How To Clean A Shag Rug – 18 Easy Ways To Clean Your Rug at Home

Shag rugs are back in style. We don’t think they should have ever gone out of style. However, in the 60’s and 70’s, there was a tough situation that caused them to shrink in popularity – how to clean a shag rug?

Back in those days, when wood cladding and lava lamps were also the in thing, cleaning shag rugs was a hard task that typically ended at hoovering. You may be thinking that you don’t want to have a shag rug based on how difficult they are to keep clean. But at Kudos House, we are going to try to alleviate that feeling by showing you 18 easy ways to clean a shag rug.

Perhaps you have already got a shag rug and do not know how best to clean it, or you want to buy one but are worried about what cleaning will involve. Well, here you go.

How to Clean a Shag Area Rug

Having these massive, soft piles under your feet is such a welcome feeling, whether it is when you get out of bed, or while you are relaxing in your living room. Now we are going to tell you how to clean a shag area rug to keep that feeling for longer.

  • Beating – The first thing that you should do, if you can, is to take the rug outside, hang it over something sturdy, and beat it gently to loosen and remove as much of the dirt as you can. Doing this step is not necessarily required, but if it is a rug that is easy to move, then it is highly recommended.
  • Broom – After you have beaten the rug with the head of a broom, use the bristles of the broom brush out some of the loose debris that did not come out with beating. I would not recommend using a stiff bristle brush, as this could damage the fibers.
  • Leave it in the sun – If you can, I would suggest that you leave the rug in the sun for a while to dry out and damp dirt and to also kill dust mites.

Day-to-Day Cleaning of a Shag Rug

While the above points are going to be useful to get ingrained dirt out of the rug, that may not be how to clean a shag rug day to day.

how to clean a shag rug

  • Vacuuming – Vacuuming a shag rug is required more often than a regular, low pile rug. You will need to vacuum it after you have completed the steps above, and also on a more regular basis.
  • High pile – As shag rugs are super high piled, you will need a hoover with a “pile adjuster” or a canister vacuum cleaner with a hose, tube, and head.
  • Powered Brush – If your vacuum cleaner has a power brush, do not use it. The bristles on the brush may pull at the piles, and tear the fibers.
  • Underneath – Do not forget to turn the rug over to clean the underneath of it. Hoovering the woven surface of the rug will remove some of the dirt, dust mites and eggs from the bottom of the rug that you can’t get to from the top.

How to Clean a White Shag Rug

You may be wondering about how to clean a white shag rug. The majority of the time, the ways listed above are going to be the best way to do this. However, you are much more likely to see the occasional spill or stain on a white rug than any other color. Therefore, we will focus on those in this section.

how to clean a white shag rug

  • Mop up spills – The first thing that you need to do when you notice a stain is to mop it up as soon as possible. Use paper towels or clean cloth for this.
  • Carpet shampoo – Get yourself a bucket of mild carpet shampoo and use this with the clean cloth to try to remove all of the stains. Using a white cloth will reduce the risk of transferring the coloring of the material onto the rug. I would use a small section of the rug to test out the fabrics and shampoo to ensure there is no shift in color. Once you have found a cloth and shampoo that are suitable, stick to them.
  • Steam clean – Steam cleaning is a great way to remove a lot of stains and clean them in general. Now, I am not suggesting that you go out and buy one, although this will be very beneficial. There are many places in which you can hire them from though.
  • Dry – After you have cleaned the shag rug, the fibers will collect a lot of water, so be sure to dry them thoroughly. If it was only a small area that you have cleaned, in the case of a stain, etc. then use a hairdryer to dry it. If you are steam cleaning the whole rug, try to make sure it is on a warm and dry day so that you can let it dry out in the sun. Unless you live in a particularly hot climate, then it will be unlikely to dry on its own overnight.

How to Clean a Wool Shag Rug

Although all of the items above are great for cleaning shag rugs, you may still be thinking about how to clean a wool shag rug. You must take more care with a wool shag rug, as you would with any other item that is woolen.

Carrying out the above steps are still a great way to clean wool shag rugs. However, we recommend professional cleaning when possible. If you do not want to take it for an expensive dry clean, then follow the steps that we have here.

  • Complete the steps above, with alterations – Still complete the steps above, however, ensure that you use a detergent that is suitable for wool. Do not steam clean. The heat from steam cleaning will cause your wool to shrink, and it will deform your rug.
  • Wash it gently – When you get to the stage that you want to give your wool shag rug a deep clean, you will need to follow these steps:
    • Take the rug into the garden and place it on a clean area of patio, or hang it up so that it won’t pick up additional dirt.
    • Wet the rug with a hose. Rinse it until you see that all of the loose ingrained dirt has stopped coming out of it. Although I presume that no one has a hot water hose, I will reiterate the need for cold water to prevent shrinkage and deformation.
    • Use a sponge with a wool, safe detergent mixture of cold water to gently sponge clean the rug.
    • Rinse the detergent out thoroughly.
    • Squeeze as much water out of the rug as possible without deforming it.
    • Leave it to dry in a shaded, warm area. Do not leave in direct sunlight as the heat could deform it.

Dry Shampooing a Shag Rug

Regular dry shampooing a shag rug will keep it looking and smelling fresher for longer without as much risk of damaging the fibers. There are not many steps to this, so they are easy to complete weekly, or even more frequently.

  • Vacuum – I like to vacuum the rug before I dry shampoo carpets and rugs. I want to think that the granules will have more contact with the pile if there is less dirt in them at the beginning.
  • Dust – Shake the dry shampoo powder over the rug evenly.
  • Work – Work the powder into the piles, either with a soft bristle brush or the head of your hoover. Do not have the hoover turned on for this step, or it will defeat the object.
  • Leave it – Leave the granules for the specified time on the packaging. I have found that this can be anywhere between a few minutes and an hour.
  • Vacuum – Make sure to vacuum out all of the granules thoroughly.


Having a shag rug is a beautiful feeling. However, when the question of how to clean shag rug arrises, your first port of call must be the manufacturer’s instructions. Secondly, you should seriously consider professional cleaning as they will have done this many times, and will have insurance for mistakes.

If you still wish to do it yourself, then follow the steps above, with care. I hope this has helped you.