How to Clean a Shag Rug

How to Clean a Shag Rug

Shag rugs look fantastic in almost any living space. Their range of patterns and styles combined with their unrivaled underfoot comfort has seen shag rugs making a comeback. 

But the beautiful appearances and soft textures of these high-pile masterpieces do come at a price. Shag rugs have a “high pile,” which refers to the length and density of fibers. Since shag carpet fibers are long and loose, they hide stains and complicate rug cleaning. They’re also magnets for dust, mites, and germs, irrespective of whether you’ve chosen real wool or synthetic fibers. 

All of this means you have to pay more attention to the cleaning regimen of your delicate shag rug than you would of a conventional carpet if you want to maintain its fantastic plush texture. 

So how exactly do you keep these fluffy wonders clean?

How To Clean a Shag Rug

First of all, the best approach to keeping your shag rug clean is by taking a little and often approach. Letting your shag rug become matted with dirt and stains is a surefire way to ensure you lose it’s soft and fluffy texture. So never leave it too long in between cleaning sessions.

But it’s not just how frequently you clean it; there is a tried and trusted process.

Step #1: Shake it Out

The first step is to pick up your fluffy rug and take it outside. Once outside, shake it as vigorously as possible for at least a minute. This helps remove and dislodge any dirt, dust, crumbs, or any other objects that have nestled themselves in the high rug fibers.

Can’t pick up your rug because it’s too big? Instead, you need to roll it up, carry it outside, and hang it over an object such as a clothesline or an outdoor handrail. You can then use a broom or similar tool to “beat” the items out of the rug.

Step #2: Vacuum Your Rug

Next, it’s time to vacuum your rug. You need to be very careful because a traditional vacuum can ruin your long fibers by pulling them up when they get caught in the machine. If you have a high-pile setting on your vacuum or have a specialist vacuum, then great, get to work. 

However, if you have a regular vacuum, you may need to get inventive. One method you can employ is to lay down a sheet before bringing your shag rug back inside. Once you’ve brought the rug inside, lay it face down on the sheet, and vacuum what is usually the underside of the rug. 

Now pick up your rug. You should notice that debris from the rug has fallen onto the sheet. You can then vacuum the sheet to pick this debris up. Repeat the process until debris stops being collected on the sheet. 

Note that this method isn’t ideal and is a temporary workaround. Ideally, you should hire a professional rug cleaning service that uses specialized equipment to vacuum high-pile shag rugs.

Step #3: Remove Any Stains from Your Shag Rug

When inquiring about how to clean a fluffy rug, most people are more specifically interested in getting stains out of a shag rug. The key here is speed. The quicker you respond (ideally immediately), the easier the stain will come out. All you need is a spray of carpet cleaner (or specialist stain remover) on the affected area and dab with a clean microfiber cloth. 

Getting settled stains out is a touch trickier. For these, you need to follow the same initial methodology but allow your selected cleaning product to settle so that it has time to break down the stain. You may need to repeat this process several times before the stain is entirely out. For more specific instructions, follow the cleaning manufacturer’s directions (usually on the packaging).    

If you want to use a natural cleaning solution, you can try a simple mixture of equal parts warm water and white vinegar. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and spray directly onto the spill or stain, and dab with your clean microfiber cloth. Don’t go overboard, and just start with a few sprays. Then, repeat as necessary.

Step #4: Take Your Shag Rug to the Professionals

Even if you carry out routine cleaning on your shag rug, you need to take it to your local area rug cleaning company. Not only do they have the latest and greatest cleaning equipment to prep the rug for a deep clean, but they’ll provide you with a good old-fashioned hand cleaning service. Hand cleaning doesn’t tear or damage the fibers or the weave, and professional outfits adjust the specific cleaning method according to the rug’s age and condition.

Leading companies will have large, commercial-size pools that they run the rugs through by hand. This labor-intensive procedure is not something you can carry out in the comfort of your home, and it’s the best way to clean both the top fibers and the underlayment. If you’ve invested in a precious hand-woven shag rug, then this is the best way to protect its sheen, soft texture, and most importantly, value. 

Just one visit a year to a professional rug cleaning company will add decades to the usable life of your shag rug and rid it of germs, mites, and stains.

Keep Your Shag Rug Looking and Feeling Great with Regular Cleaning

Shag rugs are making a comeback right across America. But keeping them as beautiful and soft as they are when they first reach their home is more challenging than more traditional rug choices. 


However, there’s no need to worry; you don’t need to spend any more than a quarter of an hour per week cleaning and maintaining your shag rug. Another excellent idea to increase your fluffy rug’s longevity is to have it professionally cleaned once a year. You can start by getting a quote using an online rug cleaning calculator

By doing so, you can protect it against future damage, remove problematic stains and dust mites, and get it back from your local rug cleaning company looking brand new!


Use our online calculator to get an estimate and book your appointment today!


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