How to Vacuum a Shag Rug (The Right Way)

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how to vacuum a shag rug

A shag rug looks beautiful and is comfortable underneath your feet, but they can be difficult to clean.

The reason for this is the long, thick strands of fiber.

Improper or rushed cleaning can damage these strands and even the entire shag rug.

Fortunately, it’s easy to clean and vacuum a shag rug with a little know-how.

Key Takeaways

Here are the key points you need to know:

  • Avoid using an upright cleaner – shag rugs are very sensitive!
  • Shake out your rug or hang outside to eliminate large dust clumps.
  • Vacuum clean with a brush attachment to avoid tangling.
  • Hire a professional cleaner if you’re worried about damaging your rug!

Understand Shag Rugs Are Delicate

Shag rugs and shag carpets are extremely delicate thanks to their unique design.

The long, thick strands of fiber can easily become entangled in a vacuum cleaner.

Chances are that your vacuum will try to suction up these strands like they were dirt or debris.

Not only does this pose a risk to the actual vacuum cleaner, but it can also damage the entire shag rug as a whole.

Because of their delicate construction, it’s best to avoid using an upright vacuum cleaner on a shag rug altogether.

Miele Complete C3 Vacuum for Soft Carpet
Best Choice for Cleaning Shag:

  • 5 level height adjustment to glide over the shag
  • 6 suction power settings
  • Electrobrush specifically designed for soft and thick carpet

Shake the Shag Rug Out

A good way to clean a shag rug is to simply shake it out.

Pro Tip: If you’re opting for the shaking method, ensure to do it when the wind isn’t blowing toward you. I’ve made this mistake before and it can be quite a dust storm. Also, it’s best to not just shake, but to beat the rug gently on its backside, as it aids in better removal of the dust embedded in the rug

Take the rug outside and shake it around to remove the vast majority of dirt and debris. Hang the shag rug from a laundry line to neutralize odors.

Another option is to use a rug beater to shake out even more dust and other debris.

Vacuum Clean the Shag Carpet

beautiful shag carpet

Sometimes the old-fashioned method of shaking out a rug doesn’t remove all of the debris. Or maybe your shag rug is too large to shake out by yourself.

Pro Tip: If you choose to vacuum your shag rugs, be sure to vacuum slowly and gently to avoid tearing the fibers. Additionally, always remember to turn your vacuum cleaner into the highest height setting to provide enough gap for your long fibers to avoid tangling. I’ve learnt these handy tricks through experience and found it incredibly helpful in maintaining the sublime appearance of my shag rugs.

If you decide to vacuum your shag rug, it’s essential that you use one of the brush attachments rather than the actual vacuum itself, or that you use a vacuum specialized on shag carpets.

Miele Complete C3 Vacuum for Soft Carpet
Best Choice for Cleaning Shag:

  • 5 level height adjustment to glide over the shag
  • 6 suction power settings
  • Electrobrush specifically designed for soft and thick carpet

Many vacuums has motorized rollers on the underside. A shag rug can easily become entangled in this roller.

The brush attachment, on the other hand, doesn’t contain these rollers. Instead, it just picks up debris through suction.

Pass the brush attachment over the carpet to pick up any debris left behind after shaking the rug out.

Consider Hiring a Professional Cleaner

Depending on the value of your shag rug, it might be a better idea to hire a professional cleaning service to clean your rug.

These services have the special tools, equipment, and experience required to expertly clean a shag run without causing damage.

Pro Tip: Though it might be a costly affair, I cannot stress enough the importance of employing a professional cleaner for those especially delicate or expensive shag rugs. They handle them with care, have the right equipment and expertise, and can extend the lifespan and maintain the look of your rug, making it a worthy investment.

Also consider buying a carpet shampooer. It is a one time investment that will extend the life of your carpet and keep it looking fresh. Here are our carpet shampooer reviews for 2021.

Sure, it might cost more upfront, but if you have a valuable shag rag, investing in a professional cleaning service or buying a carpet shampooer will greatly extend the overall life of your rug.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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