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How to Deep Clean and Maintain a Beautiful Shag Rug

large brown shag rug on a vinyl floor

From an aesthetic viewpoint, shag rugs are often preferred over low pile carpets or rugs. In fact, they are also widely chosen over the latter for their warmth, cosiness, and comfort, too! Available in a variety of fibres ranging from wool to silk, shag rugs are the perfect addition to any room in need of a luxurious touch. 

With that said, the only downside to these plush, long pile rugs is that they are more prone to dust and dirt which, in turn, means that they require frequent cleaning and maintenance. Moreover, due to their shaggy piles, extra care must be taken when carrying out any type of cleaning method. 

Today, MaidForYou is sharing all the information you need on how to clean shag rugs for both, weekly cleaning purposes, and occasional deep cleans. It’s all about knowing the right techniques, products, and tools to use in order to safely and thoroughly clean your shag rug. So, let’s begin!

Tools & Cleaners You’ll Need

white vacuum cleaner vacuuming a large brown shag rug

Before you begin cleaning your shag rug, it is important to ensure that you have everything you need for a satisfactory end result. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Broom
  • Soft cleaning brush
  • Vacuum cleaner (with upholstery attachment)
  • Microfibre towels
  • Bowl
  • Baking soda
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Dry carpet shampoo (granules)

Now, let’s take a look at the two different cleaning methods for routine and deep cleaning shag rugs respectively.

Regular Cleaning & Maintenance of Shag Rugs

close up of white vacuum cleaning large brown shag rug

Routine cleaning of your shag rugs will keep dust, dirt, and stains to a minimum. Remember, the more often you carry out basic cleaning, the less frequent your shag rugs will require a deep clean.

Below are the simple steps you need to follow to clean a shag rug.

Step 1: Shake Off Loose Debris

A quick and efficient way to get rid of debris trapped in the pile is to carry the rug outside, and shake it vigorously to release dust and dirt. You should consider wearing a mask when doing this as the dust may trigger sneezing or allergies. If the rug is quite large or heavy, it can be hung or draped over a porch rail instead, and then beaten with a broom to dust off debris. This is a great way to loosen up dirt that is trapped in the backing, as well as the pile. 

Step 2: Vacuum With Upholstery Brush

Many are wary of using a vacuum cleaner on shag rugs as long pile carpets are deemed more delicate than short piles. This is especially true if they are made from delicate fibres; nevertheless, you can vacuum a shag rug keeping a few rules in mind:

  • Always use an upholstery attachment 
  • Turn the suction power setting to low or medium 
  • Never use a beater bar on shag rugs
  • For an upright vacuum cleaner, change the setting to ‘high pile’ before vacuuming

With these dos and don’ts of vacuuming shag rugs in mind, go ahead and begin removing all traces of dust, dirt, and debris with a thorough vacuuming of the pile. Don’t forget to flip the rug and vacuum the underside as well. You can use a low pile setting and higher suction power for this.

Step 3: Spot Treat Stains

Most mild stains on shag rugs can be treated with a cleaning solution consisting of liquid dish soap and water. Just a few drops in about 1 cup of water should do the trick. To apply the cleaning solution and remove stains from your shag rug, dampen the bristles of a soft brush in the mixture, and gently scrub the stain away. As an alternative cleaning tool, you can use a clean, microfibre towel instead. Once the stain is removed, dampen a fresh towel in water, and wipe the area to rinse off the cleaning solution. Finish off by blotting the dampened pile with a dry towel, and hang or drape the rug over a clothes rack to air-dry completely. 

Step 4: Fluff Up the Pile

After you have cleaned your shag rug, it is likely that the pile may not appear as plush and fluffy as it was before. Don’t worry, though, this result is merely caused by using cleaning tools and techniques that have smashed the pile down. To counter this, all you need to do is lift and fluff up the pile using your fingers!

How to Deep Clean Your Shag Rug

close up of white vacuum cleaning large brown shag rug with a 5 seater grey couch in the background

It should be noted that deep cleaning a shag rug is best left to the professionals; however, if the rug is not too dirty, a gentle DIY deep clean will suffice. Of course, if you are dissatisfied with the results, you may hire a professional rug and carpet cleaning technician to do the needful. With that said, this deep cleaning method for shag rugs is highly effective in removing dirt, stains, and dullness from carpet fibres. 

Here are the steps to deep clean your shag rug:

  • Like step 1 and 2 of your regular cleaning routine, take the rug outside, shake off debris, and then vacuum the pile and underside of the rug.
  • Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the rug, and let the powder absorb musty odours for a good 4 - 6 hours. Baking soda is also effective in brightening up carpet fibres so the longer you let it sit, the better. At the end of the sitting time, shake off as much of the baking soda as you can, and follow it up with a thorough vacuuming.
  • Sprinkle the carpet shampoo granules over your shag rug (apply a larger amount to stained areas, if any). Work the granules into the pile using a soft cleaning brush, and allow the shampoo to sit for at least 60 minutes or as directed on the label.
  • After the carpet shampoo has had enough time to work on the dirty and/or stained fibres, vacuum the rug one final time. Lastly, you will need to lift the pile again using your fingers or a carpet rake. 

With that, we come to the end of two very simple, yet effective, DIY cleaning methods to keep your shag rugs clean, stain-free, and well maintained! Of course, if you need professional assistance in cleaning carpets and rugs, Maid For You is just a booking away!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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