The best way to protect your baseboards from your Roomba or any robot vacuum is to put felt sticky pads (Amazon Link Ad) on the front bumper, as I’ve done in the picture below.
You want to put several felt pads on the front bumper of your robot vacuum. You can put it all the way around the robot vacuum, but leave some room for the bumper to move and don’t block sensors. The glossy black bar on the front bumper should not be blocked as there are sensors behind it.
It’s only the front bumper that really needs it, as that is what will hit baseboards.
Failure to use the felt pads will lead to scuff marks from the plastic of your robot vacuum ending up on the wall or the baseboard. If you see black spots on your baseboards, then it’s most likely your robot vacuum scraping.
Do All Robot Vacuums Need Felt Pads?
The only robot vacuums that need the felt pads tend to be the cheaper robot vacuums, as they use random bumping around as navigation.
The more expensive robot vacuum use LiDAR, cameras, and proximity sensors to avoid hitting the baseboards. So, the saying is true, you get what you pay for, if you’re worried about damaging baseboards go with the more expensive robot vacuums.
Use Blue Painter’s Tape!
If you don’t have felt pads, another option is to put blue painter’s tape on the bumper of your robot vacuum.
The painter’s tape is sticky and soft enough on the other side to cut down on the scuffing of your baseboards.
The damage is not much to be concerned about, it’s almost nothing more than a transfer of paint.
The baseboard paint ends up on the robot vacuum and the robot’s plastic color ends up on the baseboard.
If anything, it’s just simply annoying, as you’ll need to use a magic eraser to get rid of the scuff from the robot vacuum or repaint the baseboards.
To be honest, I never really cared until I repainted my baseboards, and now I care. The felt pads are worth it!
I wouldn’t say robot vacuums go out of their way to damage things, but accidents can happen.
It’s best when you first get your robot vacuum to watch it and see how it moves around your home. Move things that it may damage out of the way or create barriers.
Not all robot vacuums are the same, some are better at not hitting objects or walls. I’ve found Neato robot vacuums (Amazon Link Ad) to work the best if you must have a robot vacuum that will not tap into things a lot.
You can buy playful covers for your robot vacuums, but they’re not worth it if you ask me.
They move around, don’t offer as much padding as the felt pads, and just look silly.
The felt pads just work and work perfectly. Plus, you don’t have your Roomba looking like a frog or something silly.
How To Get Vacuum Marks Off Baseboards
If you have the black marks on your baseboard from your vacuum cleaner or robot vacuum, you can easily remove them.
- Get a magic eraser.
- Wet magic eraser with water.
- Scrub the black marks off the baseboard with magic eraser.
If the magic eraser won’t take it off, very unlikely, you’ll need to repaint the baseboards. The only time I had to repaint is when I used the magic eraser too much and removed too much paint, these things are super effect once you understand how they work.
Why Do Roomba Bump Into Walls?
The reason why Roombas bump into walls is because that is how they navigate your home.
Nowadays, robot vacuums will use LiDAR and cameras to see walls and items in your home, but they still have a front bumper. This bumper was how many robot vacuums get around your home, they hit something then backup and go a different direction.
The bumper tells the robot vacuum you hit something, so go somewhere else. This creates a random motion around your home where it goes until it runs out of battery.
Hitting walls, baseboards and furniture is a cheap and simple way to navigate your home. This is why the cheaper robot vacuum only use bumpers to get around your home. The bad news is that they will bump and sometimes scrape the baseboards, which can leave black marks behind from the plastic of the robot vacuum.
Padding Added, But Hitting Harder?!
If you installed the protective felt padding to the front of your robot vacuum, but it’s hitting the wall harder than it means a sensor is blocked or can’t move.
You need to make sure you don’t block any sensors with the felt padding.
The glossy black strip on many robot vacuum’s bumpers are there to detect objects and blocking them can confuse them.
You also need to let the front bumper move, and sticking a felt pad over the part that moves can keep it from working.
Why Don’t They Come With Padding?
If all robot vacuums have a front bumper that moves, and it’s possible for them to scuff the walls and furniture, then why don’t the manufacturers include padding?
It’s a great question and to be honest, I have no clue why robot vacuum manufacturer doesn’t just give us the felt padding on the bumper to protect our home and furniture?
I guess they don’t deem it a big enough problem, or maybe the smooth plastic is better to scrape against in their testing? Robot vacuums have been around since the 90s and went mainstream in the 00s, and yet, there has not been one manufacturer that has a protective padding on the front.
By the time this problem gets solved, it will be by better sensors and not a simple solution of felt padding.
If you found this post helpful, you’ll love the many more robot vacuum tips I have listed here.