How To Care For A Shaggy Rug

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Shaggy rugs are definitely in style, but cleaning and caring for them may seem challenging. Their upkeep, however, is relatively easy. Having a high pile rug means creating a retro vibe within the home. However, the thick and cushy surface is welcoming for your toes as you step out of bed.

In the living room, den or family room, a lush shaggy rug makes a fantastic accessory in a room. As well as a great place over cold tile, laminate or hardwood flooring. That is ideal for kids who prefer to sprawl in front of the TV or play on the floor.

About Shaggy Rugs

Given their quality and versatility, shaggy rugs are as popular today as they were when they first hit mainstream consciousness in the 80s. However, they are now available in practically every colour in existence and in a myriad of different styles.

Whilst they may make a luxuriously soft addition to a room, their soft and fluffy fibres are not the easiest accessories to clean. It’s most likely impossible to get your rug fully clean, but if you clean it often, you might be able to prolong its life. So, caring for your shaggy rug can be more difficult than looking after rugs with a shorter pile.

Below are a few tips we gathered on how to clean and care for a shaggy rug.

Types Of Shaggy Rugs

Only adding to the difficulty is the variety of shaggy rugs on the market. There are many different kinds and styles of shaggy rugs, and each one should be cleaned and cared for differently, depending on its materials. This is one of the many reasons that professional rug cleaners will charge significantly more to clean shaggy rugs than they will to clean more expensive low-pile rugs.

different types of shaggy rug

Let’s go over the different types of shags and their specific needs before we explain general shaggy rug care and cleaning techniques.


Flokati shags are usually a white/cream colour, however, they can also be dyed different colours. They are 100% wool, including the rug backing. Flokati rugs are one of the fluffiest varieties of shaggy rugs.

Flokati shaggy rug

However, due to their colour, they can get dirty easily and quickly and have to be cleaned and brushed often.

TIP: To maintain the soft, fluffy look of a Flokati, you should clean it on a regular schedule–before it even gets dirty!


Wool is the benchmark material for most shaggy rugs. It gives warmth and has an attractive appearance. Wool is soft, strong and durable and is excellent for absorbing moisture, a natural air filter for your room.

As a material, wool is the most sought after when it comes to rugs. Aside from its benefits as a material for a floor covering wool provides health benefits over other materials.

TIP: These shaggy rugs tend to be more expensive than most other materials. So if purchasing, make sure it is the perfect long-lasting rug for your home.


Personally, we love the look of leather shaggy rugs. These shaggy rugs are somewhat easier to clean than others, because you can use a leather cleaner on them. These rugs, however, can be pricey based on brand and quality of leather.

Leather shaggy rug

You should place a leather shag strategically so that it will be in a low to medium-traffic area in your home.

TIP: Be careful that it doesn’t come in contact with foods and liquids, and so that it won’t come in contact with animals.


Acrylic is a fine, soft and luxurious fabric used in many rugs to give striking colours as well as good stain resistance. The fabric is made from a man-made fibre which gives the appearance and feel of wool. It dyes well, taking vibrant colours well.

Acrylic shaggy rugs offer a similar texture to wool at a lower price-point. The material is very resistant to stains and damage with excellent colour fastness.

TIP: These rugs have poor fire resistance, so we recommend placing them away from the kitchen and fireplaces. However, most rugs are treated to prevent this issue.

How To Clean A Shaggy Rug

Shaggy rugs have a long, floppy pile, which is great fun to lie on, but a little daunting to wash. If you’re wondering how to clean shaggy rug fibres cheaply, don’t worry: they’re also possible to wash at home, as long as you take great care. Just be sure to check your rug care tags first.

Tashen shaggy rug

Loosening Dirt

  • Take the rug outside. Hang it over a railing or sawhorse.
  • Beat the rug just hard enough to loosen trapped dirt, dust and debris, using the side of a broom or handle of a mop.
  • Leave the rug in a sunny location for a couple of hours. The sun’s hot rays help to kill bacteria and dust mites that often thrive in soft items, such as bedding and carpeting.
loosen dirt on a shaggy rug
loosen dirt on a shaggy rug


  • Vacuum a shag rug as needed, which may be weekly on average, daily if it’s used every day by children or pets, or monthly if it’s rarely walked or played on.
  • Set the vacuum’s cleaning head to high pile, if your vacuum cleaner has this option. If the cleaning head isn’t adjustable, you may want to invest in a vacuum with such an option to help control suction and make the head glide more easily.
  • Suction out the dirt thoroughly. Dirt left to grind at a carpet’s fibres will cause them to breakdown or wear out. Do not use the vacuum’s beater bar or power head on a shag rug. The whirling action can snag, pull or tear out strands.
  • Flip over your rug to expose its woven underside. Vacuum this surface monthly or as needed, using the vacuum’s beater bar to remove more dirt. Stand on one edge of the rug and push the vacuum head away from you to help keep a small rug from being sucked into a power head. If the suction is too strong, do not use the power head.
vacuuming a shaggy rug
vacuuming a shaggy rug

Dry Shampooing

  • Sprinkle the rug with absorbent, carpet-shampoo granules for an occasional freshening.
  • Work or brush the granules into the rug with the vacuum’s cleaning-head bristles without turning on the appliance. Allow the shampoo to sit for the length of time instructed on the label, which may be about one hour.
  • Vacuum the granules out thoroughly.
shampooing a shaggy rug
shampooing a shaggy rug

Steam Cleaning

  • Rent a steam-cleaning machine — when needed — from a rental shop or certain grocery stores, if you don’t have one.
  • Steam-clean a shaggy rug once or twice a year, as it becomes soiled or when it is stained, using a steam-cleaning machine, hot tap water and a non-foaming carpet detergent after vacuuming the rug.
  • Dry the rug by using a fan to blow air across it for a couple of hours. Shaggy rugs absorbs a lot of water and can stay wet for a long time.
steam cleaning a shaggy rug
steam cleaning a shaggy rug

Occasional Spills

  • Soak up occasional spills immediately, using a light-colour, absorbent rags, such as a white, terry facecloth or paper towel.
  • Rinse the rag, squeeze out most of the water and use it to continue sopping up the spill.
  • Check if more colour from the stain is still lifting onto the cloth. By using a white rag, you won’t risk transferring any colour from the rag to the rug.
coffee spillages on a shaggy rug
coffee spillages on a shaggy rug


If you want to get a deeper clean than the everyday shake and vacuum, bring it to the people who know what they’re doing. Let the professional rug cleaners work their magic.

Keep in mind that getting a shag rug professionally cleaned will be VERY pricey because of the difficulty involved, and even the professionals probably won’t be able to fully clean your rug.


• Steam cleaning a rug as well as leaving dry or wet shampoo embedded in a rug’s fibres can cause damage.

• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for steam-cleaner use to avoid injury, such as an electric shock, and to avoid damaging the rug.


how to clean a shaggy rug

Thanks for reading our tips on how to clean a shaggy rug! 

If you have any other questions about Shaggy rugs, don’t be shy to leave a comment down below!

The Best Ways To Clean And Care For Your Shaggy Rug
Article Name
The Best Ways To Clean And Care For Your Shaggy Rug
Everything you need to know about having a shaggy rug. Including how to clean and care for them. With our helpful tips, we'll make it a little bit easier!
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The Rug Seller
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