The Complete Guide to Vacuuming a Shaggy Rug Like a Pro

25 April 2023
Est. Reading: 3 minutes
What's in This Guide?
Cleaning Items You'll Need.
Vacuum cleaner with attachments


Shag pile rugs are a lovely addition to any room. They add cosy comfort and an element of warmth and style. However, shaggy rugs can be difficult to vacuum, especially if you do not have the right vacuum cleaner.

The upkeep of shag rugs can feel like tedious work, their long, thick fibres are easily twisted and tangled with everyday foot traffic. But it does not have to be a struggle. By understanding how vacuum tools work, they can make the perfect accessory for your home.

In this article, we show you a few simple tricks on how to vacuum a shaggy rug without damaging it. We also give you some pro tips on what vacuum cleaner to use, to keep your rug looking its best. So, roll up your sleeves and keep reading!

How to Vacuum Your Shaggy Rug: What You Need to Know

Vacuuming a shaggy rug is way different from vacuuming a traditional rug. The key is to vacuum your rug slowly and carefully, this will ensure that you do not damage it. Because the fibres in shaggy rugs are so long and thick, vacuuming them requires a different technique compared to flat weave rugs.

Firstly, make sure that you are using the right vacuum for the job. Shag rugs should never be vacuumed with a beater bar on an upright vacuum. This is because it will not open the rug pile to allow the suction of the vacuum to pull the dirt out.

Instead, use the Shop-Vac or wet-dry vacuum and an open tool attachment, such as a curtain cleaning attachment. This allows the fibres to “shake" inside the head of the vacuum tool so that movement and airflow can draw dirt out of the base of the rug. If you use a standard carpet cleaning attachment on your vacuum cleaner, the fluffy shag pile will block the airflow and prevent the dirt from being vacuumed out.

You can confidently vacuum your shag rug without damaging it and keep it looking its best by following these simple tips.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Two steps that show a surprisingly easy way to vacuum a shaggy rug.

Step One:
Turn the rug upside down and vacuum the underside, section by section, using the curtain cleaning method, which directs debris from the base fibres into the airstream of the vacuum.

As an alternative, you might take the rug outside and beat it with a clean broom to remove any dust or dirt that has gotten trapped in the shag pile.

Step Two:
Flip the rug over and slowly vacuum the face of the rug with the upholstery attachment in a north-to-south and east-to-west direction. This will remove the rest of the dirt.

BONUS: How to Care for a Shaggy Rug

  • Keep the area underneath it dust-free and clean.
  • Vacuum regularly to keep your rug fluffy and prevent a build-up of dirt. The rug, whether it is natural or synthetic, is more adept at absorbing dirt than regular carpeting.
  • Blot and spot-treat spills and stains as soon as possible.
  • Wash the shag rug monthly or as needed.
  • Make it a habit to take off your shoes before walking on the rug.
  • Place the rug in low-traffic areas, as the long fibres can flatten quickly.
  • Avoid direct sunlight on the shag rug.

Final Thoughts

Keeping a shag rug clean is not to difficult after you learn the correct method and vacuum cleaner tools to use.

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