Synthetic shaggy style rugs are made primarily from polyester and viscose, or a blend of both using viscose as a thin highlight fiber. Polyester is a plastic petroleum-based fiber. Viscose is a regenerated cellulose (wood pulp) fiber. Both fibers create a rug with a short life span, with polyester lasting longer, and with less shedding, than viscose.
Shaggy rugs can be fun accent pieces, but they are not ideal for heavy use areas of the home.
Synthetic shag rugs are a vacuuming challenge. Most vacuums will tear shag fibers. Strong suction vacuums, as well as rotating brush vacuums, must be avoided. Vacuuming must be done with a hand held vacuum hose with attachment, a wide attachment for general dusting of the top, and a crevice tool to vacuum in between the rows of fibers in the rug base.
Once dirt/soil reaches the base of these rugs, it can be extremely difficult to remove grit, lint, and pet hair which has entwined with these fibers and become part of the rug. Your goal will be to regularly remove the dust settling on the surface of the rug to prevent it from reaching the base of the rug.
Use a horse hair upholstery brush to groom the fibers, remove loose strands, and remove surface dust or use microfiber cloths to surface dust polyester shag rugs. Vacuum the surface of the fibers with a hand held vacuum tool as often as you need to sweep the nearby floors. If the rug is small you can shake it outside to “dust” it, or use a leaf blower to “air dust” it. Trim pulls with scissors, don’t yank them out.
Most spills will run immediately into the backing material, which will likely be cotton. You can try to spot rinse, and place absorbent towels under and over the area to sandwich it while you stand on it to press out the moisture/spill. In many cases, especially pet-related, professional washing will be needed.