How to Clean Shag Rug: Quick and Easy Methods for Regular Maintenance

How to Clean Shag Rugs - The Plain and Simple Truth

Oct 06, 2023
What is a Shag Rug?A shag rug is a carpet or rug with a deep, uneven pile an inch high or more, which makes it look shaggy. Shag rugs were in fashion in the 70s and 80s and are now staging a comeback.

In this article, we discuss how to clean shag rugs in different ways according to the type of shag rug you are dealing with. These rugs are very versatile and blend in with different styles of décor.

Cleaning a Shag Rugs

Vacuum cleaner in living room

Types of  Shag Rugs

Shag rugs come in different shapes and sizes. Moreover, a shag rug is named according to how it is made. Here are a few of the commonest types of shag rugs:

1. Flokati

It is like a sheepdog’s fur and the fluffiest variety. Usually, from Greece, this wool shag rug has a backing of wool as well. It is typically a white shag rug or cream in color but may come in different colors as well.

2. Leather

This variety of shag rug is unique and striking. However, it is one of the most delicate types and should be handled with care.

3. Wool

A wool shag rug can be made in a variety of different ways, like “noodle” or “Shaggy” designs.

4. Synthetic

This type of shag rug is simpler to clean and it is also cheaper than the other types. However, you may not get the same quality and lifespan that you get from a wool shag rug.

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Different Methods to Clean a Shag Rug

Depending on the type of shag rug and what it is you need to clean (stains, spills, or dust), you will have to use different methods to clean it. Here are a few of the regular methods you can use:

Using a Vacuum Cleaner


Vacuum cleaner turbo brush frees the carpet from dust

☑ For rug cleaning, you need a fairly best vacuum cleaner.
☑ Set your machine to the highest speed.
☑ You need to turn off the beater bar.
☑ You should vacuum with the hand attachment.
☑ Run the vacuum over the rug thoroughly in a back and forth motion.
☑ You can now vacuum the back of the rug by flipping it over.
☑ Once you have completed the vacuuming operation, take it out and give it a good shake.
☑ Your shag rug should now be as good as new.

Shaking or Beating

This is a good way of giving your shag rug a quick fix. This method is ideal if your rug is small and/or is not very dirty. It is the most effective way to clean a rug by hand.

☑ Place the rug over the railing of a balcony or a wall.
☑ Take a solid object like a carpet beater (do we still get those?!) or a baseball bat or broom.
☑ Beat the rug gently, but hard enough to dislodge the dust.
☑ Let the rug hang in the sun for a couple of hours to kill bacteria and dust mites, if any.

Spot Cleaning

If there are spills or stains on the rug, then spot cleaning is the best method, especially when the rest of the rug is intact. This works best for wet stains, and you will need a white towel, a soft brush, some mild detergent, and water.

☑ First, blot the spill with the wet towel.
☑ If colored liquid has spilled on the rug, add a bit of water to flush out the color.
☑ Make a mild solution of water with a dash of soap.
☑ Dip the brush in the soap solution.
☑ Gently scrub the affected area in a circular motion until the stain fades away.
☑ Flush the stained area to get rid of the detergent.

The Dry Bath Method

If dirt has been absorbed into the fibers, vacuuming won’t suffice. You can use a good quality dry shampoo to restore the cleanliness and texture of your rug.

☑ First, run a vacuum cleaner over the rug to remove dust and loose particles.
☑ Sprinkle some dry shampoo on the rug (preferably done outside).
☑ Gently rub the shampoo into the rug using a brush.
☑ Allow the shampoo to soak into the rug as per the instructions.
☑ Give the rug a good shake or a quick vacuuming once the shampoo has dried.
☑ Your stain should be gone, and the rug will be ready for use.

Steam Cleaning

Removing dirt with professional vacuum cleaner indoors

Removing dirt with professional vacuum cleaner indoors

A steam cleaner is a handy thing to have. If you don’t have one, they are available to rent at some grocery and hardware stores.

☑ Give the rug a quick, initial vacuuming.
☑ Fill the steam cleaner with water.
☑ Run the steam cleaner over the rug until it looks clean again.
☑ Once done, allow the rug to dry in the sun.

Hand Washing a Shag Rug

A shag rug should never be washed in a washing machine. Hence, if you aren’t able to get your rug cleaned through other methods, you need to hand wash it.

☑ Start by lightly vacuuming your rug.
☑ Fill a tub with warm water, and add a cap full of liquid detergent to it.
☑ Immerse the rug in warm water, and soak it for approximately 10 minutes.
☑ Now, remove the rug and place it on a flat surface.
☑ Gently rub the rug with a brush until the stains and spills fade away.
☑ Hang your rug out in the sun to dry.
☑ Once dry, you can put your rug back on the floor.

Professional Cleaning

If the cleaning instructions on your rug state that it should be dry cleaned only, then you cannot clean it yourself. You need to take the rug to a professional dry-cleaning service. This may seem like a costly affair, but it if you attempt to clean such a rug on your own, you are likely to ruin it. So, always check the washing instructions on your shag rug when it needs cleaning.

Know Your Rug to Clean it Properly

If you are aware of the type of rug you have, and you follow the cleaning instructions properly, you should be able to get a long life out of your shag rug. Just follow these simple steps, and you will realize that it’s not as complicated as it seems!

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