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How to wash a shag rug and maintain it for several years

One of the coziest and most opulent handmade rug designs is the shag. Their lengthy piles offer them a highly distinctive appearance and optimal comfort for walking on them. However, given that tenacious dust and other particles can become trapped inside the rug's piles, their lengthy fibers can also make them somewhat more difficult to clean. Therefore, knowing how to wash a shag rug and maintain its cleanliness and brand-new appearance is something you should know.

For the best results, it is wise to know the cleaning methods of the different types of shag rugs too. Shag rugs demand more upkeep than thinner, flatter carpets because of the long, plushy texture. Compared to flat weaves, long fibers collect more dust and debris. Fortunately, it's not hard to learn how to wash a shag rug; it simply takes some time. Your shag rug can seem newer and cleaner longer if you take the time to hand-clean it and thoroughly vacuum it.

Requirements for washing shag rugs

To keep the pile fluffy and eliminate dust and debris, it is ideal to learn how to clean a fluffy rug by hand when it is regularly used every day, especially if you have pets. Ideally, vacuuming the carpeting twice a week should keep it clean. Since washing rug in the washing machine is not a good idea especially if you have a shaggy one, checking out the details below can help.

Here are the tools and materials required to learn how to wash a shag rug at home.


  •       Bowl (small)
  •       Broom
  •       Brush with soft bristles
  •       Rake for cleaning
  •       Sponge mop
  •       Tarp (preferably plastic)
  •       Towels (microfiber)
  •       Vacuum cleaner including upholstery attachment


  •   Baking soda
  •   Dishwash liquid
  •   Dry shampoo (for carpet cleaning)

Different ways to clean a shaggy rug

If your shag rug is looking dirty, it needs deep cleaning. Apart from that, you must follow a proper routine cleaning process to keep it shining all the time. To know how to clean a white shag rug and clean it in further detail, check here.

Routine shag rug cleaning

Shaking or beating

Rug cleaning is an age-old activity that existed even before the discovery of a washing machine, and the most common technique to remove dust and dirt was by shaking the rugs. That's true, to regularly clean a shag rug without harming it, simply take it outside and shake it vigorously while holding the two corners. Do you know how to clean a polyester shaggy rug by shaking it?

If you buy large shag rugs, you can beat them gently with a broomstick or a regular wooden stick while hanging them from a fence or a sturdy clothesline. Make sure the stick doesn't cause the rug's fibers to rip. While it's strictly forbidden to clean shag carpets by exposing them to the sun for an extended amount of time, a brief dose of vitamin D can be helpful.

         Buy This Hand Woven Ivory Shag Rug 


Vacuuming is one of the most common and straightforward procedures used to clean shag rugs. However, it's crucial to keep in mind that the extra-long pile of shag rugs necessitates additional care when vacuuming shag carpets to prevent potential damage. So, how to vacuum a shag rug? To prevent the long fibers from becoming snagged and pulling out, adjust the vacuum's height and switch off the beater bars.

Additionally, if you are cleaning wool rugs, using a tough upholstery cleaner is not ideal. To help remove any dirt, just turn the rug over and vacuum the opposite side while using the beater bar. Shag rugs in high-traffic areas should be vacuumed frequently to prevent dirt buildup over time, which could necessitate the use of more difficult cleaning techniques.

Check and treat for stains

The simplest method to use if you unintentionally spill something on or stain your shag rug is spot cleaning. However, you must be prompt to ensure that the stain or spillage does not spread too much. Make sure you have access to carpet cleaning equipment in such a situation. It only has to be a carpet cleaning solution and a clean rag that has been saturated with as much liquid as possible. How can the spill be removed from the shag rug now?

You can just spray the solution on the target area, let the fabric soak for some time, and then use a fresh rag to blot it well. Just keep in mind to approach the spill from the outside edges. If you find it challenging, remember that cleaning a long carpet is undoubtedly harder, so be sure to dig deep into the rows of strands to properly remove the spill. We advise staying away from liquids near the shag rug to prevent the need for such time-consuming cleaning procedures.

