Wool Shag Rugs

Wool shag pile rugs can be woven by hand (such as Greek Flokatis), or custom shag rug creations with backing material construction. The quality of the rug will depend on the quality of the wool used to create it, and the quality of the adhesive used in the backing (if the rug is not hand woven).

  • Shedding is common with wool shag rugs. Better quality wool will have a short shedding period of a few months, lower quality wool may shed for the rug’s lifetime.
  • Wool has a natural repellency, so quick clean up is key to preventing permanent stains.
  • Wool will not hold a flame, it is naturally flame resistant and will self-extinguish if fireplace sparks or a candle falls on it.
  • Backing material adhesive has a shorter life than wool, so if your shag rug has a backing this will need repair over time.

Wool rugs can last for decades if properly cared for. Hand woven will outlast custom backed shag rugs. Wool must be properly washed regularly to extend its life. Stored wool rugs must be protected from moths. 


Regular vacuuming protects the longevity of all rugs, however, with shag rugs this can be a 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, pet hair which has entwined with these fibers and become part of the rug. When brand new, or after a washing, 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. 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. 


Most spills will blot and clean up if immediate action is taken as wool suspends most liquids for a short time naturally. Large drink spills (food dye) or pet urine accidents will need professional cleaning. Use corn starch or other absorbent powder (NEVER baking soda) to cover the spill to help absorb it up, then vacuum away the powder when fully dry.

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