Under 2 hours
Shag area rugs feature long, luxurious piles that give them their signature shaggy look. They feel soft underfoot and look great with a variety of decor. The shaggy fibers make cleaning them a little trickier than other types of rugs. The long fibers can hold dust and dirt particles deep inside the rug's pile. Cleaning shag rugs does take a little more effort, but it’s easy once a regular routine is established. Follow this guide to learn how to clean a shag rug.
Tools for Cleaning a Shag Rug
The tools and supplies needed for cleaning a shag rug are simple. All you need are:
- White vinegar
- White microfiber cloth
- Rug beater or broom
- Vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachments
- Dry carpet shampoo
- Steam cleaner (optional)
Cleaning a shag rug is a doable DIY project for most homeowners. Before attempting to clean a shag rug, read the care instructions on the rug’s label. For tough stains or if the rug is very large, professional cleaning may be the best course of action.
How to Clean a Shag Rug at Home
- Shake or beat: Take the area rug outdoors and give it a good shake. If it’s a large rug, enlist the help of a partner and hang it over a porch railing or over a couple of solid chairs. Use a broom or rug beater to hit the rug all over to loosen deeply embedded dirt. Don’t forget to shake out the rug pad too.
- Let it soak up some rays: The sun is a natural and effective deodorizer. Letting the rug soak up some rays for a short time will help kill bacteria and mites. Tip: Prolonged sunlight can fade the colors of the rug, so only expose it to sunlight for short periods of time.
- Vacuum: Adjust the vacuum's height setting to high. The long piles of shag rugs need more clearance so the moving parts of a vacuum do not damage the rug’s fiber. It’s actually better to use the upholstery attachment of the vacuum and clean the rug by hand. If the rug is in a high traffic area, flip the rug over and vacuum the underside of the rug too. You can vacuum the backside of the rug with an upright vacuum.
- Use the dry bath method for cleaning shag rugs: If the rug needs to be refreshed, sprinkle a dry rug shampoo onto the surface and let it sit for the recommended time, then vacuum it up.
- Steam clean: If the rug is very soiled, then an all-over steam clean is needed. Take the rug outdoors or lay it out on a large tarp. Start with a vacuumed rug. Follow the operation instructions for the steam cleaner. Hang the rug to dry, preferably outdoors.
- Wash it: For super soiled rugs, a bath is necessary. This method works best for smaller rugs. Fill the tub with warm water. Mix in a detergent that is safe for the type of fiber the rug is made with. Put the rug inside and let it sit for 10 minutes or more. Use your hand or a brush with very soft bristles to remove the stains. Rinse the rug and gently push out as much water as possible from the fibers. Let it dry thoroughly outdoors.
How to Clean a Shag Rug with Stains
In-between deep cleanings, spills or muddy footprints will need prompt treatment to protect a shag rug. For little spills or stains, spot cleaning works the best. Try these steps to spot clean a shag area rug:
- For spills, immediately blot the spill with a white microfiber cloth or paper towels.
- For solids, use a dull edge like a spoon or spatula to get as much of the solid off the rug. Do not rub the stain—that will only push the dirt deeper into the rug. However, if there is mud on the rug, let it dry. It’s easier to remove it once it’s dried.
- Mix equal parts water and white vinegar. Dip a clean microfiber cloth into the vinegar-water mixture and gently dab the stained area. Do not rub vigorously—that will just push the stain further into the rug fibers.
- Let it dry.
Maintaining a Shag Rug
Shag rugs only need to be vacuumed once or twice a week, depending on footfall traffic. Try to vacuum by hand instead of using an upright vacuum. Vacuuming by hand will get more dirt out of the rug and keep the fibers looking great. Use a carpet/rug rake attachment for vacuuming. It looks like a comb and it vacuums the rug while grooming it with its gentle, comb-like bristles. Ask visitors and family to keep shoes off the rug and rotate the rug for even wear every six months.
Shag area rugs can warm-up your space and look great with most decor. Knowing how to clean a shag rug will keep the rug looking good for years to come. The Home Depot has area rugs, vacuums and other floor coverings online and in-store. Use The Home Depot app to locate products and check inventory. We'll take you to the exact aisle and bay.