How To Clean A Shag Rug – Homeowners need to give a lot of thought to what type of flooring to use in their home. After all, even if you leave your shoes at the door, floors are havens for dirt and pet hair. Flooring is not just a matter of comfort and practicality. You also must consider the cleaning aspect of floors. Hardwood floors, laminate floors, and vinyl plank flooring have different cleaning methods than carpets and area rugs. Indeed, rug cleaning varies as well depending on the textile and pile height. Sometimes, an area rug is just the thing to add some softness to a hard floor.

Currently, shag rugs are back in vogue with their amazing textures as well as their comfort. Shag textiles have been around since ancient times. The textile was used as clothes as well as to cover the floor. The ‘60’s and ‘70’s saw a resurgence in both these wool area rugs and wall-to-wall carpets. But, these comfort rugs do have a drawback. Their long tendrils can easily trap the dust and dirt which means that regular cleaning is necessary. It doesn’t matter whether your shaggy rug is made from synthetic fibers or wool, these rugs require some special TLC when it comes to regular vacuuming or deep cleaning. Before you pick up the phone and hire a professional cleaning service, consider the method for cleaning these rugs.

How To Clean A Shag Rug- Routine Care Cleaning Step-By-Step Guide

How To Clean A Shag Rug: Routine Care Cleaning Step-By-Step Guide

Regular Maintenance:

  1. Vacuum your shag rug as needed. Make sure your vacuum cleaner can work on high pile carpets.
  2. Suction the dirt out thoroughly.
  3. Vacuum the underside monthly.

Deep Cleaning: 

Shag rugs are typically wool. 

Whether you are cleaning area rugs or a shag pile carpet, wool rugs should undergo a deep cleaning every twelve to eighteen months. 

If possible,  A steam cleaner works well on these rugs. 

However, before embarking on doing a deep cleaning, always check the tag on the back for instructions. 

Synthetic shags may require different techniques.

How To Clean A Shag Rug- Spills & Stains- Step-By-Step Guide​

How To Clean A Shag Rug: Spills & Stains: Step-By-Step Guide

Inevitably, you will suffer spills on your rug. Cleaning a shag rug requires a bit of finesse for proper cleaning. The removal of stains is easier if you know the composition of the stain. Different stains require different treatment.

How To Clean A Shag Rug Supplies;

  • Plain white vinegar
  • Clean cloth/ paper towels
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Dry carpet shampoo (optional) or baking soda
  • Water
  • Mop or Broom
  • Vacuum cleaner upholstery attachment brush


Step By Step Guide To Clean A Shag Rug Of Spills & Stain;

  1. Immediately blot up as much as the stained area as possible with clean paper towels.
  2. Dip a clean cloth in a cleaning solution made of equal parts water and vinegar and blot. Or, a few tablespoons mild detergent mixed with cold water.
  3. Blot with a clean paper towel or cloth to remove as much solution as possible. Dry with a fan if necessary or leave outside to dry. Ensure that both sides are dry.
  4. If the stain remains, apply a bit of dry carpet shampoo or baking soda. (Make sure that any dry carpet shampoo does not damage the carpet.) Work it gently into the carpet with a brush. Let sit for the amount of time suggested by the manufacturer. Vacuum up the residue.
  5. If stain remains, seek professional cleaning.


Pet Stain Care

We love our pets, but they do leave a trail. Whether you are dealing with your fur baby tracking in dirt, leaving an occasional pee trail, or a vomit stain, pet stains can be hard to clean.

For dirt, take the rug outside and shake. For carpets too big to take out, utilize high suction vacuuming to remove as much of the dirt as possible. The only thing worse than your dog tracking in dirt, is you grinding it into your rug. Spot clean if necessary.

Blot any wet urine with paper towels to remove as much as possible. Rinse with, cool clean water and equal part vinegar and blot dry. You can also try urine removal rug cleaner but make sure your carpet is colorfast. If the odor remains, you may need to seek professional care.

How to Clean a Shag Area Rug- Routine Care Cleaning- Step-By-Step Guide​

How to Clean a Shag Area Rug: Routine Care Cleaning: Step-By-Step Guide

Learning how to clean a shag area rug is fairly easy as it should become a part of your bi-weekly cleaning routine.

Shake, shake, shake

For smaller shag rugs take them outside and shake them out. Loose dirt and dust that is present can be removed. You can hang it then give it a few minutes of beating too.


Beating your rug is also an option. Take your rug outside and hang over a fence or clothesline or similar object. The shag part should be hanging inward, leaving the back facing you. Beat the rug with a broom handle or rug beater. Hit both sides of the rug hard then shake out the remaining dirt and debris. Give the rug a good shake before taking the rug back indoors. (Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and consider wearing a mask.)