Lift the pile

If you want to learn how to wash a shag rug, use your hands, a carpet rake, or a child's plastic garden rake to lift and revivify the fibers if the pile isn't as fluffy as you'd like. Be gentle; don't pull! If you prefer to brush your shag rug, avoid using a standard brush because it will be too harsh on the fibers of the rug. Use a horsehair upholstery brush as an alternative; it will be much gentler on the fibers.

Deep cleaning a shag rug

With the majority of carpets, you can get away with routine vacuuming and sporadic stain spot treatment. However, shag carpets tend to collect dust and grime more quickly and readily due to their deeper pile and fluffy nature. Because you won't always see it, it will accumulate and cause a variety of problems.

Getting the smell out of the carpet is one of these issues that arises. The easiest way to get rid of odors and entrenched filth in a shag rug is to deep clean it. A shag rug will receive a thorough, deep cleaning when hot-water extraction cleaning is used.

However, this technique works better with shag rugs made of synthetic fibers. So, feel free to use water extraction if you are learning how to deep clean a shag rug. Water extraction carpet cleaning equipment is available for purchase. If required, they can also be hired for a single day.


Whether your shag rug needs routine cleaning or a deep clean, keep the necessary tools on hand. So, can you shampoo a shag rug? Yes, a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment, a broom or rug beater, dry carpet shampoo, white vinegar, a bucket or spray bottle, a white microfiber cloth, a sponge, and a soft bristle brush is essential for cleaning a shag rug.

Apart from the above tools, your carpet cleaner's water tank should be filled with water and your preferred detergent. Pay close attention to the dose recommendations on the box. While certain products, can be used for low or even no-heat cleaning, most are ideally suited for hot water extraction cleaning.

Shake and vacuum the rug

Take a shag rug outside for a vigorous shake or pounding when it's time to perform the weekly cleaning procedures to thoroughly clean it. After that, bring the rug inside and vacuum it from both sides.

Before continuing with the subsequent thorough cleaning measures if your shag rug is directly on a hardwood floor, place a plastic tarp or plastic sheeting underneath the rug. No moisture should get wedged between the rug and the wooden floor.

Baking soda

Spread plenty of dry baking soda on the rug if it is stain-free but otherwise dull and smells stale. The baking soda will absorb dust and eliminate smells. Give the baking soda at least four hours (better still, overnight) to sit on the rug. Shake the powder, then vacuum it up. That is how to wash a shag rug without soaking it in a washing machine or water.

Dry carpet shampoo

Can you shampoo a shag rug? Yes, you can gently shampoo your rug so it looks fresh, vibrant, and smooth. Shag carpets can be cleaned with shampoo by evenly applying the shampoo and hot water to the rug and vacuuming the mixture afterward.

Stains and spills can be removed completely with this method. The rug is then allowed to dry naturally, away from direct sunshine, to prevent mildew. Your only hope is dry, powdered shampoos since they can trap dirt particles more successfully and provide an even deeper clean.

Steam cleaning

How to wash a shag rug by using the steam technique? Simply, call a professional who will steam clean a shaggy rug for you, or you can buy or rent a machine and do it yourself. It is a pretty quick and easy method that produces top-notch results. However, it is important to note that steam cleaning a rug might harm the fibers, so please exercise caution if you want to use a steam cleaner.

Overall, you shouldn't count on steam cleaning to remove dirt; instead, you should use the techniques mentioned above to do this. By eliminating any hidden allergens and dust mites, it will instead revitalize and refresh it.

After cleaning completely, the rug will still be a little wet. That’s when you must rinse well and extract any extra moisture before air-drying it. Please be aware that hairy carpets can soak up a lot of water, so this may take some time. If necessary, you can always use a fan to hasten the process.

Rinsing and extracting

Rinsing your rug to clean it is one of the most common ways, but make sure to extract all the excess moisture before air-drying it. Before you start the scrubbing and rinsing process, there are two things you must do. Firstly, a color test is very important for which you have to apply cleaner to a small area on the rug’s corner and scrub it to see if the color is getting washed out.

