A Guide on How to Clean a Shag Rug

We all love the lap of luxury that comes with the classic style of a shag rug. Without a doubt, the comfort, coziness and versatility are equal to none. Plush rugs are soft to the touch, and ideal for almost all kinds of spaces.

But on the downside, there is a price to pay for the goodness. Shaggy rugs are hard to clean and maintain. As such, they call for a total lifestyle change, or the constant hassle of dusting, treating stains and deep cleaning.

How to Clean a Shag Rug

Shaggy rugs range from berber to synthetic, mixed textures, leather, flokati and so on. That being so, there is no a single cleaning method that applies to all of them.

In most cases, manufacturers provide cleaning instructions that are specific to their products. However, there are basic principles to follow if yours does not feature a set of cleaning guidelines.

Step 1: Move the Furniture

Mostly, shag rugs occupy bare floors with furniture arranged along them or just in a way that brings the entire room together. All the same, some people find it best to have part of the furniture on the rug.

In such a case, the first step should be to move the furniture. This exposes the entire rug thereby making it possible to achieve thorough cleaning.

Step 2: Give it a Proper Shake

Move the rag outside to give it a proper shake. This might be easy if your rug is small. However, if it carpet that covers your room wall to wall, seeking a hand causes no harm.

Once you are done with the shaking, hang the rug on a clothesline. Hit it with a broomstick from the top side and the padding to release more dirt and dust.

If you do not have a clothesline, you can hang the rug on a wall or rack. Just ensure that you do not spread it on a flat surface. This prevents the dust from falling on the ground.

Step 3: Use a Rug Rake

Spread the rug on a clean flat surface and use a rug rake to remove pet hairs and other debris that is stuck deep inside the fibers. Rug rakes vary in designs. Some are made for use with a vacuum, whereas others are for independent use.

Further, some have bristles that are close together while others resemble a wide tooth comb. Your rug should help determine the choice of a rake. A rake with bristles that are close together is appropriate for a low pile rug. Choose a rake with wide bristles if you a high pile rug.

Push the rake back and forth on your carpet to remove stuff out. Be keen to note whether it pulls the rag fibers out with the dirt. If so, the bristles are not the best for your rug.

Step 4: Vacuum

Shag rugs are as delicate as they are beautiful. As such, vacuuming them requires some skill and technique as you can see in our detailed article here. Further, the choice of vacuum matters a lot. Not all vacuums are appropriate for shag rugs. But we also have an article for choosing a vacuum for thick carpets and high pile rugs.

Step 5: Treat Stains

Sometimes food and other substances may leave stains on your rug. It is best to treat them immediately to avoid ending up with permanent discoloration.

To treat non-greasy stains, begin by blotting the spillage with a white microfiber cloth. Rinse the cloth in clean water and continue soaking up the residue from the carpet until most of it is gone.

Clean the cloth in a solution of water and mild soap and wring it out. Use it to rub the stain repeatedly until it clears.

Greasy stains might be a bit difficult to clean. Begin by soaking them up with a white microfiber cloth as you would non-greasy stains.

After that, use a cloth wringed in a solution of water and soap. If they do not clear, wring the cloth in a solution of water and vinegar mixed in the ratio of 1:1 and continue rubbing them. If this does not work, dab them with a cloth or cotton wool dipped in rubbing alcohol.

An alternative approach is to use a carpet stain remover.

Products such as baking soda and cornstarch can help clear the stain. Unfortunately, they are not appropriate for a shaggy rug because the particles can penetrate deep into the carpet fibers.

Step 6: Washing

The various methods that you can use to wash a shag rug include:

  • Handwashing
  • Steam cleaning
  • Pressure washing
  • Using a dry carpet cleaner

Hand Wash

Besides leather, shags rugs made from other materials are easy to hand wash. All you need is mild detergent and warm water. Soak the shag rug and clean gently with hands. If you decide to use a brush, ensure that it has very soft bristles to avoid ruining your rug.

For more delicate rugs, soak a white cloth in water and wipe them down to remove the dirt.

Steam Clean

If your rug is heavily soiled, handwashing might not provide the results you are looking. A better approach is to steam clean it. Steam cleaners are known for their effectiveness on rugs and carpets. Besides removing dirt, they are effective at destroying germs and dust mites.

Pressure Washing

If you do not have a steam cleaner, you can turn to your pressure washer. This option is suitable for sturdy rugs that do not shed. Hang the rug on a clothesline or over railings when pressure washing

Use a Dry-Carpet Cleaner

Carpet dry cleaners absorb soil and stains from your carpet and area rugs. Most are easy to apply and they can even neutralize pet odors.

Step 7: Hang to Dry

Hang your shag rug on a rack to air dry completely placing it back in the designated area. If your rug does not dry properly, it can develop molds that cause permanent damage.

How to Maintain a Shag Rug

The best way to maintain a shag rug is to control traffic. If you place your rug is a busy place, it will easily get dirty and continue to wear as you vacuum and wash it regularly.

Secondly, place your area rugs away from pets. Shag rugs are cozy and pets love them. If you place them in a room that you share with felines and dogs, they quickly become their favorite hanging spots. Soon after, you end up with a rug that has pet hairs and all sort of dirty messes.

Avoid spreading your rug in an area that receive direct sunlight: Continuous exposure of a shag rug to direct sunlight leads to gradual fading.

Lastly, do not use brushes with hard bristles on your rugs. Besides pulling the fibers, stiff brushes can also cause tangling.

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