Any movie or television show from the 1960s or 1970s had shag carpeting. It was that long, shaggy carpet. This look has been associated with “hippie” culture since the mid-20th century. Did you know that shag carpet is coming back in style.
Updated shag carpeting can be found in many stylish homes. Modern shag carpets do not need to have the 1960s look. In fact, many are plush and understated. One thing that has remained the same is the cleaning requirements. These types of carpeting and rugs are notoriously hard to clean. Shag carpets can be a good looking and stylish statement piece. You just need to put some consideration into keeping it clean.
If you are considering shag carpet, read on. We’ll tell you everything you need to know. We also provide a list of the top five best vacuums for shag carpets. We also provide a handy buyer's guide along with our top 5 list.
In a hurry? Don't have time for the details? Here are our best picks Vacuums for Shag Carpet:
- What is Shag Carpeting
- Shag Carpet’s History
- The different Types of Shag Carpets
- What Does This Mean for Cleaning?
- Cleaning Problems with Shag Carpets
- What to Look for in a Vacuum for Shag Carpet
- Top 5 Vacuums for Shag Carpet 2020 - Comparison table
- Top 5 Best Vacuums for Shag Carpet on the Market Reviews
- 1 Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner
- 2 Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Rewind Plus Bagless Corded Upright Vacuum
- 3 SharkNinja Rocket DuoClean Ultra-Light Corded Bagless Vacuum
- 4 SharkNinja Rotator TruePet Upright Corded Bagless Vacuum
- 5 Kenmore 10701 Bagless Compact Canister Vacuum with Turbine Brush
- Shag Carpet Care Tips
- Vacuum Care Tips
- Final Words
What is Shag Carpeting
You are probably wondering about the definition of shag carpeting. Sometimes you will find it under the name frieze. It has long, twisted fibers. Shag carpet looks shaggy. Hence the English version of the name. The term shag comes from the Old English sceacga. It is related to the Old Norse skegg (beard).
The long fibers in shag carpeting make it extremely soft. They are also notoriously hard to clean. It can be made of many different materials. Your choice of material will greatly affect the maintainability of the carpet. Any shag carpet will need to be vacuumed at least once per week. You will also need to deep clean it often.
Shag Carpet’s History
It is associated with the 1960s in the United States. But, shag carpet has been around for much longer. Yes, there are scholars that study shag carpeting. These scholars shag carpet origins in the Middle East and Central Asia. There is even evidence that long, shaggy carpet was available in Ancient Greece.
No one agrees where shag carpeting first appeared. We do know that shag carpet rose to popularity in the United States in the 1960s.
Shag carpet first became popular in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s with hippies and beatniks. These people loved the unconventional style of shag rugs. Before the 1960s rugs were smaller. They also had denser packed fibers and dull colors. By preferring long pile and brightly colored carpets, hippies and beatniks were making a statement. Their home décor choices were are unconventional as their lifestyle choices.
In the 1980s shag carpets were beginning to go out of style. These carpets are notoriously hard to clean. They also began to be seen as old-fashioned. American culture shifted from the counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s. Therefore, American’s choices in carpets also began changing.
Shag carpeting was not gone forever, though. Recently it has seen a resurgence in popularity. Its soft and plush nature makes it a hit with consumers. There are also far more choices in material and color. You can purchase a neutral-toned shag carpet today as well.
If you have considered putting shag carpeting in your home, read on. In order to keep it from looking disheveled, you need to clean it properly. Buying the most effective vacuum for cleaning shag carpets will help.
The different Types of Shag Carpets
Today there are many more types of shag carpets to choose from. The great variety of choices is what really sets these carpets apart. There are even a lot of material choices today.
Material refers to the carpet fibers. In carpet buying you will also likely hear the term “pile.” That indicates the height of the fibers. Every different carpet material can be made into a certain pile. All shag carpeting has a frieze, or long, pile. It can be made from many different materials.
Here are the most common materials to find in shag carpet.
Wool is probably the most common shag carpet material. Wool shag rugs are made in two ways: noodle and shaggy. Noodle rugs have thick fibers. They are cut off at the top. Noodles are tightly woven. They look like long noodles sticking out of your rug. Noodle rugs are also the softer of the two wool shag rug options.
Shaggy wool shag rugs use thin fibers placed closely together. They have less of a soft texture. It does increase the clean-ability of the rug. Shaggy shag rugs are more durable than noodle shag wool rugs.
Flokati is a type of wool shag carpet from Ancient Greece. It merits its own subsection because of its influence. It also has some major differences in texture.
