How to Clean a Shaggy Rug? (Best. Guide. Ever)

Nowadays, everybody loves having a shaggy rug at home. That cushy and cozy feeling you get from them can be irresistible sometimes…

You may have bought one, and now you’ve started to wonder why? Nobody warns you about this at the store!

The thing is, while they are very cool, they’re just almost impossible to keep clean. And therefore, a bad decision if you don’t have the time to maintain it.

Clean a Shaggy Rug

Shag rugs are one of the most difficult rugs to clean. Period.

So when having one, you have 2 options:

– Enjoy it all you can and replace it after a short period of time, once it’s to dirty to have it at home.

– Maintain it regularly and keep it for a very long time!

Because cleaning it every once in a while it nearly impossible, but their upkeep is fairly easy! You just have to do it regularly.

What is a shaggy rug?

A shaggy or shag rug is a rug with a high and uneven pile. That means their loops are usually very long and uneven, creating that “fluffy” effect.

These loops are what makes shaggy rugs so difficult to clean as they get tangled very often and all the dirt and dust gets trapped easily.

What is a shaggy rug

There are many different types of shag rugs and because of that, I will give you some general cleaning methods (valid for all types of shag rugs) and afterwards, some tips for each type of shaggy rug.

Let’s dive into it!

7 Methods to Clean every shaggy rug

As I said before, nowadays you can find many different types of shag rugs depending on the material used or how they’re woven. Each one of them has a specific tolerance to certain chemicals, steam or even ways of vacuuming!

When going for a light clean (just to keep up with the regular maintenance) you can use any of these methods I’m explaining right here.

Now, if you’re going for a deep clean you should go ahead and read the specific tips for each type of shag rug. This way you’ll avoid damaging your beautiful shag rug!


Before applying any method, try it firts in a small hidden part of the rug itself. Specially when applying cleaning products.

Light clean (regular maintenance)

Here are 3 methods you can apply regulary to keep your shaggy rug looking brand new!

1. Beat it

Light clean

Shaking and beating any rug is a great method to refresh it and loosen up all the dirt and dust it may have trapped.

– It is best if you do it outside and use a broom, a mop or a solid stick.

– This method can be a bit difficult if you have a large rug. If this is your case, use something to hang it such as a porch rail or a fence.

After beating and shaking it, leave the rug outside in the sun for a few hours. This way you’ll give your rug a chance to air out and kill any lingering bacteria left.


Don’t let it too sit for too long in the sun as it can cause color fading!

2. Vacuum it

Vacuum it

Who doesn’t know this one? Vacuuming won’t get stains out but it will definitely help with dingy rugs, bringin back the fluffy effect.

Vacuuming will also prevent dirt from building up.

But vacuuming shag rugs require more attention than regular rugs due to their high pile. The loops can get caught in the vacuum and end up daming both your rug and vacuum.

To avoid this, turn off the beater bar and use the highest setting and a hand attachment. You can also use the upholstery attachment.


For extra cleaning, once you’ve vacuumed the whole rug, flip it and vacuum the back but this time with the beater bar on.

3. Spot clean

Spot clean

If you really want to keep your rug looking all clean and fluffy, removing stains right away is a must. You must act quickly as the spill will get deep down into the loops very easily.

To spot clean correctly you’ll need the following: white towel, water, mild detergent, soap or cleaning solution and a soft brush.

When a spill occurs, you have to take the towel and press it firmly against it. This way you’ll soak up all the liquid. Then take the cleaning solution and spray it over the stained area, or mix the soap with the water and dip the brush into the mixture. Gently scrub the area from the outside in to avoid spreading it. I recommend you scrub in circular motions.

Rinse it with a bit of water on a clean towel and repeat all the steps as many times as you need. Once you’re done, let it air dry or use a fan or hairdryer.


Remember to blot deep into the loops. They tend to soak in all the water very fast and letting water stay there can damage the fibers in the long run.

4. Dry bath

Dry bath

This last method is optional and it doesn’t work well with all types of shag rugs. But if you really think your rug needs a deep clean but aren’t sure, this may be your last chance before taking it to the professionals!

It is pretty fast to get it done as you don’t need to wait for it to dry.

You’ll need a dry carpet or rug shampoo and a soft brush.

First, you have to vacuum your rug if you feel it has too much visible dirt on it. Afterwards you just need to sprinkle a small amount of the dry shampoo all over the rug.

(It might get messy, so it is advisable to do this method outdoors.)

Use the soft brush to getnly scrub it against the fibers and let it sit for as long as the manufacturer says (usually it takes about 10 minuttes or so). <()

Once the time’s up, you can either shake the rug or vacuum it to remove all the remaining dry shampoo.

With these 4 methods, you should be able to keep your fluffy shag rug looking brand new!

