how to clean a shag rug

Shag Rug Cleaning: 6 Methods You Need To Know About

By Maria Hernandez / March 30, 2021 / 0 Comments

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    Shaggy rugs are so on-trend right now. They look beautiful, but are they easy to maintain? If you’ve been wondering how to clean a shag rug and whether it’s suitable for your home, here’s where you’ll find all your answers.

    In general, these pretty, fluffy rugs are easy to maintain, but they do trap a lot of dirt and dust in their long fibers. Vacuuming is one of the best and easiest ways to keep them clean, and below, you’ll find out how often you should vacuum and how to properly do it.

    Other maintenance methods such as beating, shaking, hand washing, and steam cleaning are also effective as long as you do them right. You’ll also learn about the safest ways to remove stains and spills without damaging your shaggy rug.

    Shag Rug Cleaning Methods

    These six methods are commonly used for cleaning shaggy rugs. Before deciding on how to take care of your favorite rug, check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure it’s a safe option.

    1. Beat

    Shaking and beating the rug are two of the golden rules when it comes to maintenance. Since these rugs are pretty shaggy, dirt and dust pile up so quickly.

    By flipping the rug over a railing, you will be able to get to the trapped dirt and dust. Use a rug beater if you have one; if not, a hard and long object like a broom’s handle should do the job.

    Shaking it will also help to get rid of the embedded dirt. Take it outside and shake it for a minute. You’ll actually see the dirt coming out of the rug, which will stimulate you to do this more often.

    Beating is much more effective if you combine it with some of the other methods you’ll read below. Just beating and shaking the rug is not enough; regular vacuuming is something you have to do.

    After beating or shaking the rug, leave it outside for a few hours, and let the sun take care of the bacteria that are also trapped in the fibers.

    2. Vacuum

    If you’ve been wondering how you clean a shag rug, here’s the answer! Vacuuming is a must for these carpets. It does the job, and it’s time-saving and easy.


    As simple as it sounds, there are still a few things to keep in mind when using a vacuum on one of these rugs. Long fibers can easily get caught in the vacuum and end up getting damaged. That’s why you should use the upholstery extension and turn off the beater bars of the machine.

    How often you’ll vacuum the rug depends on where it’s located in your house. When it’s placed in a high-traffic room, you should definitely consider vacuuming it once or twice per week. If it’s in a low-frequency area, then once every 10 days should be enough.

    Kids and pets are two other reasons you might need to vacuum more often. If your little ones love playing on the shaggy rug or your pets can’t stop napping on it, you have to vacuum several times a week. This is crucial so you ensure you’re removing all the dirt, pet hair, and possible allergens that can get in between the dense fibers.

    Don’t forget to also vacuum the underside of the rug. The truth is that so many people don’t even know they should turn over their carpet and also clean the other side. You don’t have to do this every single time you vacuum; however, it’s recommended that you do it once every four to five weeks.

    Feel free to use the beater bar for the underside because it’s more effective in removing dirt, dust, and particles.

    Not vacuuming the rug will lead to dirt retention, which can also damage the hair fibers. That’s why if you want a fresh rug that looks as good as new, you need to do the work.

    Finally, make sure you do your research and find out which is the best vacuum for shag carpets. If you want to keep the rug neat at all times, you’ll need all the help you can get, and a quality vacuum cleaner is a great start.

    3. Dry Shampoo

    Dry shampoo can be your secret weapon for a clean rug that smells amazing. Thankfully, these days many different dry shampoo products are safe for your rug type and they are affordable.

    This way, you’ll make sure you’re not damaging the fibers and you’re cleaning the rug at the same time. It will bring back life to your shaggy rug and leave an alluring smell.

    The procedure of using dry shampoo for shag rug cleaning is quite simple. Just follow these steps:

    1. Find a dry shampoo that is meant for your rug.
    2. Vacuum the rug.
    3. Sprinkle the dry shampoo all over your shaggy rug. Don’t overuse it, and don’t cover the rug completely.
    4. Grab a bristle brush to work the granules of the shampoo into the fibers.
    5. Let the product do its magic for as long as the instructions on the packaging suggest.
    6. Vacuum the rug once again to remove all the granules.

