How to Clean a Shag Rug: You’ve Been Waiting for This!

It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love a cozy, soft shag rug in their home. Shaggy rugs are a great way to add warmth, luxe, and plush to any living room.

Whether you are going for that retro 70’s look or you want to add a sophisticated touch, shag rugs are a great choice.

Even though we all adore the softness of shag rugs, they are really hard to clean. They are a high maintenance item that deserves proper love.

So in this article, we will discuss some of the easiest ways to clean your shaggy rug without causing a mess. Here’s our take on how to clean a shag rug.

When to Clean It

Before you get on to the cleaning process it is important to know whether your rug needs to be cleaned in the first place! Overcleaning can ruin the beautiful fluff of shag rugs we all love.

Ideally, you should deep clean your shag rugs once a year. But if you live in a busy street or in the city, you should probably give your rug a thorough clean once every four months.

Light cleaning needs to be done every few weeks. If you don’t take care of your shag rug, it will lose its luster. A well-maintained shag rug can last decades.

Summary: Light clean your shag rug once a week and deep clean them once every four months.

Vacuum (Duh)

Most of us assume that as shag rugs have a lot of fluff to them, we shouldn’t vacuum as it might damage the rugs. This is not true at all.

Think about it, dust gatherers in textured places. The fluffier a rug is, the more likely for it to gather dirt and mud. This is why you need to vacuum your shag rugs at least once a week.

To vacuum your shag rug, use the highest settings on the vacuum cleaner. As shag rugs have a lot of fibers, you need extra air pressure to suck up all the dirt from them.

If you have pets, it is wiser to buy a portable vacuum cleaner so that you can give your rugs a light cleaning every time they make it dirty.

To remove all the dust gathered underneath the rug, flip it over and vacuum the back as well. Don’t worry your rug won’t be damaged if you use a vacuum cleaner.  

Tips: Turn the rug face down if you do not want to damage the fibers. It is highly recommended for delicate or fluffier rugs.

Shake It and Beat It

If you do not have a vacuum cleaner, you can take your rug in the backyard and shake or beat it. This is a great method to remove any mud or dirt from it.

If you have a larger rug, hand it somewhere outside and use a rod or a wooden bar to beat it from front and back. This is a very old fashioned and effective method to remove all the dry mud.

This does not work on wet rugs. So if your rug has moisture in it, let it dry first then beat or shake it. You can use a broom if you don’t have any wooden bar.

It’s better to not beat your rug on a regular basis as this can weaken the fibers. Do it once every couple of months.

After you are done shaking or beating your rug, let it sunbathe for a few hours as the sunlight will kill the bacteria and germs.

Summary: For thorough cleaning, hang your rug outside and beat it with a broom or a stick.

Dry Bath Your Rug

If your shag rug is really dirty, it might be better to give it a dry bath. This is a good method if you haven’t cleaned your rug in a few months.

The longer you go without cleaning your shag rug, the flatter it gets. The fluff in the rug does not remain fluffy and it looks dull and dingy. A good dry shampoo for rugs can really change the game for you!

There are so many carpet dry shampoos in the market. You can pick whatever brand you like. They come in various fragrances that will give your rug a refreshed look. One of our favorites is Capture Carpet Dry Cleaner Powder. It is versatile and can be used on any carpets and rugs.

To dry bath your rug you need dry shampoo and a soft bristle brush. First, you need to vacuum the rug properly. Then lightly sprinkle the shampoo all over the rug and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Use the bristle brush to gently massage the shampoo into the fibers. After the recommended time period, you can simply vacuum it or give it a shake to get rid of the excess.

Summary: Use dry shampoo and bristle brush to give your shag rugs a dry bath once every couple of months.

Steam Clean

A steam cleaner is a great option to remove not only dirt but also molds and bacteria from your shag rugs. The best thing about steam cleaning is, you don’t need to use any chemicals of cleaning products whatsoever.

A steam cleaner uses heat to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria. This means your shag rug will be clean, odor-free, and brand new.

If your shag rugs get moldy, steam cleaning will eliminate all the health risks. It is one of the most effective ways to sanitize your shag rugs.

To steam clean your rug, you need to vacuum it first. Then add the water to the steamer and run all over the rugs until all the stains and mud disappears.

Most steam cleaners come with extra heat to spot clean with the steamer. This makes it really easy to get rid of stains, even older ones.

Summary: Use a steam cleaner to deep clean your rug to prevent molds and bacteria from growing.

Spot Cleaning

The worst thing about carpeted floors or rugs is the stain. If you have a pet or kids, you know how hard it is to keep you spotless and clean all the time. It is especially worse if the rug is a shag rug.

It is better to spot clean your shag rug the moment something spills on them. If you let it rest, sometimes it can get permanent stains.

Press firmly on the affected area with a kitchen towel to remove all the excess moisture. Then spray the area with vinegar or a cleaning solution. Folex Carpet Spot Remover is a good one to keep at home for quick spot cleaning.

