How To Clean a Shag Rug

July 28th, 2011Cleaning and CareComments Off on How To Clean a Shag Rug
coffee cup tipped over causing stain

coffee cup tipped over causing stain


Perhaps your shag rug is not quite as fluffy as it was when it arrived. Has the thick pile turned into a collage of footprints? Spilled coffee? Or you may be considering a shag and anticipating the maintenance and cleaning procedures. The first step is to determine exactly what type of shag you have or want, as cleaning methods differ according to the fiber and construction.

Flokati (Traditional Handmade All-Wool Shag):

If you have a flokati your task may be a little more involved. Check the manufacturers label always first. Cleaning a flokati can be as easy as putting it in the washing machine or shaking it outside. Because of its delicate fibers, vacuuming is generally not recommended for this type of shag. It’s usually recommendd to hang the rug to dry (out of direct sunlight) rather than machine drying. If the rug is too big for the washing machine you can spritz it with water. Brush and fluff it with a metal brush, such as those made for dogs. Leaving it out in the air for several hours should re-oxygenate the wool.


Regular vacuuming is generally recommended for other shag rugs. Contact the manufacturer if you are uncertain, and ask what type of vacuum cleaner and attachments are recommended for your specific rug. If the shag is an inch or more, you may want to turn off the beater bar to prevent tangling (see“What is the Best Vacuum Cleaner for a Shag Rug?”). Vacuum the entire surface and then follow up with a rake attachment that you can attach to a hose:

Some experts suggest that going with the nap rather than against it yields better results (the nap is the direction that feels smooth when you rub your hand over it), while others recommend vacuuming from several directions up to seven times to thoroughly clean.

Shaking or using a carpet rake in two directions beforehand will fluff the fibers. A carpet rake, such as that seen below, should be able to penetrate the depth of the fibers to make vacuuming a bit easier:

For rugs with rubber backing, or those that are too big for the washing machine, steam cleaners are available to rent.

Other Important Cleaning Tips:

•    Clean spills immediately. Time is of the essence.
•    Never rub a spill. Spills and stains should be blotted with a clean, dry white cloth to avoid any bleeding of colors from the cloth.
•    Sometimes stains can be cleaned with a mild, clear detergent and lukewarm water. Always pretest in an inconspicuous area to ensure the solution won’t damage fibers or dye.
•    When in serious doubt, professional cleaning is recommended.
•    If certain areas of your rug receive heavier traffic than others, it may be helpful to rotate the rug once a year.

*Always* refer to the owner’s manual or the manufacturer for stain removal recommendations. Often there is a tag in the corner on the bottom of the rug with cleaning directions.

Proper care will help protect your investment and keep your rug at its best.

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