Roomba takes forever to go home? (7 Reasons why!)

Do you have a Roomba? If so, you know that one of the best things about it is how dirt and dust disappear from your floor before your eyes. However, what’s not so great is when your Roomba takes forever to go home or base after it’s done cleaning.

That’s right; your Roomba may sometimes decide to take its sweet time getting back to its docking station.

While some people might find this amusing, others may see it as a sign that their cleaning robot is starting to malfunction.

So what exactly is going on and what is taking it so long to return to home base? Let’s take a closer look at some of the causes.

Roomba takes forever to go home (7 Reasons why)

Reasons why Roomba takes forever to go home or dock

Your Roomba takes forever to go home due to the presence of obstacles in its path or there are Infrared devices within range. Also, if the home base is not working or it’s dirty, Roomba will tend to take an abnormally long time to dock after cleaning.

There are more reasons why this happens as discussed below.

1. Roomba home base not working

One of the reasons why Roomba may have a difficult time going back home is if the home base is not working or it’s not set up properly.

If it’s not working, then your Roomba will just keep roaming around your house.

Make sure your home base is in good condition and it’s always plugged in so that your Roomba can head back there when it’s done cleaning.

2. Other Infrared devices within range

Do you have other devices in your home emitting infrared signals? If you do, Roomba can get affected by these signals and will sometimes refuse to dock.

This is usually because the other devices may be emitting stronger signals than the Roomba home base, causing it to become confused and unable to determine its location.

3. Obstructions

It’s possible that obstructions could impede Roomba’s ability to return to its base.

Roombas use sensors to navigate, and if there are objects blocking their path, they may not be able to find their way back.

If, for example, a couch blocks the path or the charging dock is inaccessible, Roomba may not be able to recharge its batteries and will eventually run out of power.

So it’s important to keep the area around Roomba’s base clear and unobstructed.

Also, it is recommended that the Roomba’s home base should be within 5 feet without any obstructions to allow it to return to the base easily.

4. Docking station is not clean

The Roomba docking station tends to get dirty easily because it’s where your Roomba dumps all the dirt and dust it picks up while cleaning.

So if there is debris or dirt on the home base infrared port and the charging contacts, it may be harder for Roomba to find its way back home and hence take a longer time than expected.

It’s a good idea to clean the docking station at least once a week, especially if you have pets or if you live in a dusty area.

5. Roomba has not finished cleaning

Roomba’s navigation algorithm is designed to make sure the robot covers as much of the floor as possible.

This means that it will not go home even if you force it to do so via the app.

Sometimes, you may decide to pick up your Roomba and put it in the docking station before it has finished cleaning. This too may affect its ability to return to base next time.

If this happens, you may have to first clear the previous cleaning session and manually force the Roomba back into the docking station before starting another cleaning session.

6. Low battery and needs to recharge

This is a common problem with Roomba robots. If the battery is low, the Roomba will have a flashing light and will not dock, and will need to be recharged first.

You can try to solve this problem by leaving the robot near a charging outlet so that it can easily reach the charger before the battery gets low.

7. Mapping out the layout of your home

Is your Roomba new? If so, it may seem like it is just leisurely making its way back to the charging dock, but in reality, it is mapping out your home layout.

When you start using Roomba for the first time in your home, it needs to know the layout of your rooms in order to clean them effectively and efficiently.

The more times it goes back and forth across your floor, the better it understands the layout of your home.

It stores this information in its memory so that the next time you run your Roomba; it will have a better idea of where to dock after cleaning. Also, the Roomba will be able to keep off rugs and others areas where you don’t want it to clean based on the previous settings.

How to make my Roomba go home if it’s taking forever

There are a few ways to make your Roomba go home once it is done cleaning and it’s taking a long time to dock.

  • Clear obstructions

If your Roomba is getting stuck and not returning to its home base, the first solution should be to clear the obstructions.

The obstructions may include cords, wires, or other objects that might be in the Roomba’s way.

If the Roomba is cleaning the carpet, check to see if Roomba has been caught in a tangle of fiber, hair, or string, and cut it loose.

Also, check the brushes and make sure they’re clean and free of debris. You can also try cleaning the rollers with a brush or vacuum cleaner.

In addition, make sure the robot is situated on a flat surface and that there are no obstacles in front of or behind it.

  • Clean the home base

Cleaning the home base infrared port and charging contacts will help to get rid of dust and dirt that may interfere with Roomba’s ability to dock.

The home base can easily be cleaned with a wet cloth. Wipe off any debris or dirt, and then rinse the cloth in clean water.

Be sure to dry the home base completely before returning it to the Roomba.

  • Ensure the home base is plugged in

The infrared signal from the home base is what enables your Roomba to return home.

So it’s always a good idea to have your Roomba’s home base plugged in. This will enable the Roomba to detect the signal when it finishes cleaning and will automatically return to the base.

Also, the infrared signal prevents it from getting lost or ending up somewhere strange.

  • Reset Roomba robot

You can also force Roomba to go back to base by pressing the “Clean” button and holding it down for about 3 seconds.

This erases the previous cleaning setting and might enable your Roomba to return to base.

If it doesn’t, simply pick it up and place it facing the docking station at about 5 feet away and then press the “Home” button.

  • Replace the home base

Sometimes your Roomba may be unable to go home because the home base is not working at all.

While you can try to have it repaired, the best solution would be to get a replacement.

Replacing the home base is usually pretty easy – you can find replacement parts online or at a store that sells Roombas.

Once you’ve replaced the home base, your Roomba should start going home more quickly. If it still isn’t going home as quickly, contact iRobot customer care for assistance.

Can I move my Roomba home base?

Yes, you can move your Roomba home base. However, this depends on the model so check your owner’s manual for more information.

If you have the iRobot 600 Series, for example, you can lift up the entire home base and carry it to another location where it can dock easily.


Roomba needs to clean your entire house before it can go back to its charging dock.

However, sometimes you may find that your Roomba takes forever to go home due to several reasons.

It could be due to obstructions, low charge, mixed infrared signals, or the home base not being set up correctly.

Also, may also take too long to return home if the docking station is blocked by debris or if it has not finished cleaning.

In order to get your Roomba working effectively, you need to make sure the home base is not only working properly but also clean and always plugged in.

There should be no obstructions and the distance between Roomba and the home base should not be more than 5 to 6 feet.