Longer pile rugs require an accommodating vacuum. There is no need for a beater bar, as a beater brush can damage and fray the longer fibers. Whether you use an upright vacuum or canister vacuum, you should have one that has a strong suction. Strong suction power helps remove any dirt and pet hair. Choose a vacuum setting for “high pile.” Some accessories have attachments that allow you to vacuum between the rows of threads of your shaggy rug. Vacuum a straight row at a time.

Shampoo carpet only when needed

Shampooing your carpet too often without proper removal of the soap can make your carpet dirtier. Often, dirt and debris will adhere to the very small pieces of soap.


Dry cleaning

To give your shag a more thorough cleaning, a dry carpet shampoo can work on them. This usually comes in powder form so that you can sprinkle it on your carpet. Make sure that you follow the instructions so that you will be able to work the shampoo powder into your carpet. Leave it for an hour or so before you vacuum your shag rug. Make sure you vacuum your rug properly so that all shampoo is removed. Dirt can adhere to dry shampoo making cleaning a mute point.


Steam cleaning

Check the tag on the back of your rug to see if you can steam clean your rug. Some rug fibers weaken or shrink with moisture. If you can steam clean, check to see if you should use hot water or cool water. When steam cleaning, make sure you dry your rug thoroughly. Any remaining water can lead to mold or mildew especially in wool carpets.

Modern Rugs For Kitchen

How to Clean A Shag Area Rug: Tips For Specialty Shags

For spot cleaning check the tag on the back. Certain cleaners can stain the leather rug.
There is a vast array of shag rugs for you to choose from such as Flokati rugs, leather shag rugs, synthetic shag rugs, and wool. Knowing what type of shag rug is essential to determine the best shaggy rug cleaning method to use. Here are some of the more well-known types of shags.

Sheepskin Rugs

  • Sheepskin rugs should never be cleaned with hot water due to the fact they can shrink.
  • Professionals may best clean these rugs as they require a non-alkaline cleaner
  • Although sheepskin is soft, never use fabric softener on it.


How to clean a sheepskin rug (wet shampoo)

  1. For those that do want to try washing their rug, read the label on the back for specific instructions.
  2. Vacuum the rug to remove any dirt.
  3. Immerse the rug in a tub filled with four parts cool clean water and one part delicate non-alkaline cleaner.
  4. It should also be bleach-free and scent-free.
  5. Swish for 30 minutes.
  6. Squeeze out all suds and water well.
  7. Lay the drug to air dry in a shaded area. (Direct sunlight can cause any colors to fade.)
    Brush out gently with a metal brush.


How to clean a dry sheepskin rug (dry shampoo)

  1. Shake the debris out of the rug if possible
  2. Thoroughly vacuum the rug
  3. Sprinkle dry rug shampoo on the rug. (Make sure you check the back of the rug to check for suitability.)
  4. Work gently in the rug.
  5. Vacuum well so that all soap is removed.
  6. Brush out gently with a metal brush.


Leather Rugs

Shag rugs can also come in leather. They are easier to care for than their wool counterparts but much more delicate.

  • Shake them out and give them a thorough vacuuming on a weekly basis to remove dust.
  • Do not use a beater bar on these rugs.
  • Rotate your rug and keep out of heavily trafficked areas.
  • Never put in direct sunlight.
  • Have your rug cleaned professionally every 12-18 months.
  • For spot cleaning, for spot cleaning check the tag on the back. Certain cleaners can stain the leather rug.


Synthetic Shag Rugs 

Cleaning synthetic shag rugs depend upon the specific type of textile.

  • Always check the back of the rug for the tag for cleaning instructions.
  • Typically, these do well with steam cleaning more than wool.
  • Usually made of lower made quality materials including both the front and the backing.


Wool Shag Rugs

Wool shag rugs can be cleaned using the instructions above.

  • However, even can differ in their texture. Some use “noodles” while others are “shaggy.” Pet hairs and dirt adhere to the fibers more with shaggy rugs than with noodle ones.


Flokati Shag Rugs

Typically, these are handmade in Greece.

  • Flokati rugs have been around since ancient times. Their origin is believed to be from Greece. The Greeks hand wove the wool to make these deep pile rugs. The ancient Greeks used the textile for clothes as well as to cover their floors.
  • Often they are a light color (white or off-white) but can be dyed into different colors.
  • These are 100% wool, including the backing.
  • They can be cleaned using the instructions noted at the top. However, care must be given to dry thoroughly so that mildew or mold does not develop.


Shag Pile Carpets

Shag pile carpets are beautiful and feel wonderful under the feet. But, they often take more work than just vacuuming on a weekly basis. The most important aspect of how to clean a shag rug is knowing the specific material used in its creation. That way, you can use the proper products and methods to keep your rugs and carpets looking good for years to come.

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