dog on shag rug

How to Clean a Shag Rug

How to Clean a Shag Rug

Have you been thinking about cleaning your shag rug but just aren’t sure how to get started? If you’re not sure where to begin, we have some helpful tips for you. Keep reading to learn more about the dos and don’ts for cleaning a shag rug, especially when you have an active family or pets at home who are always running all around on your shag carpet!

What Is a Shag Rug?

Shag rugs are a plush rug that feels just as cozy as they look. They can soften a room with hardwood floors and are great for relaxing or walking barefoot on. Their versatility helps soften more traditional or even modern spaces in any room — from bedrooms to living rooms. However, many people aren’t sure how to clean shag rugs. Whether you’re removing pet hair with a portable pet hair remover or just trying to figure out how to get that stain out, we’ll dive deeper into the reasons behind why you should routinely clean your shag rug and all the dos and don’ts of cleaning shag rugs.

Why You Should Clean Your Shag Rug

If you aren’t already routinely cleaning your shag rug, now is the time to start. Routinely cleaning your shag rug will help remove dirt, dust, and other allergens that tend to stick to these beautifully fluffy rugs. All that dirt and dust is bound to get stuck in all that beautiful fluff, but that means more allergens and debris like pet hair to take care of. 

To better prolong the life of your shag rug, use a pet hair removal tool to remove pet hair from the surface. Cleaning your shag rug on an ongoing basis will enhance your shag rug’s appearance and keep it looking and smelling fresh. Routine cleaning will help prevent permanent stains and lingering odors. When you’re trying to maintain a hygienic and healthy indoor environment, getting into the habit of routinely cleaning your shag rug and other furniture and fixtures in your home will help keep your home smelling fresh and looking tidy. To make it easier and faster to clean up dirt, debris, and pet hair especially, use a pet hair removal tool on any non-knit surface in your home, including those shaggy carpets.

Pet Hair Removal Tool

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Dos for Cleaning Your Shag Rug

While everyone loves the luxuriously soft vibes they get from shag rugs, they don’t exactly love cleaning them. Many people don’t know how to clean them, but don’t worry. You won’t be clueless anymore. Cleaning your shag rug requires some knowledge, patience, and a little bit of elbow grease. Let’s take a look at this important to-do list for cleaning your shag rug.

Dos for Cleaning Your Shag Rug

  • Do Consider the Type of Shag Rug You Have — Not all shag rugs are created equally. Do you have a Flotation shag rug made out of 100 percent wool? This fluffy rug needs to be vacuumed regularly before it even gets dirty to keep it fluffy and clean. Leather shag rugs are normally easier to clean than other shag rugs, but some people avoid this fancy shag rug because of the pricy high-quality of the leather shag rug. Ensure that you don’t get crumbs or liquid on this carpet. Acrylic shag rugs are a fine alternative to the more expensive wool shag rug, but keep in mind that acrylic shag rugs have poor fire resistance, so don’t put the acrylic rug near the kitchen or fireplace.
  • Do Loosen Dirt First — In addition to cleaning and vacuuming your rug, you’ll also need to loosen the dirt off the rug. The easiest way to do this is to take your rug outside. Hang it over a railing and beat the rug so it loosens any trapped dirt and debris. You can use the handle of a mop or the side of a broom to loosen the dust from your shag rug.
  • Do Vacuum Your Shag Rug — The frequency with which you need to vacuum your shag rug depends on how often it’s used and the state of your rug. On average, most people vacuum their shag rugs on a weekly basis. It may need to be more often, like every other day, if your children or pets play on that shag rug. If it’s rarely walked or played on, you may only need to vacuum your shag rug once a month.
  • Do Consider Professional Help — When in doubt, don’t be afraid to consider professional help when cleaning your shag carpet. While you may be able to loosen dirt or vacuum your rug by yourself, you may want to ask for professional assistance with deep cleaning your rug. Many of us simply don’t have the time to take care of our rugs — let alone the rest of the home — so there are plenty of reasons to outsource the job and seek extra assistance when you can.

Don'ts for Cleaning Your Shag Rug

While there are different cleaning methods for shag rugs, also depending on what kind of shag rug you have, there are universal things that you shouldn’t do when cleaning any kind of shag rug. Now that you know what to do when cleaning shag rugs, here are some important don’ts and common mistakes to keep in mind before you start cleaning your shag rugs.