    4. Steam Clean

    If your shag rug is screaming for a deep clean, don’t hesitate to reach for a steam cleaner. This is a job best done by professionals, but if you want to do it at home, you can easily hire a steam cleaner.

    The process is quite straightforward and very efficient. It will remove the dirt, gunk, dust, and allergens that are accumulated in your fuzzy carpet.

    These steps will help you go over the process without fearing for the safety of your rug.

    1. Start by beating and vacuuming the rug. The steam cleaner can’t remove all the dirt from it due to the fuzzy nature and many fibers.
    2. Next, it’s time to turn on the steaming carpet machine. If you don’t have one, you can rent a steam cleaner from a professional service or one of the home improvement stores around you.
    3. Fill the steaming machine with water and a carpet cleaner that is recommended for your rug.
    4. When you’re done with the steam cleaner, the rug will be damp. Shaggy rugs can absorb a lot of water, which can easily lead to mold and mildew. Also, you shouldn’t just leave the rug on your precious floors while it’s still wet because it can cause damage.

    Instead, try to squeeze out as much water as possible, but don’t use too much force. You can now let the rug air dry thoroughly in a sunny spot when possible.

    One thing you have to remember is that steaming cleaners can be damaging to natural fibers; that’s why you have to do your research before deciding on using one. Make sure you’re not steaming the carpets and rugs in your home too often; once or twice a year is enough.

    5. Hand Washing

    If you were wondering how to wash a shag rug, whether you can do it at home, and what to use, this guide has all your answers.

    Hand Washing


    If your fluffy rug can handle moisture, you can wash it by hand. You need to check the care instructions for the rug to make sure it’s safe to be treated with water because some shag rugs are dry clean only.

    This method is quite simple, and you’ll only need a bathtub, warm water, a cleaning solution, and a brush.

    When it comes to the carpet cleaner you should use, it all depends on the rug’s material. It should be a gentle cleaner without bleach. You can also use a mild detergent or a laundry liquid formulated without bleach.

    Now, let’s go over the process step by step:

    1. Vacuum the rug.
    2. Fill the tub with warm water and add the cleaning solution as suggested by the instructions. If you’re using laundry liquid or detergent, use one cap.
    3. Put the rug in the tub and make sure that it’s covered with water.
    4. Leave it in for at least 10 minutes.
    5. Get the soft-bristled brush and use it over the problematic areas of the rug, spots, and stains.
    6. When you’re done, squeeze it gently to remove as much water as possible.
    7. Let the rug air dry, preferably in a sunny area. Wait until it dries completely.

    6. Clean Spills And Stains

    Removing stains and taking care of spills is probably the most challenging part when cleaning any carpet. Stains can cause so much frustration, especially if you have a light-colored rug. Thankfully, shaggy rugs are fluffy, and minor stains might not even be noticeable.


    If a spill happens, you have to act as fast as possible to soak up the liquid. You need to use a pepper towel and blot the area so you can soak the spill and prevent stains. Don’t rub because you can spread the stain even more.

    If the liquid that spilled is colored, you want to treat the spot fast before the fibers absorb the color. In this case, you need to get a carpet cleaner, mild soap or detergent, a towel, and a soft-bristled brush.

    Now, here’s the step-by-step guide:

    1. Use a wet towel to blot the spill.
    2. Mix water with the carpet cleaner, detergent, or soap and add it to the spot.
    3. Use the soft-bristled brush to scrub over the spot but don’t be aggressive.
    4. Clean the area with water and let the carpet air dry.

    For solid spills, you’ll need a knife. Use it to scrape the spill, and then start cleaning the area as previously described. Some solid spills are better to clean after some time, once they’re completely dry.


    Existing stains can be difficult to remove because of the length of the fibers. In this case, you need a stain remover that is suitable for your rug type.

