How to wash/clean your disgusting rug

Sorry, I may be projecting a little bit.  So far, I haven’t found any part of owning pets that isn’t at least a little bit disgusting. Last night, Craig fed the dogs the remains of a veggie tray someone brought to our house for a party. Then Helo threw up baby carrots that he hadn’t properly chewed. 3 times. In the bedroom. On the carpet. That’s just part of the wonderful world of sharing your home with animals who don’t have to clean up after themselves. Anyway, February of 2013, we had our floors done, and with all of the hard surfaces in the house, it felt kind of noisy (we also had all of our furniture out of the room, and curtains tied back, so that might have had something to do with it.) Plus, I wanted a green shag rug. So I got one. It was like $80 at Ikea. I loved it. I also counted on it getting destroyed by the dogs, me throwing it out, and then replacing it. But then I thought to myself “Can’t hurt to try to clean it before I throw it in a dumpster. So I got to work.

First off, our “rug” is 2 shag rugs that I duct taped together. The shag pretty effectively hides the seam, and since they’re under our coffee table, they don’t get scooted at all. I brought these outside after a week of not vacuuming them. I just wanted them OUT, and figured I’d go ahead with cleaning as necessary. Also – if you don’t like dog hair everywhere, don’t own malamutes. Additionally, if you are going to wash a rug that you care about, please check it for colorfastness and whatnot on an invisible area. These were cheap and synthetic and I was not concerned. Your mileage may vary.

dirty green shag rug
dirty green shag rug

As you can see, the cheap shag has gotten matted (no amount of vacuuming has been able to return this to the kind of nap it had when new). Then here they are after having been vacuumed. I am sure my neighbors thought I was totally sane vacuuming the rugs that I dragged out onto my deck at 10am.

dirty green shag rug

Then came time to actually clean them.  I sprayed them down with the hose to get them wet, then poured an oxyclean mixture (just oxyclean and hot water in a bucket, stirred til the oxyclean dissolved) over the rugs, and started scrubbing with my feet.  For a shorter nap, a push broom or a scrub brush would probably be great. I didn’t feel like trying to dig any of that out, and the shag is so long, I’m not entirely sure they’d have done any better than my tootsies.

scrubbing a rug with my feet

This process was disgusting.  There were so many pine needles, bits of sand, etc that came out of this (even after vacuuming!).  And you know what?  The carrots that I gave to the dogs as treats several months ago… there were chunks of those in the shag, like lots of them.  Dude, shag is gross. After scrubbing both rugs thoroughly with my feet, I rinsed. And there was so much dirt. Seriously. Gross.

dirty water coming off rug being washed

dirty water coming off rug being washed

Blech.  Deciding that I needed another “layer” of cleanliness, I put some eco friendly laundry detergent into my bucket and diluted it with more water.  Then I followed the same process of scrubbing with my feet. Then I let the rugs sit with the laundry detergent on them for about 20-30 minutes.

rugs soaking with laundry detergent

Then I rinsed.  Thoroughly. Then I squeegeed as much of the water off as I could (with my feet, again), rinsed again, squeegeed again, then rolled the rugs up and leaned them against the house to drain off as much water as they could over the course of a couple hours.

sqeegeeing water off of a shag rug

rugs rolled up and drip drying against house

After the initial drip dry, the deck had dried off, and I laid the rugs out to dry in the hot sun for 2 days.  Boris enjoyed their presence on the deck.

dog laying on a rug outside

cleaned shag rugs

I hit them once more with the vacuum before bringing them back inside (you’d be surprised at how much dog hair was still in them!)  But in the time we had them out of the room, we both decided that we liked the living room more without them (and the dog hair could easily be swept, versus vacuuming it out of the pile), so I rolled them up and tucked them away.  Perhaps we’ll get them out this winter when everything feels cold.

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