When you find it is good to go ahead, simply spread or spray cleaner all over the surface area of the rug and let it rest for about 10 minutes. The carpet will absorb the liquid and start releasing the dirt after which you can rinse with a soft brush. Once done, it is time to extract excess water, which you can easily do with a wet-dry vacuum too. 

 Drying the rug

Although cleaning little wool or cotton carpets is undoubtedly easier than cleaning shag rugs, many people prefer them because of their incredibly opulent appearance and feel. This approach should make it easier for you to maintain the shag rug's cleanliness and keep it looking brand-new.

To keep your shag rug free of tenacious dust particles, you can choose to vacuum it or shake it frequently. All of the aforementioned techniques can be used as needed and at appropriate intervals. We have a wide selection of shag rugs at The Rug Decor in a wide variety of colors and designs to fit any room.

 Buy Now - Hand-Woven Charcoal Shag Rug 

Additional tips for care and maintenance of shag rugs

You've finally found a shag rug that will perfectly highlight the elements of your house. You're now trying to figure out how to keep that attractiveness intact. Fortunately, by adhering to these ten simple tips, you may maintain the beauty of your new shag for years to come.

  •   A hand-knotted wool rug can be given back its fluff by giving it a gentle brushing.
  •   A shag rug should never be put in the washer or dryer!
  •   Ask visitors to take their shoes off before they tread on your lovely shag.
  •   Even with regular vacuuming, you can extend the life of your rug by disengaging or removing the beater brush from your vacuum.
  •   Keep youngsters with liquids away from natural fiber shags, as well as adults with stains-causing beverages like wine. Apply dry carpet cleaning powder right away if there is a spill.
  •   Roll up your rug every three months, flip it over so the backing is facing up, and vacuum while using the beater bar. Clean the floor of any dirt and debris before rolling the rug back up. Repeat the process twice. Finally, flip the rug over so the shag side is facing up.
  •   Several times a year, hang your rug outside in the sun for two to three hours to destroy any mildew and bacteria that could damage the fibers.
  •   Spot-clean acrylic rugs with white, crisp cloths and spot-removing spray. Place one towel below the carpeting and softly mist the other with stain remover. Wipe each soiled fiber gently.  Before using the rug, let it air dry.
  •   Use a hand comb or brush designed exclusively for routine maintenance, or a comb vacuum attachment.
  •   Yearly rug cleaning for all area rugs


How often should I vacuum my shag rug?

A shag rug is prone to dirt, dust, and other stains. So, cleaning a shag rug by vacuuming, and dusting at least twice a week is mandatory to keep the shine intact.

Can I use a regular carpet cleaner on my shag rug?

No, a regular carpet cleaner is not always the best idea when it comes to cleaning a shag rug. You should not even use an upholstery or carpet cleaning machine for shag rugs as the fibers in this case are longer and may get damaged easily.

How do I remove tough stains from my shag rug?

The best way to remove tough stains from a shag rug within less time is with a spray and blot technique. In this, you have to mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and use the liquid on the stained area. Before that, you must pull the carpet to a flat area, spray the liquid, and use a soft-bristled brush to clean the spot.

Can I use a steam cleaner on my shag rug?

Yes, steam cleaning is a good way to clean shaggy rugs. The heat from the cleaner works very well to kill bacteria and remove dirt from the rug and bring it back to its best form soon.

How can I prevent my shag rug from attracting dust and dirt?

The best way to prevent dirt and dust to settle on a shag rug is by ensuring that it is vacuumed regularly or at least twice every week.

How can I remove pet hair from my shag rug?

Removing pet hair easily from a shag rug using a solution of carpet cleaning liquid and water is possible. Just mix three parts of the cleaning liquid with one part of water and pour it into a spray bottle. Now start by misting the affected area and vacuum it right after.

                       Check out our latest collection of shag rugs 

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