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How to Clean an Area or Shag Rug

Carpet king Arash Yaraghi weighs in on three rug-cleaning FAQs -- and his answers may surprise you.

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Photography by: Christopher Baker

Safavieh, exclusive rug partner of Martha Stewart Living, has been in the business for an incredible 100 years. Who better than the company's owner, Arash Yaraghi, to give us the bottom line on maintaining area rugs -- even the notoriously fussy shag?

How often should I be cleaning my carpets?

Would you guess monthly? Yearly? Not even close. Even the plushest carpets need formal cleaning only every five years. Save your time and money: spot-treat stains as needed in between -- and vacuum regularly, of course.

What's the best stain treatment out there?

For all the pricey options available, I've found nothing more effective than plain white vinegar and water. Blend them together in equal parts, and pour the solution over the stain. After a few minutes, wipe it away for a rug that's as good as new.

Can I vacuum my shag rug?

Yes, but not in the way you might think. Instead of taking your vacuum to the shaggy front side, which can cause matting and snags, flip the rug over and vacuum the back using suction only -- no brush required. This will shake out dust and debris, giving your rug a fluffy finish and allowing you to easily treat discolorations or stains.

Got flooring on the brain? See Arash's tips for choosing rugs and carpets here.

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