Let the solution sit on the area for a few minutes before you bloat it with napkins. Continue to spray and rest and bloat until you get rid of the stain. This can take a few moments but be patient with it.

Summary: Keep a microfiber towel at home as they absorb liquid quicker than any standard towels. They are also more gentle on the shag rug.

(Lastly) Professional Assistance

If you do not want to go through the trouble of deep cleaning your rug, you can always get it cleaned by the professionals. They are especially convenient if you don’t like cleaning or live a busy life.

Light cleaning here and there is not a big deal. But deep cleaning all of your carpets and rugs once a year by the professionals is a great way to freshen up your entire house. They use high-quality cleaning products and machines.

Whether you are trying to remove mud or the wine stain from last Christmas, the professionals always have a way to get rid of them. They are super delicate with the rug as well so you have nothing to worry about.

Summary: Clean all of your shag rugs professionally at least once a year for a healthy household.

Maintenance Tips for Your Shaggy Rug

Now that you know how to properly clean your shag rug, here are some of our top maintenance tips to help you have the best home experience with them.

  1. Rotate your shag rugs regularly. Rotating your rugs once every few months will keep your rugs fluffy and give a more uniform look.
  2. If your shag rug is bright and colorful, block them from direct sunlight. Longer exposure to the sun can cause premature fading. Don’t put your rug directly in front of a window. If that’s not possible, rotate them more frequently.
  3. Put padding beneath your shag rugs to protect its shape. Padding not only stabilizes your rug but also works as a moisture barrier. So your rug stays clean longer.
  4. Air it out. Let your rug breathe from time to time. Let it hang outside in the direct sun for a few hours to remove moisture buildup.
  5. Apply a few drops of essential oils on the back of your rug to keep it smelling fresh and clean. Tea tree, eucalyptus, and lavender are some of the popular choices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

It’s not over until we have answered some crucial questions!

01. What should you use to clean a rug?

You don’t need a lot of products to take care of your favorite shag rugs. You can use stuff readily available at home. Vinegar water solution works really well to spot clean your rug.

Having a microfiber towel can really fasten up the process. If your rug is bigger, a vacuum cleaner or steam cleaner can be really effective for deep cleaning.

Buying some good quality dry shampoo can help you dry wash your rug. Alternatively, you can use baking soda and essential oil for dry washing as well.

02. Can you vacuum a shag rug?

You can definitely vacuum your shag rug. In fact, it is ideal to vacuum your rugs once a week for a dust-free home.

You can use a handheld vacuum for precise cleaning and control. Handheld vacuums are more effective as they don’t put the extra weight of the vacuum on the rug itself. Shag rugs are really fluffy so it needs high air pressure to remove all the grimes.

Turn off the beater bars on your vacuum to gently clean your rug. You can flip it and clean from behind if you are too anxious to damage your precious rug.

03. How do you clean a large shaggy rug?

To clean a large shaggy rug, you first need to fully vacuum it from front and back. Then you can either hang it outside and beat it with a broom to get rid of any excess dust or you can use a steam cleaner to kill all the bacteria and germs.

If your rigs have wet mud on them, let it dry properly then use a bristle brush to brush away chunks of mud from the fibers. Then use the spot cleaning heat on your steam cleaner to remove all the mud and stains from the rug.

Gently press the microfiber towel on the area and remove all the excess water. Let it dry properly before you place it on the floor again.

04. How do you wash a wool rug in the washing machine?

Before you even attempt to wash your wool rug in the washing machine, click the labels on our rig to find any washing machine symbols or codes. If you can then it is safe to wash on a machine.

In general, real cotton and synthetic rugs hold their shape after cleaning them on the washing machine. If your rug is made out of wool, jute or sisal, they are better off with hand washing.

Wool is a natural fiber with high-absorbency. If you wash your wool rugs in the machine, they can shrink, misshapen, or change the texture. Washing machines are just too rough for this kind of gentle fibers.

So to sum up the answer, you should never wash your wool rugs in the washing machine as it will totally destroy them.

05. Can you shampoo a shag rug?

Yes you can. But not your average hair shampoo. There are special carpet shampoos both in liquid and dry form. Shag rugs do not refer to moisture so dry shampoo is the way to go!

Dry shampoo helps your shaggy rugs to bring back the old luster and fluff to its fiber. It gets rid of oil and dirt and makes it squeaky clean. All you need are a good dry shampoo and a bristle brush.

Sprinkle the shampoo on the rug and massage it with the brush to evenly distribute the product. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes and then shake it off from your shag rug. That’s basically all you have to do. It’s so simple!

What Did You Learn?

There is a lot to consider while cleaning a shag rug. Everyone has their own secret tricks and tips.All you have to do is find the one technique that works for you and stick to it.

Area rugs can bring the whole room together or can make the space dusty and clogged. So it is important to keep your rugs clean to have a healthy and fresh home.

Hopefully with our detailed guide you now know how to clean your shag rug the right way.

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