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How to Clean and Care for Shaggy Rugs

Shaggy rugs are a cosy and stylish addition to any room, but the worry of maintenance often turns buyers away. Luckily, maintaining a shaggy rug is easier than you think. With just a little effort, you can keep your rug looking luxurious and low-maintenance. Here's a step-by-step guide to cleaning and caring for your shaggy rug.

Shaggy Rug Maintenance Explained

Keeping your perfect shaggy rug clean isn’t as tricky. as you might think. Before you get started on cleaning your shaggy rug there are a few things to note…,

  • Always check the instructions on the label of your rug, as there may be some small differences in the care advice, or products that you’re not able to use. There might be things listed below that are not suitable for your rug. If you’re in any doubt you can always contact the retailer of the rug and ask.

  • A little forward thinking and planning goes a long way - it’s best to keep on top of the care of your rug, rather than try and rescue a rug that’s not been well looked after.

Here is our step-by-step guide to keeping your shaggy rug fluffy, luxurious and delightfully soft (and clean) underfoot…

#1: Keep Dirt Free

The first step when it comes to maintaining your rug is to regularly loosen any dirt or debris that may have settled into the rug. On a dry day, take your rug out of the house and hang it over an outside railing or washing line. Then, using the handle of a broom or mop, beat the shaggy rug to loosen the dirt. If your rug is small enough, you can also grab one end and shake it by hand to remove dirt. Doing this every once in a while will ensure that dirt doesn’t build up, making it more difficult to remove.

#2 Hoover Regularly

Give it a good old vacuum. Shaggy rugs should be vacuumed at least weekly or, if necessary more often, depending on where in the home you choose to place your rug. To keep it in tip-top and ‘fluffy’ condition it should be vacuumed daily, but few of us have time for this. A twice-weekly hoover will do, and this can be done with the rest of the home - there’s no need for special equipment or a lot of extra time.

The deep pile of the shaggy rug means that dirt and debris sitting on the pile will eventually work its way down the fibres. So don’t forget to vacuum the underside either. This is especially important when it comes to shaggy rugs as the dirt travels down the pile onto the layer holding it all together. As soon as you have vacuumed the top side, flip it over and give the underside a thorough clean too.

When vacuuming, remove the beater bar and use the lowest suction setting otherwise you risk damaging the rug fibres.

#3 Spruce up When Needed

Dry carpet shampoo can work wonders to cheer up a shaggy rug. Following the manufacturer's instructions, sprinkle the dry shampoo onto the rug and work it through the fibres. Leave the dry shampoo for the manufacturer's recommended time and then vacuum it out of the rug. This is a great way of giving a rug a quick spruce up and making it feel and smell fresher. If you feel that your shaggy rug needs a deeper clean, steam cleaning is a great option.

#4 Consider a Professional Clean

This is the way to go if your rug hasn’t been very well looked after and needs a fresh start. If your rug needs a more serious clean, consider a professional, or rent a carpet cleaning machine to carry out a deep clean yourself. Follow the recommended instructions, but it is important to use only a nozzle attachment or a power head that operates via suction rather than a rotating head as this can damage the fibres of the pile.

If your pile has flattened or isn’t as fluffy as you’d like then follow these steps to re-fluff your rug.

Damage Control for Occasional Spills

No matter how careful you are, at some point something will get split on your rug. Knowing how to deal with this is key to ensuring the stain can be completely removed, to avoid damaging your rug. 

Whether it’s wine, coffee or something else, the occasional spill is the biggest risk to your shaggy rug. If there is an accidental spill onto your rug, the key is to act quickly to mop up the liquid and avoid a stain setting in. Here’s what to do…

  1. Soak up any spills with kitchen roll or something similar to flannel or super absorbent cloth

  2.  Gently dab at the spill until you have as much of the spillage soaked up as possible - avoid rubbing as this will only push the liquid deeper into the fibres. 

  3. For heavily coloured liquids, adds a small amount of tepid water to help lift the stain

  4. Consider a reputable stain remover that will not strip the rug of its colour or damage the fibres. There are many available on the market. Follow the instructions carefully, and only use if steps 1-3 does not stop staining from occurring. 

Deep Cleaning a Shaggy Rug

Because of the long pile, shaggy rugs are not recommended to be deep cleaned at home by yourself. It is recommended to use a professional because you might damage the fibres with excess moisture and excessive scrubbing.

When performing a deep clean yourself, it is important to follow these steps closely as you could damage your rug. Excess moisture and excessive scrubbing can cause damage to the rug’s fibres and ruin how the look of the pile.

Shake and Beat

When you start the deep cleaning process, the first thing you need to do is remove all loose dirt and debris from your rug.

If you have a smaller rug, then you can do this by grabbing one end of the rug and shaking it vigorously outside. If your rug is larger then you can hang the rug over a washing line or something alike and beat it with the end of a broom or mop.  


Once the rug has been beaten, vacuum the rug to make sure you have removed as much dirt as possible.

Re-vitalise the rug

Using baking soda, you can remove odours and stains from the rug as well as revitalise the appearance of the rug. Baking soda is natural and eco-friendly, it is non-toxic, gentle on the environment, and safe for use around children and pets.

1. Generously sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the entire surface of the rug. Make sure to cover all areas, including high-traffic spots and areas prone to stains or odours.

2. Once the baking soda has been evenly distributed, use a clean brush or broom to work the baking soda into the rug’s fibres making sure it reaches the bottom of the pile.  

3. Leave the baking soda on the rug for a minimum of 4 hours. If you can, leave the baking soda on the rug for 10 hours or overnight for best results.

4. Now that the baking soda has worked its magic, it’s time to vacuum. Vacuum the rug, making sure to remove all traces of baking soda. Repeat the vacuuming process a couple of times to make sure that all baking soda has been removed.

Shampoo the Rug

Now it's time to shampoo the rug. Purchase a dry carpet shampoo, follow the manufacturer's instructions and sprinkle dry shampoo over the rug ensuring you work it into the deep parts of the fibre. Leave the dry shampoo on the rug for the manufacturer’s recommended time and then vacuum it, making sure not to leave any residue.

Fluff the Pile

After all that the rug has been through, I would be surprised if the pile hasn’t flattened at all. There are multiple methods you can use to fluff your rug back up with the easiest one being to vacuum the rug. Here you can read all of our tips and tricks on how to make a shaggy rug fluffy.


With just a little extra effort, you can ensure your shaggy rug always looks beautiful in your home. Shaggy rugs don’t have to be high maintenance - just a few simple steps each week will ensure you can enjoy your rug for years to come. If you’re looking for a complete guide to rug maintenance, check out our blog post on how to clean all rugs.

  • Posted On: 20 September 2023

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