can visit the support page directly and fill in the details. If you're eligible, it seems, iRobot will be sending out a replacement power cord. That should take 7-10 days to deliver, the company says. There's no guidance on whether it's safe or otherwise to continue to use the Clean Base docking station, though making sure wherever the robot vacuum roams is free of water – such as in bathrooms and kitchens – seems like a sensible precaution.