4 Tips to Clean Shag Area Rugs

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Shag area rugs can be attractive and comfortable, but that dense plush fiber that makes the rugs so comfortable to walk on also makes the rugs more difficult to clean than other carpet and rugs. To clean your shag rugs, keep the following tips in mind:

1 – Clean Often

The best way to make cleaning shag area rugs easier is to clean them frequently, so you won’t have caked-in stains that require a far more thorough cleaning. Clean rugs in high-traffic areas (particularly if you have pets) a minimum of twice per week. Rugs that are less frequently trod upon should still be cleaned at least once a week, as dust can accumulate. Running the vacuum over the rug should be sufficient between bigger stains.

2 – Attack Stains Immediately with Wet Wipes

If you see stains on your shag area rugs, particularly pet vomit or urine, you must attack the stains as soon as possible to prevent them from settling into the rug permanently. The first step is to gently remove as much of the stain as you can with a wet paper towel or an alcohol-free wet wipe (such as a baby wipes). Scoop any excess dirt or vomit and then blot the stain gently with the wet paper towel or wet wipes.

3 – Use a Small Amount of Detergent to Wash, then Rinse

Wet stains with a little water if not still wet after the wet wipes and squeeze a small drop of bleach-free laundry detergent over the stain. Use a bristle brush to work the suds into the stain. Allow to set for about 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse with a small amount of cold water.

You can also perform a maintenance cleaning of shag area rugs in your bath tub with laundry detergent. Fill the tub about one quarter high and pour in 1/4 to 1/2 cup laundry detergent under the running water. Dunk the entire rug under water and, with rubber gloves on, scrub the rug with the bristle brush. Empty the bathtub and run the shower head over the rug to rinse it. Once suds stop appearing, gently roll the rug and squeeze excess water into the tub. Then hang the rug in the bathtub and allow a few hours for it to dry.

4 – Vacuum with Baking Soda

When working on a small stain, after you have washed and rinsed the stain, allow the area to dry. Then sprinkle the stain with a liberal amount of baking soda. Use the bristle brush to work the baking soda into the stain and allow the soda to sit overnight. Vacuum the soda away the next morning.

You can also sprinkle baking soda over the entire rug, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes and vacuum it away during your routine maintenance cleanings. This will help keep the rug smelling fresh and clear away small amounts of dirt and dander.

Cleaning shag area rugs can prove more difficult than cleaning most carpets or rugs, but it’s not an impossible chore, particularly if you remain proactive about keeping the rugs clean. If your stains are very old and the detergent and baking soda treatment doesn’t work, you can try commercial cleaners or taking the rugs to a professional cleaner.

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2 Responses to “4 Tips to Clean Shag Area Rugs”

  1. March 13, 2010 at 1:20 am, Paul said:

    These are some good tips. It’s also a good idea to get in the habit of shaking it out. Not only does this quickly get rid of loose dust and other debris, but it also fluffs it out and reduces the risk of matting.


  2. April 10, 2014 at 10:25 am, Tania said:

    My shag rug is huge, very expensive, and heavy. I don’t know what I was thinking. You can’t vacuum it, because it wraps around the vacuum! It would take 2 big men to even lift it and I’m not sure they could ever shake it. Help!


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