How to Vacuum a Shag Rug and Carpet

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The purpose of shag rugs is best served when they are clean. Not only do they enhance the beauty of your floor to a great extent, but they are made of delicate fabric. They require a systematic cleaning to maintain their aesthetic value. Here you’ll see how to vacuum a shag rug.

How to Vacuum a Shag Rug

The material of a shag rug is generally delicate and can be damaged by harsh chemicals. Choose what you use for cleaning carefully.

  • The cleaning chemicals you use for the rug should be suitable for it. Test it on a small portion of the rug before beginning to use it on the entire surface.
  • Read all user instructions on chemical products you use for cleaning your rug.
  • When vacuuming the shag rug, be careful not to suck in the rug’s fibers by applying excessive pressure.

Step 1: Shake or Smack the Rag

With time and usage, the shag rack gradually accumulates dirt. Before using a vacuum cleaner, it is advisable to dust it by hand.

  1. If your rug is small, you can lift it alone. For a bigger one, seek the help of another person to lift it holding its opposite corners.
  2. Take the rug outdoors and ensure that the wind is not blowing in your direction.
  3. Beat the rug with the end of a broomstick or any suitable item like the Rattan Carpet and Rug Beater to remove dust particles from it. Hang it over a clothesline to make the process easier.
  4. Leave the rug outdoors for some time under bright sunlight as exposure to sunlight can prevent bacterial and fungal growth.

Take care that overexposure to sunlight can cause the color of the fabric of the rug to fade. Therefore, don’t keep it in the sun for more than fifteen minutes.

cleaning a shag rug with pets

Step 2: Use A Dry Shampoo

The initial dusting should be followed by a dry shampoo, which further enhances the dusting effect and makes the vacuum cleaner’s work easier.

  1. Keep the rug outdoors and with the help of a brush with soft bristles, apply some dry shampoo on the surface of the shag rug.
  2. Then sprinkle some dry shampoo on the surface of the rug. Let the shampoo set on the surface of the rug for some time.
  3. The time at which the shampoo should be left on the surface depends on the brand of the shampoo because of their different chemical compositions.
  4. Let it stand for at least ten minutes and closely follow all the instructions provided on the bottle of the dry shampoo.

The dry shampoo recommended especially helps with light-colored rugs as they are more susceptible to accumulating dirt. Do not use brushes with hard bristles.

Step 3: Use a Vacuum Cleaner

After you have finished the initial dusting and applied the dry shampoo, begin to use the vacuum cleaner to remove finer dust particles and the shampoo from its surface.

  1. Set the vacuum cleaner at a fine pressure which will not damage the rug. Apply it smoothly on the rug and at a uniform process.
  2. Move the vacuum head away from you and begin to clean gently. Stand on one side of the rug while vacuuming to prevent it from moving.
  3. Turn over the rug and apply the vacuum cleaner to remove any dust particles that might be stuck inside.
  4. Depending on the color of the rug, you need to apply the vacuum multiple times. Light color rugs require vacuuming more times than darker ones.
  5. If you feel the pressure of the vacuum cleaner is damaging the rug, stop it immediately.
  6. After vacuuming, remove the rug and clean the floor area under the rug with your vacuum cleaner.

After you have applied the vacuum cleaner, use a rug rake. This looks like a comb and helps to remove animal fur or any rigid debris that might remain.

shag rug clean vacuum

Step 4: Clean any Stain Marks

The shag rug may also accumulate stain marks from spilled over food or fruit juice. Cleaning this is also important to restore the appearance of your rug.

  1. As soon as you see anything spill on the surface of the rug, put a soft piece of cloth on it to absorb as much of the liquid as possible.
  2. The faster you can do it, the better, as in this case, it prevents the liquid from reaching the inner parts of the fabric and is easier to remove.
  3. Use a white-colored cloth to prevent any chances of color leaking into the rug.
  4. Baby wipes or any other cleaning agent can also be used for the cleaning process, but the cleaning agents should not have alcohol to prevent damage to the fabric.

You can use microfiber in case you are very picky about the material you use. This video on how to vacuum a shag rug will help you understand the process better.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Frequently Should a Shag Rug Be Vacuumed?

How frequently you want to vacuum your shag rug depends on where you have it placed. Rugs in crowded places need more vacuuming. To keep it in a clean condition, it is advisable to vacuum it at least once a week so that its color doesn’t fade and the dirt doesn’t damage the fabric permanently.

vacuum carpet steam clean

Is It Difficult to Vacuum a Shag Rug?

The process of vacuuming a shag rug is a simple one. The process is similar to vacuuming the floor with the change in pressure only. However, if your rug is very untidy and your vacuum cleaner is old, it is advisable to take professional help.


The shag rug is a valued possession that a lot of people use on their floors. Maintaining it periodically helps to ensure its longevity. Vacuuming it once a week can help you keep it in good shape for a long time and make it look new. Seek professional help if you are not confident cleaning it yourself. 

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.