How To Clean A Shag Rug: Cleaning Tips And Easiest Ways

how to clean a shag rug

Although cleaning and maintaining shag rugs can seem difficult, they are undoubtedly in style. What should you do? Depending on how dirty it is, there are different ways you can clean your shag rug.

What Is A Shag Rug?

Because of its long and fluffy fibers, a shaggy rug is simple to identify. Despite the fact that the original pieces were made entirely of wool, today various other materials are also used to diversify them. Along with wool Flokati and Noodles shag rugs, synthetic and even leather shag rugs are also readily available. Even though the former are creative and colorful, professional carpet cleaning will undoubtedly be required to get them thoroughly cleaned.

One important thing to keep in mind, especially if you are still wondering what kind of shag rug to get for your home, is the thickness of the fibers. The structure of the rug will be more easily penetrated by dirt the thicker and more widely spaced the fibers are. A shaggy rug with longer, thinner fibers will be a little simpler to clean.

Although this may make you think twice before getting such a rug for your place, consider the following pros and cons before making a final decision:

how to clean a shag rug

Shag Rugs Advantages:

  • It can enhance the interior design of any room.
  • Its fluffy material gives your feet comfort.
  • When the weather gets chilly, a shag rug will keep you warm.
  • These rugs can last for many years if they are made from natural materials.

Shag Rugs Disadvantages:

  • The biggest drawback of shag rugs, as previously mentioned, is how much maintenance they require.
  • Dust mites, dust particles, and other allergens are easily trapped in the fibers due to their structure, which can be dangerous for those who are more sensitive and children.
  • Especially with recently installed shag rugs and carpets, constant foot traffic frequently causes shedding. Even though this is only a short-term issue with new carpeting, it can still be inconvenient.

How Often To Clean A Shag Rug

To keep the pile fluffy and remove dust and debris, it is ideal to vacuum a shag or frieze pile rug that is regularly used every day, especially if you have pets. Ideally, the rug should only need to be vacuumed a few times per week. Monthly or as required, a more thorough deep cleaning is advised.

How To Clean Your Shag Rug The Right Way

What You’ll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Vacuum with an upholstery attachment
  • Sponge mop
  • Small bowl
  • Microfiber towels
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Plastic tarp
  • Broom
  • Carpet rake


  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Baking soda
  • Dry carpet shampoo granules

Shake Daily

Your plush rug can be instantly cleared of dirt and debris with a good shake, a simple but effective method. If you do it every day, it will even be better because it will stop dirt from settling into the fibers and make maintenance simpler. You can easily shake a small rug by hand a few times, but you’ll need a beater for a larger shag carpet.

how to clean a shag rug

Routine Shag Rug Cleaning

  1. Shake Away the Dirt Take the rug outside and give it a good shake if it is small enough to be picked up easily. Another method for removing dust and dirt that has become lodged in the rug’s fibers is to hang the rug over a strong clothesline or railing and beat it with a broom or old tennis racket. There will be an incredible release of soil. Go to the next step and vacuum if you need to clean your area rug without moving it.
  2. Vacuum the Rug The most effective method for vacuuming a shag rug is to use a canister vacuum with a hose and upholstery attachment. This will prevent the rug loops from being pulled too tightly. If you only have an upright vacuum, disengage the beater bar and set the cleaning head to the highest pile setting. Do not use your vacuum on a shag rug in this manner if it is unable to make these adjustments. Instead, vacuum the rug more delicately, taking care not to pull out the fibers, using your dust brush attachment or upholstery tool. Set the vacuum to the right settings and suction out the debris. For the best results, work in a grid, move slowly and overlap each stroke. Stop vacuuming if you feel that the shag rug’s fibers are being pulled too tightly by the vacuum. Change the vacuum settings to the lowest pile setting, turn on the beater bar, and vacuum the underside of the rug to capture embedded dirt. If the rug is too large, fold it over a section at a time. Don’t forget to vacuum the floor directly beneath the rug as well.
  3. Check for and Treat Stains Returning to the other side, examine the rug for stains. Spot-treat the stained areas while adhering to the specific stain’s stain removal instructions. The majority of stains can be eliminated by adding a few drops of dishwashing liquid to a cup of warm water. Gently rub the stain with the solution after dipping a soft-bristled brush or microfiber towel in it. Finish by rinsing the area with a clean towel dipped in plain water and blotting the carpet with a dry towel. For a faster drying time, hang the rug to dry or elevate the cleaned area so air can circulate around the damp area.
  4. Lift the Pile Uses your hands, a carpet rake, or a child’s plastic garden rake to lift and revive the fibers if the pile isn’t as fluffy as you’d like. Don’t pull; be gentle. If you prefer to brush your shag rug, avoid using a regular brush because it will be too harsh on the fibers of the rug. Instead, use a horsehair upholstery brush, which will be much gentler on the fibers.