    These are the steps you should follow:

    1. Start by soaking the area with water.
    2. Add the stain remover to the stain and wait according to the instructions.
    3. Use a cloth or paper to blot the area or a soft-bristled brush to scrub over it.
    4. If the stain is still there, repeat the process all over again.
    5. When you’re done, let the rug air dry.

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    Now that you know about all the ways to clean a shag rug, it’s time to learn how to maintain it. As long as you vacuum it regularly, beat it, and use a steaming machine once or twice a year, your rug will look as good as new.



    When this rug is placed in a high-frequency area, you need to maintain it by vacuuming it almost every day. But, if it’s in a room where you barely step on it, you can vacuum it once or twice a month. Beating it from time to time will make your job much easier and help you eliminate all the unwanted trapped dust and dirt that can cause allergies.

    Finally, steaming it is a part of the maintenance but only if the material of your carpet allows it. Natural fibers shouldn’t be steamed unless the manufacturer states otherwise in the instructions.

    Avoid walking over your shag rug with shoes, and make sure you tackle spills and stains right away. These maintenance tips are a life-saver, no matter the shape, size, and fabric of your shaggy rug.

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    Why Does My Shaggy Rug Look Matted?

    There are several reasons your beloved rug looks matted.

    Let’s start with the area where it’s located and how often you walk over it. If this rug is in a room with high foot traffic, it’s expected that it starts showing signs of wear after some time and doesn’t look as fluffy as it did.

    Next, all the dirt, dust, and debris that gets into the fibers encourages the matted appearance. This is even more pronounced if you don’t take care of the rug properly or don’t maintain it regularly.

    Furniture can make the rug matted; that’s why you should change the position of the furniture from time to time.

    Finally, if you don’t clean your rug, it will look matted. You can’t expect it to look fluffy and new if you don’t vacuum regularly or use other cleaning methods. The more dirt builds up, the more matted it will become.

    How Can I Make My Shaggy Rug Fluffy Again?

    You can’t expect your shaggy rug to stay fluffy for a long time if you and your family walk over it all the time.

    You might have learned how to clean a shag area rug, but without proper maintenance, it can’t be fluffy and soft. High-frequency rooms are the ones where your shaggy rug will lose the fluff, so these rugs are the ones that require the most attention.

    Most people forget that vacuuming is the best way to make the rug fluffy again. It’s a temporary solution, but it works great. A carpet rake is another way to go for a fuzzy and soft rug.

    There are numerous products that will help you achieve that gorgeous fluffy appearance. The process includes shampooing and conditioning the rug so it can get back to its old glory. These products are efficient and deliver a more long-term effect compared to vacuuming.

    Don’t forget to only purchase products that are suitable for the rug material to avoid damage.

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    Shaggy rugs, as beautiful as they are, require regular maintenance. This is not a complicated process, but it’s one you have to do often if the rug is located in a high-traffic room in your house.

    Beating, shaking, and vacuuming should be a regular part of the cleaning routine. These methods will help you keep the rug clean by removing dirt and dust.

    If you want to take things up a notch, feel free to clean the rug with dry shampoo once in a while or steam clean it once or twice a year. Hand washing with a carpet cleaner is another way to achieve a clean, fluffy shaggy rug.

    To recap:

    • Regular vacuuming of shaggy rugs is not only important for keeping the carpet clean but also helps it look fluffy and new.
    • Aside from vacuuming, other methods of cleaning this type of rugs are beating and shaking, steam cleaning, hand washing, cleaning with dry shampoo, and removing stains and spills.
    • Although shaggy rugs are not high maintenance, you should still vacuum them once or twice a week, beat them to remove trapped dust and dirt, steam clean once or twice a year, and utilize the other methods as needed.

    If you have any comments or first-hand experiences with cleaning a shag rug, please post them below or share your pictures via our social media.

    About Maria Hernandez

    Senior Floor Critic, 25 years of experience in residential and commercial cleaning

    Maria Hernandez has 25 years of experience in residential and commercial janitorial and cleaning services. From hardwood to carpet to marble floors, Maria has developed a deep expertise in cleaning and maintaining many different flooring types. Visit Website.

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