Having a Clean Cutting Mat is Key
When you use your Cricut, you need to make sure your mats are sticky. If they are not, your cardstock, vinyl, fabric or whatever other materials you are using, will slip and ruin your project. So, it is important to keep your cutting mat clean. So, let’s do a quick How to Clean a Cricut Cutting Mat.
There are lots of ways clean clean cutting mats. Some methods work better than others, some take more time than others, but at the end of the day, it will be a trial and error method until you find a method that you like.
Ways to clean your cutting mats, in order of my preference based on which works best for me.
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Using a Scrub Brush and Soap to clean a Cutting Mat
Using a scrub brush and soaps is the most effective way to clean my mats and produce the best results.
For this method I use,
- Warm water – much nicer on the hands than cold water
- Wash Station – I used the sink in my laundry room, but also bathtubs work.
- Dish Soap – My go-to soap is Palmolive, the Green one
- Scrub Brush – Literally the one from my kitchen
- Coat Hangers – for drying – I like wire hangers as they fit perfectly.
- Dirty Cutting Mats
Typically, I wait until all of my mats are completely unusable before I was them. So I will have a whole pile to do at once.
Fill your sink or tub with just enough water to cover the mats. You only need an inch or two of water. Add in a splash of soap.
Place the cutting mat into the water.
Using your scrub brush in small circular motions, scrub the mat. Scrub the whole mat. Depending on how dirty your mat is, you may need to scrub the entire mat several times before all of the grim comes off.
Rinse all of the soapy water off and hang it up to dry.
I use old wire hangers to hand them up on my clothes rack. They fit perfectly through the hole at the top of the mat. You want the hanger to be at the back of the mat so it doesn’t stick to the clean side.
Lint Roller Method for Cleaning a Cutting Mat
Using a lint roller, roll over the surface of the mat. Just going back and forth. If the mat is very sticky under all the debris and dirt, it may start to pull off the sheets from the roller.
I find this method is good when doing projects and you want to remove large bits of paper or vinyl off the cutting mat. But I do not find it very good for providing a thorough cleaning on the whole mat.
Instead of using a lint roller, you can also use transfer tape.
Another issue I have with this method is that it produces more waste. You can easily use 2-3 sheets of lint roller paper to clean the mat.
Baby Wipes Method for Cleaning a Cutting Mat
This method is simple for cleaning a Cricut cutting mat. All you need is baby wipes and a dirty cutting mat.
Cleaning the mat in a circular motion with the baby wipes until the mat is clean. If you do not like the circular motion, you can wipe in one direction across the mat.
Again, I do not find this method very effective. It will work to remove large debris off the mat, and I will do it in a pinch if I do not feel like scrubbing my mats. It will clean the mats enough to use again, but from my experience, they are not as clean as they could be.
Also, baby wipes will tear after a while, so you may end up going through a lot of wipes to clean a cutting mat.
Scraping with a Spatula to Clean a cutting mat
The Cricut tool set includes a metallic spatula. With the spatula, you can scrape the debris off of the mat.
I will use this between cuts to remove large bits that are stuck onto the cutting mat.
One downfall of using a spatula is that it can damage your cutting mat surface and pull off the top sticky layer. So you need to be careful not to push down too hard. It also does not do a great job of getting smaller pieces off.
Using tweezers to clean a cutting mat
If you have a decent pair of tweezers and good lighting you can pull off any debris from your mat with tweezers. This method can be very time-consuming and will not remove all the small debris. But it can be relaxing.
Storing and Keeping your Cricut Cutting Mats Clean
Once your mats are clean, you need to make sure you keep them functional for as long as possible. Here is how I maintain my mats in a functional format.
How to keep your Circut Cutting Mats Clean
Every cutting mat comes with a plastic cover. This cover is ideal for keeping your mat clean. However, by simply taking it off, putting it down and putting it back on again, it will get dirty also. And if you are crafting all over the place, you may also end up mistakenly throwing it into the garbage and having to pull it out again. So, a simple solution I have found is to label my Cricut mat covers.
Simply cut some vinyl designs out with your Cricut and adhere them to the Cricut mat cover sheet.
I put words on mine. This way, the same side always sticks to the mat.
If you put the mat cover on with the decals facing the cutting mat they will stick to the mat and peel off. Having words on the cover sheet also helps with this, as you will always know which side is up.
Below are some pictures of my mats to help give you some ideas.
How to Store Your Cutting mats when Not in Use
When storing your cutting mats, you want to keep them straight. You can lay them flat under your Cricut or in a drawer or hang them up on the wall.
I hand mine up on the wall with 3M command strips. This way they are always handy and always straight.
Frequently Asked Questions about cleaning cutting mats
Can I use my mat if it is not sticky?
If you are unable to clean your cutting mat, but you need to cut a project, you can use green or blue painter’s tape to hold down your paper or vinyl on the cutting mat.
How often do I need to wash my cutting mats?
This all depends on how often you use your cutting mats, and how messy the designs are. I will clean my mats once every 2 months or so. But when cutting lots of projects, I can clean them daily.
How Many times can I wash my mats before they no longer stick?
There is no set limit on the number of washes. Some mats can be washed 2 times, and some can be washed 10 times. The only thing I have found is that the light grip mats do not last through as many washes as the strong grip mats.
Can I make mats sticky again?
In theory yes. Some products that claim to make mats sticky again, but I have not found any that actually work well. And for the price and effort of re-sticking mats, I find it easier to just buy new ones.
Are Cricut Mats better than No Name Brand Mats?
I have found there is no real difference between brands. I use both Cricut brand cutting mats and no name brand cutting mats. Over time, all mats get run down regardless of brand.
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