Flokati carpets are often called sheepdogs. They are similar in texture to that animal. They are usually white or cream and are 100% wool. Flokati backing is wool as well. The long pile fibers are fluffed to give it its characteristic extra-soft texture.
Leather shag rugs are made of strips of cut leather. This is probably the most expensive type of shag rug. It is also the most chic shag carpet material. These are expensive rugs that are fairly impractical for most. Impracticality is probably why they are quite rare. If you want a leather shag rug, place it in an extremely low-traffic location in your home. It should never come in contact with foods, liquids, pets, or children.
We do not recommend getting an acrylic rug. They are highly flammable. You don’t want to put a fire hazard in your home. We recommend passing on the cheap acrylic shag rugs.
Synthetic shag rugs are not the same as the plastic acrylic ones. They are safer to put in your home. There are a wide variety of synthetic materials—polyester, nylon, and viscose. Each has their own benefits and disadvantages.
Synthetic rugs are nice because they can look like other, more expensive, materials. Synthetic materials are significantly cheaper and easier to clean. However, you get what you pay for. Synthetic shag carpets will not be as high-quality as their “natural” counterparts.
What Does This Mean for Cleaning?
Your shag carpet material significantly affects your ability to keep the carpet clean.
Wool carpets can be a problem to clean. Dirt and grime can get caught between the layers of fibers. This is problem for all shag carpets. It is especially an issue with wool. Wool cannot stand up to the heat of traditional carpet cleaners. This makes it hard to get all of the dirt out.
Leather shag carpets are probably the easiest to clean. You can just use a leather cleaner on them. However, this material does not handle spills. It will also show every bite mark from a curious animal.
Acrylic and Synthetic carpets are fairly easy to clean. But, they are fire hazard. We do not recommend using acrylic carpets. Synthetic carpets are safe and can be carpet cleaned. They are still hard to vacuum correctly with damaging the fibers.
Cleaning Problems with Shag Carpets
Shag carpets are extremely hard to keep clean. They tend to catch dirt. Dirt can decrease their attractiveness fairly quickly. Most carpets will get dirty and fade over time. Shag carpets tend to do this much quicker. They can quickly pick up smells. The cotton backing also absorbs all spills and holds onto scents.
Shag carpets also have a number of other cleaning problems. These problems are outside of the material type.
- It is hard to spot clean a shag carpet. You need to clean it up immediately. Otherwise, it can soak into the backing and be nearly impossible to remove.
- Shag carpets are hard to DIY clean. You can with the correct equipment and experience. Correctly cleaning a shag rug can be challenging even for carpet cleaning professionals. Shag carpets are also heavy to move. Their weight can present a problem to get them fully clean.
- You should vacuum weekly. You should also regularly steam clean shag carpets. Otherwise, the fibers will mat down. It will not look like an attractive room accent, but instead a dirty mess. Regular steam cleaning means every 18-24 months for carpets. Carpets out of high traffic areas can be cleaned around every 30 months.
Vacuums and Shag Carpet
Vacuuming can be a chore with shag carpets. The tufts of fibers pull out of the backing easily. If you use a traditional vacuum, the long fibers could get damaged. The fibers can be pulled out and stuck in your vacuum. Pull out enough fibers, and you will no longer have a nice shag carpet.
In order to clean your shag carpet effectively, you need to buy the correct vacuum. Certain vacuums are better suited to shag carpets. They can easily clean your pride and joy without any damage.
What to Look for in a Vacuum for Shag Carpet
How do you find the top vacuum for shag carpet? There are a few things that you need to keep in mind. Below are some of the most important factors.
- No regular vacuums. Shag rugs are very thick. Regular upright vacuums will not be able to properly clean the fibers. You could ruin your vacuum in that scenario.
- Vacuums for shag carpets should have an upholstery attachment. These small attachments have gentle suction. They will not ruin your rug. Additionally, they allow you to clean your shag carpet row-by-row.
- You need suction control. Make sure you have control over the level of suction. You need enough suction to clean the carpet, but not enough to pull out the fibers.
- The lighter the vacuum, the better. Heavier vacuums will weigh down the carpet fibers. This will them harder to clean. It is best to purchase a vacuum as light as possible.
- Carpet rakes are helpful. Carpet rakes do not go onto your vacuum. They are instead designed to plump up your carpet fibers. Use a carpet rake before you vacuum your shag carpet. It will help you clean more successfully.
