Maybe they came with your home; maybe you got them installed because you love the way they look and feel. Whatever your reason for having shag carpets, they bring with them some unique cleaning challenges—challenges you may or may not have been prepared for when you bought the home or installed the flooring.
Shag rugs can be removed for easier cleaning, but that’s not an option when it’s the flooring for an entire room. If you’ve got shag carpets in your home—or any high-pile carpet, for that matter—the cleaning tricks below will help you keep them in top shape.
Tip #1: Buy the right vacuum
Not just any vacuum cleaner can handle the demands of a high-pile carpet. Try to clean high-pile carpet with the wrong vacuum and you’ll end up with a floor that’s still dirty—and sometimes a blown-out vacuum motor, to boot.
The best vacuums for shag carpet have a high level of suction power to dig deep between the fibers, or some other way of agitating ground-in dirt, such as sonic technology. Anti-tangle brushrolls are also a plus, since they’ll keep your vacuum from getting jammed up on the carpet fibers themselves. While many vacuums that meet this requirement are on the pricier side of the spectrum, you can find affordable high-pile approved vacuums if you know where to look.
Tip #2: Spot-clean spills quickly
The longer a spill sits on your carpet, the more likely it will be to stain—and once it does, cleaning it is a lot more difficult. Your best bet for eliminating stains from shag is to clean the soiled area as soon as you notice the mess. Otherwise, you’ll be looking at renting a steam cleaner, or even hiring a professional team, to completely eradicate the stain that’s left behind.
If you’re cleaning a liquid spill, start by pressing a dry, clean cloth to the area, to absorb as much of the moisture as possible. Next, get your carpet cleaner and spray the entire affected area, letting it sit for a few moments. Use a fresh rag to blot the cleaner away. It’s best to work from the outside in so you don’t spread the stain further in your cleaning attempts.
Tip #3: Dust often to prevent wear
Even in a less-traveled area, dust and dirt will settle onto your floor over time. Because the fibers are so deep on a shag carpet, it might not even look dirty—but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to clean it. Small particles like sand are very abrasive, and can wear down carpet fibers if left unchecked, resulting in ugly thin and bald spots over time.
Reducing the amount of airborne dust in your home can help with this; the fewer particles are floating around, the fewer will settle into your carpet. Making a point of vacuuming regularly—even when it doesn’t look dirty—will also help to extend the overall life of your carpet.
Tip #4: Steam clean odors away
The same long fibers that make shag carpets so wonderful to walk on can easily become breeding grounds for bacteria, which in turn can lead to unpleasant, lingering odors—especially if you share your home with furry friends.
A professional steam cleaning machine is the best way to remove or prevent odors in your shag carpet, but you’ll want to take special care when using it to make sure the carpet dries fully. If moisture is retained in the fibers, this can lead to the growth of mildew, adding new odors rather than removing them. Using a quick-drying steam cleaner is a good option, as is opening windows or putting a box fan on the carpet to help facilitate quick drying.