How to Clean Shag Carpets

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​Shag carpets are soft and playful to the touch, inviting even the most rigid bodies to lie on its strands. Their popularity is on the rise, and you have to take care when cleaning ​this thick carpet and its fibers. We share a comprehensive process for ​how to clean a shag carpet.

How to Clean Shag Carpet

Shag carpets have long fibers that can trap dust and other particles, making it extremely difficult to tell when the carpet is dirty.

​Their thick style is perfect for those looking for extra comfort between their toes. On the other hand, their long and fluffy fibers make them the ultimate enemy of the vacuum cleaner.

Additionally, stains on ​this style of carpet will be a living nightmare if you don’t know what you’re doing. Read on to find out ​how to clean shag carpets.

how to clean shag carpet

Cleaning Shag Rugs

​If you ​need to clean a shag-carpeted rug you can take outside, this might be the easiest way to clean it. Take your rug outside and hang it on a clothesline or railing. Hit it with a racket or something wide hard enough to loosen dirt and debris that might have gotten stuck in it.

After that, leave it out to rest for a couple of hours in direct sunlight. This is typically enough for a light cleaning, and will do you adequately if you don’t have a suitable vacuum for cleaning shag carpets

Vacuuming Shag Carpet

As difficult as it is, vacuuming shag carpet is often a must. Dirt and debris builds up deep in the fibers of your shag carpet, and eventually you need to get them out.

Unfortunately, most vacuums aren’t up to the task of cleaning shag carpet. There are a couple of special requirements you need on your vacuum.

  • You need a vacuum with a brush roller. The brush roller will agitate the dirt that is deep in the shag carpet fibers, dislodging it so that it can be sucked out by the vacuum.
  • You’ll also want a brush roller that is adjustable. You need to set the brush roller height to as high as possible. Otherwise, the brush roller might get tangled in the thick fibers of the shag carpet. 
  • Pass your vacuum cleaner quicker than you would with other carpets, but be sure to give it multiple passes. A​s we said before, you may want to use a vacuum with a soft brush to avoid ripping some fibers from the carpet itself.

This could be a good workout, as your vacuum might not pass easily over the carpet. One strategy to ease the workload is to pull the vacuum instead of pushing it. 

​Dry Shampooing Your Shag Carpet

If things are still looking dirty, you may want to attempt a dry shampoo to clean your shag carpet. Drop some of it on the surface of the carpet and pass your vacuum cleaner over it until the product is removed.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the package to the letter. Failure to do so may damage your carpet permanently and will leave you with a less-than- shaggy day.


​Shag carpets are not your typical “vacuum once a week” type of material. And while they do look amazing when properly taken care of, they are beautiful only when they are properly cleaned.

​This style of carpet may be the best fit for a living room or a bedroom. They are soft and high in comfort.

​No matter where you decide to place your carpet, be sure to refer back to these tips when ​researching how to clean ​your shag carpets This will keep you covered ​throughout the life of the thick carpet. 

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.