Deep Cleaning A Shag Rug

The majority of carpet cleaning experts advise against deep cleaning a sizable fluffy shag rug on your own because too much moisture or vigorous scrubbing can harm the fibers and detract from the pile’s appearance. A shag rug should never be cleaned with a rented carpet shampooer or steamer because the suction is too strong for the fibers. The steps below are the best ones to use when hand-deep cleaning a deep pile rug.


Before performing any kind of deep cleaning on an expensive shag rug, seek advice from a specialist.

1. Shake and Vacuum

The weekly cleaning procedure of taking a shag rug outside for a good shake or beating should be finished when it’s time to deep clean it. Bring the rug inside after that, and vacuum it from both sides. place a plastic tarp or plastic sheeting underneath your shag rug if it is directly on a hardwood floor before continuing with the subsequent deep cleaning procedures. You don’t want any moisture to get trapped between the rug and the hardwood floor.

2. Brighten and Deodorize With Baking Soda

Spread plenty of dry baking soda on the rug if it is stain-free but otherwise dull and smells stale. Dust will be trapped by the baking soda, and odors will be eliminated. Give the baking soda at least four hours (better yet, overnight) to sit on the rug. Remove the powder by shaking and vacuuming.

3. Deep Clean With Dry Carpet Shampoo Granules

Dry carpet shampoo granules should be lightly sprinkled over the rug. Make sure to read the label and determine whether the product is suitable for the wool or acrylic carpet fibers you have. To work the granules into the shag fibers, use a dry mop or a soft-bristled brush. For details on how long to leave the shampoo on the rug, consult the manufacturer. Most take about an hour.

Apply a little more dry shampoo and thoroughly brush it in any stained areas. Take the rug outside, shake it vigorously, and then vacuum up any leftover debris after the advised amount of time has passed. Do not forget to vacuum the rug from both sides. To protect the rug’s backing from harm, it’s critical to completely remove all shampoo residue.

4. Lift the Pile

Lifts the rug’s pile to create a fluffy appearance using a carpet rake or your hands.

how to clean a shag rug

How To Spot Clean Your Shag Rug

We have a few more pointers for maintaining that shag rug’s cleanliness. We have a few reminders for you, though, before that. Don’t, first of all, put off cleaning. You must immediately begin cleaning after a spill by grabbing your cleaning supplies. Although the situation is not always ideal, the less time you waste on a stain before treating it, the better. Second, avoid rubbing the stain because you run the risk of making it worse. Use a kitchen towel, rag, or microfiber cloth to absorb as much liquid as you can. Press and blot several times.

And here is how you can proceed with the spot treatment:

  • Use a specialized dry stain-removing agent to treat older stains directly. To remove recent stains, some traditional natural home remedies like water and white vinegar or water and liquid soap and vinegar should work.
  • Allow the product to sit for a while so that it can break down the spot.
  • To fully remove the stain, vacuum the dry stain remover or rinse with clean water.

Tips To Keep Shag Rugs Clean Longer

  • If your small shag rug doesn’t have a rubber backing and the cleaning instructions say it can be machine-washed, by all means, do so to save time.
  • Spot cleaning should be used to remove spills and stains as soon as possible.
  • Enforce a no-shoes policy around your shag area rug because shoes can easily flatten the fibers of a shag rug and spread hard-to-reach dirt.


What Is The Most Effective Homemade Carpet Cleaner?

Most likely, you already have everything you need to create a powerful homemade carpet cleaner. Spray a solution of water, white vinegar, and dish soap. Add oxygen bleach for increased cleaning power. This method works best for cleaning specific areas of a shag rug. Alternatively, you can use a small upholstery cleaning machine to work the cleaning solution into the fibers of a rug with a lower pile, or you can lightly spray the mixture on the rug and let it air dry.

After Being Washed, How Should A Rug Be Dried?

It is always best to let an area rug air dry outside. Even small area rugs should be avoided from being dried in the dryer and should instead be hung up to dry naturally.

Can I Clean A Rug With A Carpet Shampooer?

You should avoid using a carpet shampooer to clean an area rug, especially a shag area rug. A carpet shampooer can harm the various layers of an area rug because of the differences in construction between carpeting and area rugs.