Don'ts for Cleaning Your Shag Rug

  • Don’t Let Your Shag Rug Get Too Wet — Once you do wet or shampoo your carpet, your shag rug can take a long time to dry. That wet rug will soak in the water for a bit, which can easily lead to mold growth and over-saturation. When you shampoo or wet your rug, be sure to use a minimal amount of water so the rug will dry faster.
  • Don’t Scrub the Shag Rug Too Hard — The shag fibers of your rug are delicate. Aggressively scrubbing your rug can actually damage the shag fibers and cause them to mat or break. Use gentle strokes when cleaning your shag rug.
  • Don’t Use Harsh Chemicals — When we see a nasty stain or smell something funky on our shag rug, our first instinct can be to use harsh chemicals to get rid of that stain or funk. However, harsh cleaning chemicals can actually cause discoloration or even harm the fibers. Use a gentle cleaning solution on your rug and, ideally, find cleaning solutions that are made specifically for shag rugs.
  • Don’t Neglect Vacuuming — We can’t stress enough how important it is to regularly clean your shag rug. They should be vacuumed regularly to remove debris and dirt that can cause your rug to mat. Use a gentle brush attachment, and don’t use your vacuum’s beater bar.
  • Don’t Use the Vacuum’s Beater Bar — Your vacuum’s beater bar is usually found on the base of your vacuum. This rotating brush can agitate carpet fibers and loosen dirt, which is useful on thicker and more durable carpets — but it’s damaging on delicate surfaces. While it’s fine to use the beater bar on most other durable carpets in your home, your shag rug is too delicate for the vacuum’s beater bar. Ensure you turn it off when vacuuming your shag rug.

Steps for Cleaning Your Shag Rug

You’ve learned about the dos and don’ts of shag rug cleaning. Now let’s go step-by-step through how to clean your shag rug. Before you start cleaning, also take inventory of the tools you have. We’ll take a look next at the tools and materials you’ll need to actually clean that shag rug of yours.

Steps for Cleaning Your Shag Rug

  • Get the Tools You Need to Clean Your Shag Rug — First things first: You need to gather all of the tools you’ll need to actually clean your shag rug. Before lightly cleaning your shag rug if it’s lightly soiled — or doing a deep cleaning if it’s heavily soiled — there are essentials you should use to clean that apply to any level of dirt and debris. You’ll need a soft bristle brush, sponge, microfiber cloth, spray bottle, white vinegar, dry carpet shampoo, broom, and a vacuum with an upholstery attachment. Another tool that is especially useful is the Uproot Cleaner Pro™. If you’ve never used this one before, it’s a must-have for any home with pets. It’s a brush that easily removes pet hair and other debris from non-knit surfaces, including carpets, furniture, clothing, and, of course, your shag rug.

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  • Determine How Dirty Your Shag Rug Is — Not all shag rugs need to have a deep clean. Some might just be lightly soiled, while others require serious professional attention. To determine the soil level of your shag rug, start by bringing your rug outside. Beat it with a rug beater or broom to loosen the dirt and dust. Once the dust settles, take a look and see if the rug fibers still look matted or dingy. If your carpet still looks and smells old, you’ll want to do a deep cleaning of your carpet. In general, if your shag rug is in a high-traffic area or more than a year old, you’ll want to deep clean your shag rug once every year.
  • Cleaning a Lightly Soiled Rug — To clean a lightly soiled rug, use a dry carpet shampoo. These specialty shampoos have absorbent compounds that refresh the fibers and break up stains. All you need to do is sprinkle it on the rug and let the dry carpet shampoo work its magic. Be sure to spot-test in a small area on the rug first before you sprinkle it all over the rug. Follow the directions on the dry carpet shampoo.
  • Cleaning a Heavily Soiled Rug — If your rug is heavily soiled, you may want to consider steaming your carpet with a steam cleaner. The steam cleaner can help remove stains and dissolve dirt with high-heat vapor. Read the manufacturing instructions or see if your shag rug has a cleaning tag. You may want to also hand wash the rug, if possible, with a DIY treatment. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar to treat the rug. Spray the solution or sponge it on and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes. Then, use a soft bristle brush to remove stains.
  • Spot Cleaning a Shag Rug —The reality is if you have pets or kids, and especially if you have both, accidents are bound to happen at home. That means pets will track their muddy paws, and kids will put their dirty shoes all over your precious shag rug. Adult guests may accidentally spill their drink on your shag carpet. The moment a spill occurs, it’s best to spot-clean your shag rug immediately. For any liquid spills, blot the wet rug with a microfiber cloth or paper towel. If you get a solid spill like if food drops on your rug, do NOT rub the stain, which can push the dirt deeper into the rug. Use a spoon to get as much of the solid spill off the rug as you can before you continue to spot-clean.
  • How Often to Clean Your Shag Rug — According to Wayfair, shag rugs are one of those rugs that can get very dirty quite quickly. You should clean them regularly and often. Be gentle and cautious with your shag rug because once it gets dirt on it or stains, the shagginess of your shag rug may never be as plush as when you first bought it. However, as long as you take care of the shag rug, it’ll last for plenty of years to come.

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Congratulations! You’re officially a pro at cleaning your shag rug. At Uproot Clean, we’re all about learning easy tips and tricks to help keep your everyday items clean. That’s why we’re huge fans of the best pet hair remover on the market. It’s the grooming tool that does it all. When you want to brush your pet’s hair to help remove excess fur, use that pet hair remover. Then, you can use it to actually clean all that pet hair that stuck to your shag rug and other furniture and fixtures at home. Talk about a win-win!

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