Top 5 Vacuums for Shag Carpet 2020 - Comparison table
#1 Editor’s Choice
Black and Gold
HEPA Filtration, Bagged, Corded, Sonic Cleaning Technology
27-foot power cord, 8 foot stretch hose, 5 height adjustments, air powered hand tool, 12-inch extension wand, crevice tool, upholster/dusting brush
Dusting brush, 5-inch crevice tool, upholstery tool, accessory bag, hard floor hero, and car detail kit
Under appliance wand, pet power brush, pet multi-tool, duster crevice tool, accessory bag
Floor brush, cyclonic technology, telescopic wand, swivel and bare floor brush, dusting brush, and crevice tool
Top 5 Best Vacuums for Shag Carpet on the Market Reviews
1 Soniclean Soft Carpet Upright Vacuum Cleaner
Soniclean’s Soft Carpet Vacuum Cleaner is unique among this list. It is built especially for carpets with soft fibers and long piles. Soniclean has created special soft nylon brush bristles gentle enough to use on soft carpet like shag.
The vacuum gives off 200 sonic vibrations per second. The sonic vibrations help loosen and remove dirt. Finally, the motor has a direct-air Paramagnetic design. This allows the soft carpet vacuum to have just the right amount of suction for shag carpets.
2 Hoover T-Series WindTunnel Rewind Plus Bagless Corded Upright Vacuum
Hoover’s T-Series WindTunnel Rewind Plus is another upright vacuum safe for shag carpets. It is lightweight. It will not sink into the carpet as you are cleaning.
The T-Series WindTunnel Rewind Plus also has five carpet height positions. No matter how thick your pile, it will not snag. It also includes an upholstery/dusting brush. This is one of the most important tools for cleaning shag carpets properly. The attachments come with an eight-foot stretch hose. The hose can clean most shag carpets without having to roll the vacuum onto it.
3 SharkNinja Rocket DuoClean Ultra-Light Corded Bagless Vacuum
Another extremely light vacuum, SharkNinja’s Rocket DuoClean is bagless vacuum. It has a bristle brush for perfect cleaning of deep pile carpets like shag. The vacuum is super light and also converts into a hand vacuum. It will get to those hard to reach places on your shag carpet.
The Rocket DuoClean vacuum does have powerful suction. You will want to watch its performance on your shag carpet. The bristle brush roller and duster attachment allow you to tone down the suction.
4 SharkNinja Rotator TruePet Upright Corded Bagless Vacuum
SharkNinja is known for making high-quality, lightweight vacuums. Their products are perfect for cleaning shag carpets. The Rotator TruePet is the only vacuum on our list that is made specifically for homes with pets. It comes with a motorized brush and pet-multi tool. You will be able to easily clean a shag carpet exposed to pets.
This vacuum will work great on hard and carpeted floors. But, it is best on carpets. Its LED lights help to illuminate dirt in-between the rows of the shag carpet. The swivel steering gives you even more control over the vacuum’s maneuvering.
5 Kenmore 10701 Bagless Compact Canister Vacuum with Turbine Brush
Kenmore is a trusted name in vacuum manufacturing. It makes sense that they would have a good vacuum for shag carpets. The 10701 Bagless vacuum is a canister model. It is easy to move around. Canister model vacuums also do not have to be moved onto the shag carpet. You will not be compressing the fibers as you clean them.
The Kenmore is specifically good for shag carpeting because of the telescoping wand. It also has a dusting brush/crevice tool. The wand and attachment allow it to be a great all-around tool for shag carpets.
Shag Carpet Care Tips
Remember you need to clean your shag carpet to keep it looking great. Most people who own shag carpets vacuum them at least once a week. Sometimes people will vacuum two or even three times a week. Steam clean your shag carpet every two to three years as well.
Also brush or rack the fibers regularly. This fluffs them out and untangles them. The more traffic on the carpet, the more you will need to rack the fibers.
That brings us to our most important point. When caring for a shag carpet, be strategic about where it's place. A shag carpet in an entryway or other high traffic area will get dirty quickly. Shag carpets in an unused room will not need as much work. The more you use the shag carpet, the dirtier it will be.
Vacuum Care Tips
Keep you vacuum in perfect working order as well. This will help the cleanliness of the shag carpet too.
- - If you vacuum has a bag, change it regularly. When changing the bag, put it on properly.
- - If your vacuum is bagless, empty the container often. The container may get too full and not work as effectively.
- - Check all of the moving parts and attachments regularly. Look for loose or malfunctioning parts. Then either fix them yourself or take it to a repair shop.
Shag carpets can be totally worth the effort. Their new popularity does not detract from the statement they make. They are also soft, plush, and feel very luxurious. To keep them looking their best, keep them clean. Buy one of our picks for the best vacuum for shag carpets. They can help you have the best-looking shag carpet around.