How Do You Vacuum a Shag Rug

By | April 29, 2022

Beautiful and comfortable, shag rugs make an instant impression. Unfortunately, they can be challenging to care for, particularly if you lack the right type of vacuum.

It’s common for people who love these rugs to wonder: how do you vacuum a shag rug? And what can be done to keep these rugs in pristine condition? The sooner you address these concerns, the better, as a single botched vacuuming effort can spell big trouble. Not only will the wrong approach compromise the look of your favorite rugs, but it could also damage your vacuum.


Investing in a quality vacuum is the first step to keeping gorgeous shag rugs looking their best over time, but proper vacuuming techniques also matter. To that end, we’ve highlighted key suggestions for how to vacuum a shag rug without causing damage:

Shake the Rug Thoroughly

Before vacuuming, take your shag rug outside and shake it out. This simple step can limit your need to vacuum the same space several times. A thorough shaking will dislodge a great deal of dirt and debris, providing a leg up on the vacuuming process to come.

If dirt is deeply embedded within your rug, you may need to hang it on a line and beat it with a broom. Some people even use specially designed rug beaters for this job. With proper rug maintenance, beating should not be necessary every time.

Use a Brush or Specialized Shag Rake Attachment

Instead of relying on traditional vacuuming methods, opt for a brush attachment. This will prevent your rugs from entangling in your vacuum’s motorized rollers. Brush attachments rely on suction to remove tough dirt or debris from your shag rug. By passing over each shag rug a few times, you can remove most dirt or debris.

Many people prefer to use rug rake attachments, some of which are specifically designed to handle shag rugs or carpets. These attachments can be safe to use, but always be extremely cautious. However, if you don’t already have this type of attachment, it’s not strictly necessary to invest in one. In most cases, a standard brush attachment will get the job done.

Apply a Dry Rug Shampoo

Rugs tend to absorb odors over time. Once these get trapped – especially tough-to-clean shag rugs – they can be difficult to eradicate. Specialized dry shampoos provide a viable solution to freshen up your rug without damaging it.

Before you get started vacuuming, apply a dry shampoo to your shag rug. Let it sit on the rug for the length of time recommended on the product’s container. Finally, vacuum with the brush attachment, as suggested previously.

Wash the Rug

Extra messy rugs might not respond to standard vacuuming or even dry shampoos. In these cases, washing may be the best solution. Smaller rugs can be washed in bathtubs, as long as the detergent is safe for the fiber variety that the rug in question features.

Once the proper detergent is mixed in, soak the rug for at least ten minutes. Use a soft-bristle brush to remove any stains that the rug may contain. Rinse before pulling out water from the fibers. Lastly, shag rugs should be air-dried thoroughly outside.

A little extra care can make a difference for your beloved shag rugs. With the right attachments and a gentle touch, you’ll have no trouble keeping these fashionable rugs in pristine condition.