Deep Clean

Every once in a while, all rugs need to be deep cleaned if you want to have a healthy home. Specially high pile rugs, as their loops are more prone to trapping all the dirt and dust around them.

5. Steam Cleaning

Steam Cleaning

To apply this method you can eaither hire a professional or do it yourself. The only thing is steam cleaners can be a bit expensive so if you’re only going to do this every once in a while, you better rent it.

Before applying it you need to make sure your rug fibers won’t get damaged. You can ask the manufacturer or the care tag that comes with the rug.

Once you’ve decided to go for it, know that this method is fairly simple and quick. You should remove first any dirt and dust that the rug may have. You can do this by applying any of the methods mentioned above.

Steam cleaning will only remove deeply set in odors and refreshen the rug by killing possible allergens, bacteria and dust mites.

Notice your rug will be damp after steam cleaning it and you should try to remove all the excess of water it may have and let it dry naturally or using a fan.

6. Hand washing

If your rug allows water to be cleaned, you don’t have a steam cleaner and it is a small rug, maybe this method fits you!

You just need to fill your bathtub with warm water and neutral soap or detergent (do not use fabric softner!). Then place your shaggy rug inside and move it gently to get all the mixture aroud the loops and fibers. You can use a brush to help you work out any stains it may have.

Let your rug soak for about 30 minutes and rinse off any remaining suds afterwards with cold water. Carefully squeeze it to remove the excess of water and let it dry!

7. Professional Clean

Professional Clean

And if nothing has worked or you’re afraid the above mentioned methods will damage your rug, then you’ve got once last chance: take it to a professional cleaner.

Some materials are just too delicate to risk cleaning them at home and damaging them. So if your rug needs specific care and you can’t provide it, don’t DIY!

In the end, every rug need a deep clean once or twice a year and a professional will always do it better and save you time!

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Tips on how to maintain…

We’ve said before that depending on the material your rug is made of, you’ll need specific cleaning tips to avoid damaging it.

Well… here you have the most common shag rugs and their tips to keep them looking brand new!

Flokati Shag Rugs

Flokati Shag Rugs

Flokati shags are handmade 100% from wool. They tend to be white or cream colored, but you can find them in other dyed colors.

They look like a sheepdog rugs and are the fluffiest type of shag rug you’ll find. But they get very dirty easily.

To maintain them and keep them soft and fluffy you need to brush it oftenand clean it on a regular schedule. Even if it doesn’t look dirty!

If you take it to a professional, they will probably charge you more as this type of rug needs more time to groom and wash.

Wool Shag Rugs

Wool Shag Rugs

Wool shag rugs can be tricky. This material is the most common to have in shag rugs.

Why? It offers a warm and cozy appearance, while being strong and durable. It’s great at absorbing moisture, and therefore, it also purifies the air in the room their in.

That’s why this material tends to be one of the most expensive ones.

And when talking about maintenance, don’t worry, they’re also easier to care than other types of shag rugs.

Just note that there are two types: noodle and shaggy wool rugs. And one is trickier to clean than the other!

Noodle shag rugs have their fibers shaped in soft noodles, which make it easier for the dirt and dust to stick around.

Shaggy wool rugs have thinner and closer fibers, which makes it harder for the dirt and dust to get trapped in.

Leather Shag Rugs

Leather Shag Rugs

Leather rugs look like crumbled up paper. And for that they may seem hard to keep clean but no… They can be easier to clean due to all the existing leather cleanes you can find nowadays.

The one thing you must have in mind when buying a leather rug is the leather quality. If it’s low quality, no matter all the cleaning you do, it will have to be replaced sooner than you think.

And my last tip, place it on a low traffic area where no spill or animals will go through.

Synthetic and Acrylic Shag Rugs

Synthetic and Acrylic Shag Rugs

Acrylic shag rugs can feel soft and luxurious just as wool rugs, aside from being stain resistant.

You may think they’re the perfect combination, not to metion they’re cheaper than wool rugs. But they are highly fammable and can be a threat to you safety if you place it near a fireplace or the kitchen.

They may be easy to to clean and stain resistant but you have to decide if this overweights the danger they are to your home.

And synthetic rugs… well, they can be very good-looking and cheap. They are easier to clean also. But their low quality materials won’t last long.


There area many ways to clean and maintain shaggy rugs. But it’s as easy as determining how how dirty your rug is and the material it’s made of.

clean and maintain shaggy rugs

What I would recommend is that you stablish a cleaning schedule based on how fast it gets dirty and how difficult it is to clean it. Sometimes you’ll be able to maintain it just by vacuuming it on a weekly basis. Sometimes you’ll need a deeper cleaning. Just find out what works best for you!

This article gives you all the information and tools you need on how to clean a shaggy rug but here are some other cleaning article recommendations for you:

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Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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