Maybe you like the fact that some of the styles from the 1970s have been revived. If you can get images of avocado green and orange shag carpeting out of your head, you quickly realize that high-pile rugs truly do hold a great deal of appeal.
They are soft, fluffy, and look inviting to run your feet through. But, once you select the fluffy flooring, you will eventually be asking yourself how to vacuum a high pile rug. Shag, deep, or high pile carpet is hard to keep clean. Vacuuming a high pile rug is a little different from cleaning other types of flooring.
What is High Pile?
The fibers that make up carpeting and rugs are actually small loops woven into a backing. the length of these loops is what determines whether a rug or carpeting is low, medium, or high pile.
There are low pile rugs, made with short loop fibers, and high pile rugs, like shag carpeting with long looped fibers that make the rug fluffy and soft. Some are so fluffy that they look like a sheep dog’s fur or an inviting cloud of softness.
However, as inviting and soft as a high pile rug may look, it also has the tendency to gather dirt, grime, dust, hair, and other debris that gets trapped down deep in these long fiber loops.
Problems with Cleaning High Pile Carpet
The main problem with cleaning a high-pile carpet is that the looped fiber carpet threads can get tangled in the brush of the vacuum cleaner.
Sometimes, you have to cut off the tangled mess from the vacuum. In some cases, attempting to clean the rug with the suction of a vacuum completely ruins the fibers.
The dirt in high pile carpeting tends to be collected down deep where you cannot see it.
But, unfortunately in this case, out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind. Even when you cannot see the dirt, it can create a very unhealthy environment festering right below your feet.
The high pile in the rug tends to collect all dirt and bacteria that is tracked in from outside or which lands on the carpet from normal, everyday use. If you have a pet, the pet hair gets trapped in between the threads of fibers making it even more difficult to clean.
Keep the High-Pile Rug Well Maintained
Proper maintenance helps, but a high pile rug will still need to be deep cleaned at least once a year. In the meantime, make sure you remove any spills or stains immediately.
Use a paper towel or a white cloth towel to absorb as much moisture from spills right away. Prepare a cleaning solution that consists of liquid soap and water, and rub it onto the wet spot using a white towel.
Rinse off the cleaning solution with water and a wet towel. Allow the rug to completely dry before using it again.
Vacuuming a High Pile Rug
Follow these helpful tips to vacuum your high-pile rug without damaging the carpet or the vacuum cleaner:
Vacuum When Needed
A rug should be vacuumed at least once a week. If it is in a high-traffic location or pets or children use the rug, you may even want to vacuum it daily.
Check the instruction manual on your vacuum to see what specific features it has for vacuuming various types of floors. Also, check the cleaning instructions on the rug.
Flip it Over
To regularly vacuum a high pile rug, first, flip it over. Turn the entire rug upside down. If it is big and heavy, ask for help. Or, roll the carpet to the other side like you would roll up a mat.
Once it is flipped over or rolled to the opposite side, vacuum it thoroughly to clean the back of the rug and help to loosen any trapped dust or debris. When you have finished vacuuming the underside of the rug, turn the rug back over, and vacuum it once more from the top.
Adjust the suction power on the vacuum cleaner.
Vacuum cleaners typically come with various choices in settings. If you are going to suction out all of the dirt, hairs, and any other debris, you must use the proper setting for the type of carpet or rug you are vacuuming.
Too much suction, and you could pull up the entire carpet. Too little suction, and you won’t get the rug clean. Adjust the suction to a level where the beater head is able to be pushed along the carpet surface without getting stuck.
Adjust the height of the vacuum. Many vacuums come with a height adjustment to accommodate high piles. Adjust to the top pile height to prevent brush marks from forming when you vacuum.
Avoid The Beater Bar Brush Roll
Do not use a regular beater bar with the brush roll. Don’t use the same brush roll that you use on a bare floor.
Vacuum a high pile rug without a brush roll. The brush roll will often just make it more difficult by tangling the threads in the pile. Vacuum using only the hose, or use the beater bar without the brush roll.
Wet-Dry Vacuum Cleaners
Try using a wet-dry vac to vacuum a high-pile rug.
A wet-dry vacuum cleaner does not operate using a beater bar. Instead, it uses a wide-mouth opening on a long hose that works well, especially if there has been any liquid spilt onto the rug.
Use a Crevice Tool
If your vacuum cleaner has a crevice tool attachment, use it to clean the high pile rug, especially along the edges. These tool attachments are great for picking up dust and dirt from hard-to-reach corners.
They work great on rugs too even though it will take more time if you use this method.
Clean between rows. Take special care in cleaning between the rows. The side rows of carpets tend to gather dust and dirt more than other areas of the rug. Use the crevice tool to carefully clean.
Occasionally try dry shampooing the high-pile rug. Sprinkle a little absorbent, carpet shampoo granules on top of the rug. Use a vacuum’s cleaning head bristles to brush the granules onto the rug, while the vacuum is switched off.
Allow the dry shampoo to sit for about an hour, and then thoroughly vacuum up the granules.
Beating the Rug
Some prefer to use the old-fashioned method of taking the rug outside and beating the dirt out of it.
Depending on how big your rug is, this could still be an option as a first step in loosening the deep-sunken-in particles enough to be picked up by a vacuum.
Don’t settle for simply beating the rug and leaving it to air out. After you have beaten the dust and debris out of the rug’s fibers, bring it back inside for a final vacuuming. When you bring the rug back inside, follow up with a good, thorough vacuuming to make sure the rug is completely clean.
High pile rugs may look inviting and soft. However, their long-looped fibers demand a lot of proper care and cleaning. Regularly cleaning your high pile rug will help to keep it looking fresh, clean, and new.
But, if you vacuum it incorrectly, you could damage both the rug and potentially the vacuum cleaner. Follow these helpful tips on how to vacuum high pile rugs the right way, so you can enjoy your floor covering choice for years to come.