Today’s fluffy area rugs are more like Greek flokatis than 1970s wall-to-wall carpet. But you don’t have to be a Baby Boomer to know there’s nothing nastier than a dirty shag rug. “We shake them out and pennies, beads, all sorts of stuff falls out,” says Mary Warren, owner of Cristomar, a fine rug care service. Here are her tips for maintenance:
Vacuuming: Do not use an upright carpet vacuum. The long fibers will immediately tangle around the beater bar. Instead, use suction attachments designed for drapery or upholstery.
Regular maintenance: Long fibers easily trap dirt. If you’ve got kids and pets, your shag might need vacuuming as often as twice a week. Dirt particles have sharp edges and can damage fibers if not removed.
Turning: Once a traffic pattern starts to appear, turn the rug to even out wear.
Professional cleaning: Left to air-dry, shags will mat and clump—making them a challenge for both DIY homeowners and most wall-to-wall carpet cleaning companies. Specialists like Cristomar have drying rooms with dehumidifiers and air circulation designed to raise fibers as they dry. Expect to pay at least $4 to $4.50 per square foot for an expert cleaning.
Stains: Blot, don’t rub. Place one towel underneath the stain and another on top, then stand on top of it. Rubbing destroys the texture of the fibers.
This article originally appeared in our Winter 2015 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.