Can You Vacuum Your Shag Rugs? Yes, Here is How

If you’re searching for the best wall-mount garage vacuum, you may wonder if your beautiful shag rug could be a benefactor. Can you vacuum shag rugs?

There’s a lot to love about shag rugs the plush softness of the fibers, the way they incorporate texture and warmth into a room, and their ability to make even the plainest rooms look interesting.

But all that fuzz can be a problem when keeping your rug clean. Sure, you can vacuum it, but without proper care, lint and pet hair will soon cover it.

So, if you’re wondering if you can vacuum shag rugs without destroying them, you’ll be pleased to know there is!

This article provides a lowdown on everything from choosing the right vacuum for your shag rug to using it correctly for optimal cleaning.

We’ll even cover how to spot-treat stains and areas of high traffic to keep your shag rug looking its best. In the end, you’ll be an expert on vacuuming shag rugs!

What Is a Shag Rug?

Shag rugs are a beautiful addition to any room, but can you vacuum them? Yes! Before we get into how to vacuum a shag rug properly, let’s take a quick look at the basics of these distinctive carpets.

Shag rugs are known for their long and soft fibers; some are over two inches long! This rug style comes in various textures and colors, making it the perfect decorative piece to warm any space.

And, thanks to the fibers’ length, shag rugs provide extra cushioning and sound absorption in addition to being comfortable underfoot.

Now that you know what a shag rug is, it’s time to learn how to keep your precious rug looking clean and fresh!

Yes, You Can Vacuum Shag Rugs! But Be Careful

Yes, you can vacuum shag rugs! But it’s essential to be careful and use an appropriate type of vacuum. Using the wrong vacuum will damage the pile and cause it to matt down or get pulled away from the backing.

The best vacuum for a shag rug is one specifically designed for deep pile carpets. It is used with a beater bar turned off and in the bare floor setting.

Also, work gradually when vacuuming a shag rug so your vacuum doesn’t pull up any fibers or pieces of yarn. First, use a dust broom or soft-bristled brush instead of a vacuum to clear sand and other debris on your shag rug.

Additionally, you can spot-clean your shag rug with a steam cleaner if necessary. Rinse any soap you use when spot-cleaning to avoid leaving residues behind.

Also, confirm that your shag rug is fully dry before returning it to its duty post.

Choose the Right Vacuum for Shag Rugs

The type of vacuum you use for shag rugs plays a vital role.

For instance, standard vacuums with upright rollers and brushes are like trying to brush your teeth with a steak knife, which won’t go well.

That said, there are vacuum types that will do the trick.

Here’s what to watch out for to give your shag rug the pampering it needs:

Look for vacuums that feature a shag setting or have adjustable suction power so you can dial up or down based on the pile of your rug.

Upright vacuums with low-pile settings may work too, but it’s worth double-checking for compatibility first.

Stick vacuums are great for spot cleaning and quick cleanups on low-pile rugs. But do not use them on high-pile rugs or loops, as their bristles can cause damage.

Handheld vacuums work wonders on small areas like stairs and corners but won’t be suitable for tackling more prominent regions in higher pile carpets.

Finally, if you have a large area rug and want a hassle-free option, invest in a robot vacuum for shag rugs.

They are typically programmed to quickly detect and avoid objects that could snag their brushes and cause damage to the rug, so it’ll keep it safe while cleaning!

Vacuuming Technique Matters: Go Slow and Be Gentle

When vacuuming shag rugs, your technique matters, so go slow and be gentle! Too much pressure or force can damage the rug or unravel its long strands.

Here’s how to vacuum a shag rug properly:

Shake the rug out first

This is an important step! Shaking your rug out prevents dirt from getting lodged in the strands.

Start from the outside and work your way in

Start from the room’s edge and move toward the center, reviewing each section twice. Don’t forget to move furniture around too.

Use a lower-powered vacuum

Many regular vacuums are too powerful for shag rugs, so opt for a lower-powered one with adjustable settings and avoid using maximum suction.

You can also try an upholstery attachment for delicate fabrics like shags!

Move your vacuum side-to-side

Instead of back-and-forth vacuuming strokes, use side-to-side strokes to remove all the dirt ridges from your shag rug without damaging it.

Vacuum frequently

Even if there isn’t much dirt on your rug, vacuum it often with these techniques to avoid accumulating excess dirt, which could cause damage over time.

Vacuum in Different Directions

Believe it or not, you can vacuum shag rugs. But, before diving in headfirst with your trusty vacuum cleaner, it helps to understand the importance of cleaning your shag rug safely and effectively.

Try vacuuming the rug in different directions to clean it well without damaging its fibers. Make sure you use a suction-only setting and don’t go over the same area twice, too many times.

Use a nozzle attachment

Try using an attachment on the end of your vacuum with smaller bristles set further apart. It helps you reach the hard-to-reach areas between the tufts of the pile for a thorough clean.

Start at one corner of the shag rug and work your way across

Do this by employing slow and steady strokes.

Make sure you overlap each pass so you won’t miss any spots or go over an area twice with too much force.

It’s also vital to remember to adjust the height settings on your vacuum before using it set too low. It could pull out some fibers from your shag rug!

While vacuuming your shag rug is possible, be gentle and mindful so that it will last for years and years!

Other Tips for Caring for Shag Rugs

Vacuuming is undoubtedly essential for getting rid of surface dirt and debris. But a few more tips can help keep your shag rug looking brand new.

Brush it out

To keep your shag rug looking pristine, consider brushing out the strands of the rug using a wire brush or carpet rake. It will help to fluff up the fibers and will also help redistribute oils from foot traffic, helping your rug to look vibrant.

Avoid Over Wetting

When cleaning or spot-treating your shag rug, don’t over-wet it. Excess water can facilitate mold and mildew growth in the rug’s fibers.

Try using a cleaner that dries quickly so you don’t have to worry about over-wetting your rug.

Have Professionals Clean It

If you want your shag rug to look new, it’s best to have a professional come in and deep clean it every few years. It eliminates dirt, dust, debris, and built-up oils that dull or dingy the rug.


Vacuuming your shag rug can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. You can keep your shag rug looking new and beautiful for years with proper tools, techniques, and care.

Make sure to use a vacuum with adjustable suction, a long attachment, and a self-adjusting roller bar to avoid damaging the rug.

Set the suction on low, and use a gentle motion to prevent any friction. Move slowly and vacuum the entire rug in sections rather than going back and forth.

And cut off the longer hairs with scissors before vacuuming to make the rug easier to clean.

Greet your shag rug with the care it deserves, and it will remain a beautiful addition to your home for years.

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