This post is about how I drastically extend the life of my Cricut mat and ensure I always get a perfect cut! Keep reading for several methods on how I easily clean and restick my Cricut mats using common household items I always have on hand.
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What are Cricut mats used for?
If you’re a beginner wondering what the Cricut mats are used for, don’t worry, I’ll explain everything!
The Cricut mats serve as a way to hold your material in place while its being cut with the Cricut cutting machine.
The mats come with an adhesive covering (think extra-strength post-it glue), which allows the material you’re cutting to temporarily remain in place on the mat. The tackiness of the mats adheres the materials to the mat, ensuring there isn’t any shifting allowing for a precise cut of even the most intricate designs. Since the machine is executing a cut based on your Cricut Design Space design, any movement of the material you’re cutting will ruin the cut.
That’s why it’s so important to keep your Cricut cutting mats clean and tacky.
Which Cricut mat should I use?
Because the Cricut machine allows you to cut a large array of materials, the material you’re cutting will dictate the style (i.e., tackiness) of Cricut mat you should use:
- Light grip (blue mat)
- Light cardstock
- Standard printer paper
- Standard grip
- Heavy cardstock
- Strong grip
- Specialty cardstock
- Backed fabric
- Fabric grip
- Cotton fabric
For more information, check out my post on my favorite projects for each style of Cricut mat.
How long do Cricut mats usually last?
The standard grip cricut mat is the version I use the most. I find it to be the most versatile for my projects, as it usually gives me the most consistent cut for the materials I’m usually cutting (e.g., glitter cardstock and heat transfer vinyl)
If you’re new to crafting with the Cricut, and would like to try out a large variety of projects, I’d recommend Cricut’s machine mat variety pack, which comes with a light, standard, and strong grip mat. The cost of the bundle is less than each mat on its own, and it will give you the supplies you need to really explore the capabilities of your machine and materials you’re interested in experimenting with.
From my experience, if you start with a brand new cutting mat and only clean it using your spatula and scraper, you might be able to get 40 uses out of the mat before you’d need to replace it.
For reference, I’m counting one use as one cut through the machine of a 12 x 12 or similar size design.
Replacing a mat every 40 uses is just not reasonable!
Lucky for you, I’ve figured out the easiest and most effective techniques to keep your Cricut mats can and tacky, and make them last twice as long!
No, seriously, I’ve been able to extend the life of my mats from 40 to 75 or 80 uses using these tried and true techniques. And, I’ve literally tried EVERYTHING out there.
Why do Cricut mats loose their stickiness?
The main reason Circut mats loose their stickiness is from particles that make their way onto your Cricut mat and which create a barrier between the sticky mat and your material.
Over time, Cricut mats accumulate debris, adhesives, and remnants from various projects, affecting their tackiness and overall performance.
Cleaning your Cricut mats is essential for extending the life of your mats while ensuring that they remain reliable and effective.
How to Clean Your Cricut Mats
There are various stages of cleaning your Cricut mat. Whether your mat just needs a quick refresh, or a complete deep clean, each stage of cleaning can be accomplished using just 5 common household items.
I’ve listed out each cleaning technique in order of intensity and frequency with which I clean my mats, beginning with the least intense and most frequent cleaning.
- Lint roller
- Baby wipes
- Windex glass cleaner
- Scrub Daddy FlexTexture Scrubber
- Dawn dish soap
- La’s Totally Awesome cleaner and degreaser
Cleaning a Cricut mat with a lint roller
After each cut, I use my Cricut spatula and scraper to remove the leftover material. I’ll then use a lint roller to clean off any remaining debris.
To clean your Cricut mats with a lint roller, simply use a fresh sheet and roll the lint roller over the mat 2-3 times until there are no longer any visible particles. Use additional lint roller sheets as needed.
Cleaning a Cricut mat with baby wipes
When your mat just starts to lose its tackiness, use a baby wipe to clean the surface a little more thoroughly.
To clean your Cricut mats with baby wipes, take a fresh wipe and gently wipe from top to bottom of the mat, agitating the wipe in difficult areas as needed.
NOTE: Your mat will initially no longer be tacky after cleaning with baby wipes. Don’t panic. Simply allow your mat to air dry for about 3-5 minutes, and the tackiness will return almost as good as new. It’s amazing!
My go to brand of wipes are…. Which can be found at Target and on Amazon.
Cleaning a Cricut mat with Windex glass cleaner
Windex glass cleaner is a great option for a quick Cricut mat cleaning that is a little more thorough than cleaning with baby wipes alone.
First, spray your Cricut mat with Windex glass cleaner just enough to lightly cover the entire mat. Using a baby wipe, gently massage the Windex into the mat. Then, wipe the remaining Windex off using a fresh baby wipe. Allow 3-5 minutes to air dry until tackiness returns.
Cleaning a Cricut mat with Dawn Dish Soap
Cleaning your Cricut mats with Dawn dish soap is one of my two recommendations for deep cleaning your Cricut mat. I generally resort to this option once cleaning with Windex is only providing stickiness for a few cuts.
