How To Clean A Shag Rug

best way to clean a shag rug

Shag rugs are characterized by their long, luxurious piles, creating a distinctive appearance that compliments various types of decors. Their shaggy texture not only looks great but also adds to their appeal as one of the most comfortable carpets options in the market. Despite the challenges associated with cleaning, given the long fibers,  the enduring quality and versatility of shag rugs continue to make them as popular today, just as they were in the 80s.  Cleaning shag rugs can be more demanding as compared to other carpet types due to their long fibers.

These fibers tend to trap dust and dirt particles deep within the pile, making cleaning more challenging. However, maintaining cleanliness becomes easier with a consistent self-cleaning routine or by utilizing professional carpet cleaner service.  Various rug styles, such as Flokati, Wool, Leather, and Acrylic, require unique care and cleaning methods based on their materials.. The diversity is a key factor contributing to the higher cleaning costs for shag rugs compared to low-pile rugs when opting for professional rug cleaning services.  Understanding and addressing these differences is essential for preserving the longevity and appearance of your rugs.

How Often to Clean a Shag Rug

The frequency of cleaning a shag rug depends on various factors such as foot traffic, pets, and environmental conditions. As a general rule, it is recommended to vacuum a shag rug at least once a week to remove surface dirt and debris. For high traffic areas or households with pets, it may be necessary to vacuum the rug more frequently, such as every other day. 

It is also important to spot clean any spills or stains immediately to prevent them from setting in and becoming more difficult to remove. Deep cleaning a shag rug should be done every 6-12 months, depending on the level of use and soiling. This can be done by hiring a professional carpet cleaning service or using a rug shampooer at home.

How to Clean a Shag Rug at Home

If you are feeling unsure about cleaning your shag rug at home, don't worry– it is entirely possible with proper care.  Start by checking the rug care tags to understand its specific requirements.  Explore some of the best carpet cleaning methods for use at home.


If your rug appears dirty without any visible stains, vacuuming the dust can restore its fluffiness.  Adjust your vacuum to the highest setting and  utilize hand attachments or use a handheld vacuum for optimal results.  Thoroughly vacuum the rug to remove all dirt, and don’t forget to flip over to clean the back.  Prior to placing it back in its original position, shake out your shag rug for a refreshed appearance.

Beat it

Shaking or beating is an  effective method for regularly refreshing dingy rugs. For smaller rugs, simply beat them against something solid.  However, this may be challenging for a larger one. In the case of larger rugs, repeatedly beat the broom against the rug to loosen debris  after placing  the carpet against a stable support.

Spot Clean

This technique is most effective for spills,  and the key is to act swiftly, ideally before the stain sets. To address the spill, grab a towel promptly, and blot the affected area. Prepare a soapy liquid by mixing rug shampoo with water and then dip a soft bristle brush into the solution.  Gently rub the stained area in a circular motion using the brush. Repeat the process as needed. Finish by  rinsing  the area with water and allowing it to air dry.

Dry Bath

 Sometimes, vacuuming alone may not suffice, and your rug may require additional care. Dry shampoo can  rejuvenate your shag rug effectively.  Following vacuuming, generously sprinkle the dry shampoo  onto the carpet and gently work it into the fibers using a bristle brush. Allow it to sit for  approximately 10 minutes, then either vacuum or shake the shampoo out for refreshed and revitalized results.

Steam Clean

This is preferable when the soil has deeply embedded in the carpet fibers. To steam clean a rug,  use a steam cleaner, and  a recommended cleaning solution. Always  begin with a freshly vacuumed rug; then, add water and the cleaner to the steam cleaner, running it over the surface until all stains and discolorations disappear. 

Hand Wash

If your rug is not labeled as “dry clean only”, you can attempt to hand wash it. Fill a tub with warm water and add a cup of detergent. Submerge your vacuumed rug into the water, letting it soak for approximately 10 minutes. Gently work out any stains from the fibers using a brush and your hands. Wring out excess water and allow the rug to air dry.  However, if your rug is labeled as “dry clean only” or you are uncertain about the cleaning process, it is advisable to hand it to professionals. Depending on the rug type, carpet cleaners will follow the appropriate cleaning procedures:

Deep Cleaning in Pool

Firstly, a machine beats the soil out of the rug and shakes loose dry particles through vibrations, providing thorough dusting to your shaggy carpet. Subsequently, the professional submerges the carpet into a pool and applies carpet shampoo. After lathering the soap, a roller is used to flush the water out and away from the rug, pulling  deeply embedded dirt particles with it. This process is repeated until the water runs crystal clear. Finally, utilizing special drying equipment, professionals meticulously remove all moisture from your shag rug.

Hot Water Extraction

In this method, high-pressure tools are employed to inject a mixture of hot water and cleaning agents into your carpet, effectively loosening  dirt, debris, grime, and soil embedded in the carpets. Subsequently, a high-powered vacuum is used to extract all the loosened filth from your carpet, leaving it thoroughly cleaned and refreshed.

Tips to Keep Shag Rugs Clean For Longer

  • To keep your shag rug looking fresh, give it a good shake outside every week or so to loosen and remove any dirt and debris. 
  • You can also use a vacuum with a rotating brush attachment to gently and thoroughly clean the rug. 
  • And if your shag rug is in a high-traffic area, consider rotating it every few months to prevent wear and tear in one spot. 
  • Remember, prevention is key when it comes to keeping your shag rug clean for longer. 
  • Regular maintenance and following the care instructions will help your rug stay plush and beautiful for years to come.

DIY isn't the Same as the Professionals

Renting a carpet cleaning machine is a popular choice among homeowners opting for a DIY approach. While their efforts are commendable, it is evident that the results may not match the thoroughness achieved by professionals.  Services like PristineGreen rug cleaner NYC  employ well-trained teams, high-power machines, non-toxic products, and most importantly, years of experience that surpass DIY efforts.  At PristineGreen, we offer a range of services, including premier carpet cleaning, rug restoration, furniture cleaning, and more! 

Simply give us a call or reach out to us , and we will be delighted to assist you!

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Voted 5-Star Top Carpet Cleaner and Upholstery Cleaner in NYC, Brooklyn & Queens. Our customer service hours are 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week.

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