Why is My Robot Mop Leaving Streaks? (SOLVED)

Cleaners Talk is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links, we may earn a commission at no additional costs to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

Robot mops, like the iRobot Braava Jet M6, Deebot OZMO, and Bissell SpinWave robot,  are effective cleaning machines because they can vacuum and mop at the same time. Unfortunately, sometimes they can leave streaks or water spots.

So, why is a robot mop leaving streaks?

If your robot mop is leaving streaks or water spots when mopping, then either too much water is being used, the mop pads are dirty, or debris is trapped on the bottom of the robot. To solve it, either choose a lower water level, replace the mop pads, or use a damp cloth to clean the bottom of the robot.

However, there are certain aspects like the types of floors that you need to consider to prevent water streaks from robot mops. In this post, let’s learn why a robot mop is leaving streaks and how to pre

Why is a Robot Mop Leaving Streaks (Water Spots)?

Whether you are using the iRobot Braava Jet M6, Deebot OZMO, or the Bissell SpinWave robot, robot mops can leave water streaks if you use it incorrectly. 

It’s also important to note that whether a robot mop is leaving streaks or not depends on how dirty the floors are, the cleaning solution used, and what type of floor you are trying to clean.

Here are the reasons why a robot mop is leaving streaks:

  1. Too much water is being used.
  2. You did not sweep or vacuum the floor prior to using the robot mop.
  3. The mop pads are dirty.
  4. Debris is trapped on the bottom of the robot mop.
  5. The robot mop is running against the grain (on wood floors).

Fortunately, there are simple, practical tips you can do today to prevent a robot mop from leaving streaks.

How to Prevent Robot Mop From Leaving Streaks

Most robot manufacturers state the obvious tips, like cleaning the mop pads and not using too much water. However, there are aspects of cleaning with a robot mop that are often overlooked.

Here are the 5 best tips to prevent a robot mop from leaving streaks, explained in greater detail:

1. Let the machine run with the grain of wood floors

If you are using your robot mop on laminate or wood floors, try running the machine to go with the grain. We have actually discovered this solution through trial and error.

In our office, we were advised by our floor installer to use a specific hard floor cleaner so that the vinyl does not become damaged. At first, we thought that the streaks were caused by the solution but soon discovered that they disappeared when the robot mopped with the grain instead of across it.

Based on this discovery, we created "rooms" in our floor plan that were longer with the grain than they were wide across the grain so that the robot mop works in the correct direction. This eliminated the streaks, with just the wheel marks and trails to be dealt with. Fortunately, they mostly go away once dry.

Also, if you are cleaning hardwood floors, use the Bona hardwood floor cleaner (link to Amazon). It is recommended and approved by iRobot. Just pour the mix into the water tank and do not mix the solution with water. It is non-toxic, as well as child- and pet-friendly.

2. Use filtered water instead of tap water

Did you know that tap water contains added minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium? These minerals in hard water form deposits that can corrode pipes and leave streaks on the floor.

So, if you are using your robot mop on tile floors, we recommend using filtered water instead of tap water. Whenever we are using our iRobot Braava Jet M6 using filtered water, we have never seen any streak marks. 

The wheels of the robot mop are covered in soft rubber.

And although you can see the wheel marks in the trail, once it dries, there should be no streak marks if you are using the right combination of cleaning solution and filtered water.

If you do not want to use filtered water, it is fine to use tap water, but we recommend to mix in a little bit of vinegar once in a while to obtain a clean floor. Vinegar is a safe, all-natural household cleaner with the amazing ability to combat hard water stains found in tap water.

3. Run the machine two or three times

It’s no secret that you need to ensure the floors are properly swept or vacuumed before mopping. If your floors are especially dirty, your robot mop can leave streaks because of the sheer amount of dust on the floor. Even after running the sweeper cycle first, that first mopping cycle with water will leave horrible streaks. 

To get a nice, clean floor, run the machine two or even three times. First, run the robot mop in "sweep mode" with a Swiffer wet cloth (which is pretty streaky) to get the big dust. It usually takes two or three Swiffers.

Optionally for a second pass, fill the reservoir with a mixture of water, some white vinegar, and a dash of Clorox and run "mop mode" (much less streaky mixture but a little more trouble).

Finally, whether you have done the previous, optional pass, or not, with just water in the reservoir, run the robot mop in "sweep mode" again. The wheels leave streaks but they mostly go away once dry.

Sure, it takes some managing but it is definitely easier than doing it yourself.

Remember, if your robot mop is leaving streaks, all you need to do is to run the mopping cycle another time. A third time the next day really does the trick and you should not have streaks.

4. Change the mop pads frequently

A simple yet effective tip to prevent robot mop streaking is to change the mop pads several times during a cleaning session. Dirty mop pads make things worse by redistributing the dirt and grime all over the place.

Instead of letting a robot mop run across the whole house at once, let it run through a few rooms then change the mop pads. Luckily, it’s easy to buy replacement mop pads on Amazon.

By keeping the mop pads clean on the robot mop, not only will the robot mop not leave dirty water streaks, but it will also produce a nice and clean finish on your floors at home.

5. Do not dry the mop pads in the dryer using high heat

If you are using washable mop pads, never put them in the dryer.

The directions stated on the mop pads is to air dry them only. Many robot mop owners neglect this instruction and put mop pads inside the dryer to dry faster.

High heat and dryer sheets ruin the mop pads’ water retention so they will not pick up water effectively, and as a result, leave water streaks on the floor.

Keep this in mind whenever you are cleaning the washable mop pads.

Bottom Line

And there you have it, the answer to the question: why is a robot mop leaving streaks? Robot mops like the Braava Jet M6, Deebot OZMO, and the Bissell SpinWave robot should work just fine, without leaving water streaks, if you use them correctly.