To clean your Cricut mats using Dawn dish soap, follow these five steps:
Step 1: In a large kitchen sink, spray or run warm water over your Cricut mat. This helps to loosen up the larger debris adhesive that has accumulated in certain areas.
Step 2: Apply a quarter-size amount of Dawn dish soap directly to the Cricut mat’s surface.
Step 3: Run your Scrub Daddy FlexTexture Scrubber under warm water to increase its flexibility and decrease the abrasiveness. Then, gently scrub the Cricut mat in a circular motion to remove the surface debris.
Step 4: Rinse off any soap and residue using warm water.
Step 5: Allow the mat to air dry completely, which should take about 10 minutes.
Cleaning a Cricut mat with La’s Totally Awesome cleaner
La’s Totally Awesome cleaner and degreaser is another household product that works great for cleaning your Cricut mats.
Cleaning with La’s Totally Awesome cleaner may be one step above Dawn in its effectiveness for deep cleaning your Circut mats. While both Dawn dish soap and La’s Totally Awesome cleaner clean and degrease, La’s Totally Awesome is a concentrated degreaser solution, which will more easily remove the debris that has accumulated on your cricut mats.
To clean your Cricut mats using La’s Totally Awesome cleaner and degreaser, follow these four steps:
Step 1: On a hard, flat surface (that you won’t mind getting messy), spray a generous amount of La’s Totally Awesome cleaner over your Cricut mat until the whole mat is thoroughly covered. Allow the degreaser 1-2 minutes to loosen up the debris on the mat.
Step 2: Using your Cricut scraper, scrape off any debris on the mat’s surface. I prefer to scrape in even lines from top to bottom so I ensure I don’t miss any areas.
Step 3: Rinse the Cricut mat with warm water to remove any debris and La’s Totally Awesome cleaner and degreaser residue that’s leftover.
Step 4: Allow the mat to air dry completely, which should take about 10 minutes.
REMINDER: Your mat will initially no longer be tacky after cleaning. Simply allow your mat to air dry for about 3-5 minutes for tackiness to return.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How long do Cricut mats last?
If you don’t take measures to clean and maintain your mats regularly, a Cricut mat will probably only last for about 40 uses, depending on the material you’re cutting. With frequent cleaning and proper care, many of my Cricut mats last me 75-80 uses.
Cleaning and proper care can drastically increase the lifespan of a Cricut mat.
Glitter cardstock will probably result in the shortest number of uses for your mat. This is primarily because as you cut, some of the glitter will naturally flake off and stick to the cutting area.
On the other hand, lightweight cardstock will probably allow your mats to last the longest.
Also, the type of cuts you make will also impact the life of your mats. The more intricate cuts resulting in a shorter lifespan as more debris will naturally accumulate on the mats.
How do I know when my Cricut mat needs to be cleaned?
You will know a Cricut mat needs to be cleaned when your material is no longer adhering to the mat enough to keep it secure during cuts. You may also notice your designs are no longer cutting as clean and precise as they once were.
A rule of thumb I use is if a piece of felt comes off clean, then it’s probably time to clean your mat.
Are you supposed to take the plastic off the Cricut mat?
Yes, the plastic cover should be removed for the Cricut mat before cutting. However, do not throw away this plastic sheet. The plastic sheet is a protective cover that prevents dust and debris from accumulating on the mat when not in use.
For more details, check out my post on how to store Cricut mats when not in use.
What if my Cricut mat is too sticky?
If your Cricut mat is too sticky, your paper will stick to it too well, which will make it difficult to remove after cutting, possibly resulting in tears.
Make sure you’re using the correct style of mat for the material you’re cutting.
To reduce the stickiness of your mat, gently lay a clean microfiber cloth on the mat, then peel it up slowly. This should help remove some of the stickiness.
How often should I clean my Cricut mat?
I like to clean my Cricut mats whenever I notice my cuts are becoming less precise and the blade starts to nick some of the more intricate cuts.
Honestly, you can refresh your Cricut mats with the lint roller and baby wipes fairly frequently, and extend the amount of time between deep cleanings to about every 10-20 uses. This will largely depend on the type of cutting material being used.
When using a material that leaves behind a lot of debris (e.g., glitter cardstock), you will need to clean your mats more frequently.
What if my Cricut mat isn’t sticky?
When your Cricut mat is no longer sticky, it’s time to deep clean your mat. To deep clean my mats, I like to use Dawn dish soap or La’s Totally Awesome cleaner and degreaser.
If you find cleaning your mat using these products doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to buy a new one. The variety pack I prefer can be found here.
How to preserve Cricut mats?
You can preserve your Cricut mats by keeping them clean using the methods I recommended above.
To preserve their stickiness in between cuts, I recommend keeping them in their original plastic protective sheet, and storing them in a clean space by laying them flat, or hanging them upright. The goal here is to prevent bending and warping while protecting them from dust and other debris.
This post was all about simple ways to clean and restick your Cricut mats using 5 common household items. For more Cricut tips, tricks and tutorials visit us here.