Cleaning Your Shag Rug: Expert Advice and 9 Helpful Tips

Rug Cleaning
Shag rugs are gaining popularity these days. Purchasing one for your bedroom or living room will induce a cozy feeling. Not only will the stylish rug spruce up the look of the room, walking on its soft fibres will be a real pleasure for your feet.

However, when it comes to shag rug cleaning, things become hectic. Many shag rugs are quite delicate and might get damaged by vacuum cleaners and other wrong cleaning techniques.

9 Tips to clean Shag Rug by Experts Cleaners

Shag rugs usually require more care and attention than other rug types due to the long and delicate fabric-piles. But your effort will definitely pay off later by extending the fabric’s lifespan. There are many ways to clean your shaggy rug, and it depends on the amount of foot traffic it has to bear.

Therefore, we have discussed nine correct and actionable ways suggested by experts to clean your shag rugs. These ways are risk-free and do not damage your rug’s fabric. So why wait? Here are the tips:

1. Rug Beater or Broom

Beating or shaking is an effective way to clean your dirty rug regularly that isn’t stained or needs extensive cleaning. This method might be messy for big-size rugs but goes well for small rugs. Here are the requirements:

Something solid to beat the rug (example: porch rail)

A beating tool or Broom


All you have to do for small rugs is to beat them against something solid, say, hitting them against an outside wall. Larger rugs would require a more solid surface for beating and more hands.

  1. Lay the rug over stable support that can take multiple beating without coming apart
  2. Beat the rug with the broom repeatedly to loosen its debris.
  3. Keep the rug in the sun for a few hours. The sunlight will kill the germs or bacteria inside the rug

2. Washing

You can choose to wash your rug by hand if there is no steam cleaner, and your rug isn’t dry cleaned. Using a washing machine isn’t advised as it can be harsh on the rug’s fabric, even with the gentle cycles.


  • A Tub
  • Mild detergent
  • A brush with soft bristles

Steps involved:

  1. Begin with a freshly vacuumed rug
  2. Fill warm water into the tub
  3. Add a scoop of detergent. You can add another scoop if the rug is large.
  4. Put the rug inside the water. Let it soak for about 10 minutes.
  5. Gently wash the stains out of the fibres with your hands and the brush.
  6. Try to extract as much water as possible.
  7. Leave the rug to dry.

3. Vacuuming

Vacuuming the dirt off the rug can bring back its fluff and give it a “just bought” look.


  1. Set the vacuum machine to its highest setting. Low setting can catch the fibres in the brush and damage the rug.
  2. Vacuum the rug properly to suck up all the dust. Continue the process until your rug starts looking clean again.
  3. Vacuum the rug’s back by flipping it over. If you think the vacuum’s suction is high and can break the fibres even with the lowest setting, do just the rug’s back.
  4. Shake the rug thoroughly before putting it back in place.

4. Dry Shampooing

Usually, vacuuming doesn’t suffice because the dirt has seeped into the fibre-piles. This makes your rug look dingy. Dry Shampooing for shag rugs can give it a fresh new look.

Supply List:

  • A Dry carpet shampoo (choose the best brand in the market)
  • A soft bristle brush


  1. Vacuum the rug
  2. Sprinkle the dry shampoo on the rug. (Tip: do this activity outdoors so that the indoor doesn’t become messy)
  3. Gently work the shampoo into the fibres with a bristle brush
  4. Let it sit for the suggested time period mentioned in the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 10+ minutes).
  5. Shake or vacuum the dry shampoo out of the rug

5. Steam Cleaning

A steam cleaner can remove dirt that resides deep into the rug and causes odour.


  • Vacuum
  • A Steam cleaner
  • Suggested cleaner


  1. Always begin with a freshly vacuumed shag rug.
  2. Add water and cleaner liquid to the steam cleaner as suggested. Run it over the rug until the stains vanish.
  3. Let it air dry in the sun.

To steam clean shag rug is the most effective way of rug cleaning.

6. Spot Cleaning

Spot cleaning is most effective for spills. You just have to act swiftly before the stain sets in.


  • White towel
  • Water
  • Mild dish soap
  • A soft bristle brush

What to Do:

  1. Soon after you notice a spill, blot it using a towel. For coloured spills, desaturate the colour by diluting it with water.
  2. Take a squirt or two of soap and mix it with water.
  3. Put the brush in the soap-water solution. Scrub the affected area gently using circular motions. Repeat if necessary.
  4. Rinse with water thoroughly.
  5. Leave it to air dry.

7. Loosening Dirt from Shag Rug

Loosening the rug’s dirt requires an extensive beating, followed by exposing the rug to the Sun.


  1. Hang the rug over a sawhorse or railing.
  2. Beat the rug hard enough to loosen the trapped dust, debris, and dirt.
  3. Let the rug dry in a sunny location for a few hours. The Sun’s rays will kill various bacteria and dust mites.

8. White Vinegar for Shag Rug

Ideally, the best time to use this method is immediately after the spill. Even if the stains dry before you take action, there’s still hope. Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar (at room temperature) and pour directly on the affected area.

For tiny stains caused by a few tablespoons of spilled fluid or crumbs of food, start with ½ cup of each ingredient to form the mixture. Make more if required.

Use a white microfiber cloth to work the solution into the stain. Once you’ve eradicated the stain, hang the clean rug in a properly-ventilated space and let it dry completely.

9. Cool Air Dryers

Once you are done cleaning your shag rug, it’s time to dry it completely. This part is important because a wet rug will produce a foul odour. Not to forget the bacteria, mildew, and mould that come along.

When it comes to disinfecting and drying the rug, exposure to sunlight is possibly the best way to go. Somehow if this isn’t possible (due to rainy season or windy weather), then other effective options include cool air drying (with a fan) or using a blower/heater.

Note that your rug shouldn’t be sopping wet, to begin with. However, if it is, ensure that you wring it properly to get rid of excess water. You can also blot it with a sponge or a dry towel to absorb as much moisture as possible.

Wrapping Up

The fibres in a shag rug are delicate. Mishandling them can damage them for good. The tips mentioned in this article are given by experts and will help you to clean your shag rug correctly.

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