An important part of crafting with your Cricut is keeping all of your craft supplies and accessories in good working condition. One accessory that you use with EVERY project is your Cricut cutting mat, so let’s talk about how to clean a Cricut mat. While we are at it, we can talk about how to clean your Cricut mat and extend the life of it.
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First, I do want to point out that the Cricut Cutting mats are intended to be disposable. They are not designed to be used forever. A standard mat is made from a piece if plastic with an 12″ x 12″ area that is sticky. It comes with a thin acetate cover over the top of the mat to protect the sticky area.
Think of Cricut cutting mats like a lint roller. Once that sticky surface is full of stuff, do you clean it and try and make it sticky again, or do you toss it out and buy a new one? There are ways to remove some of the “stuff” that gets stuck to your cutting mat, but eventually you are going to have to replace it. So let’s start off by looking at some of the ways to extend the life of your Cricut cutting mat.
Cover your Cricut cutting mat
One way you can help keep your Cricut cutting mat clean and extend the life of it is to use the acetate cover that comes with the mat. After you are done cutting with the mat, place the cover back on top of the mat. This will help to make sure that any dust or particles that might be in the air do not end up stuck to your mat.
Use the right mat for your material
Did you know that Cricut makes different cutting mats for you to use depending on what material you are cutting. They even color code them! Cricut has a whole page dedicated to knowing which mat to use for which product you are cutting that you can read HERE.
The blue mat is the light grip mat, and should be used for anything you consider more delicate. This includes things like vellum, light weight cardstock or wrapping paper. This one can also be nice for cutting vinyl that has a backing sheet. There is nothing worse than cutting your vinyl decal and then having the paper backing stick to your cutting mat!
Next up would be the green standard grip mat. This is my go to mat for most of my projects since I mostly cut cardstock. Bonus Cricut Tip! When your standard mat start to feel less sticky and does not work as well for cardstock, downgrade it to be your light grip mat!
The purple mat is the strong grip mat. This is for all of the things that are thicker, such as glitter cardstock, chipboard and faux leather. Bonus Cricut Tip! If you don’t have a strong grip mat, use painter’s tape to help hold things in place.
Last but not least is the pink mat, which is the fabric mat. This one is made specifically with fabrics.
Remove scraps and debris
Another thing you should always do is make sure that you are removing the small scraps and debris from you cutting mat. After you are done cutting out an image, especially with things like cardstock, there could be little scraps of cardstock that stay stuck to your Cricut cutting mat. This is when you would use the Cricut scraper to quickly remove those small pieces.
If you don’t own a Cricut scraper, you could use an old credit card to remove scraps from your cutting mat. Just run the edge of the credit card across the mat to release all of the little pieces. I sometimes do this over a garbage can. That way the little pieces go right in the trash.
This tip comes right from one someone that read this post and commented below. Don’t have an old credit card? Use a plastic paint scraper to remove all of those pieces! You can run a lint roller over your Cricut cutting mat to pick up the pieces that you loosened with the paint scraper.
Use Painter’s Tape
Here is something that I have been doing for YEARS and it really helps me to extend the life of my Cricut cutting mats. Use Painter’s Tape along the edges to secure the material you are cutting to your mat.
I always keep a roll of Painter’s tape in my craft room and as you can see from the picture above I even use those same pieces of painter’s tape over and over. You don’t need to tape things down all the way around the mat. Just a little tape in the corners will do it.
Also, make sure that the tape is smoothed down good and does not interfere with the rollers on the Cricut machine. It also cannot go off the edge of the cutting mat, since that would effect the way the mat loads into the Cricut.
Rotate your Cricut cutting mats
If you always load your Cricut cutting mat into the Cricut machine the same way, you will start to notice that the upper left corner of your cutting mat will start to become less sticky, while the rest of your mat is still fresh and new. This is because the Cricut is programmed to try and move everything to the upper left corner, so you can cut more items out of less material. So to actually use that lower right corner of your mat, the easiest thing you can do is rotate the way you load your mat into the machine.
In the images above, I show this process with cutting scraps with your Cricut. You can see in the first image I have two different colors of cardstock placed on my Cricut cutting mat. In the second image I show how I am loading the mat into the Cricut. In the last photo you can see how when I rotate that same mat 180 degrees, I can get another cut in the opposite corner of that same cutting mat. This really helps you to get more bang for your buck out of your mats!
Move your cuts around
Did you know that in Design Space, when you are on the mat preview screen you can move where an item will cut on your Cricut cutting mat? This is taking my last tip about rotating your mat to the next level.
While in the mat preview screen click on the thing you want to move. When you do this you will be able to drag it around and move it’s position on the cutting mat. There is also a rotate icon in the upper corner and you can even rotate the image. I show how to do this in the video below. By moving your images to cut in areas other than the upper left corner, you will get more use out of your Cricut cutting mat.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyxQAne_n60[/embedyt]
Clean your Cricut cutting mat
Now that we have talked about all of the ways to prolong the life of your mat, let’s look at how to clean a Cricut mat! The best way that I have found is good old fashioned soap and water. I like to start off by putting a clean towel on my kitchen counter. Then I gather up all of my dirty Cricut cutting mats, remove all of the protective covers and put each mat into the kitchen sink. I squirt a little dish soap on the mat and use my hands to rub it around. If you are going to use a dishtowel for this process I would assign one dishtowel to always be the one that you use to clean your Cricut mats.
Then I use the sprayer from the kitchen sink to rinse off the Cricut cutting mats. I find that the pressure from the sprayer will help to remove some of the little pieces that are stuck to the mat. If your mat still seems to have a lot of stuff stuck to it, just repeat the process.
Next allow the Cricut cutting mats to dry. I know that some people have hung them to dry over their bathtub so that they drip into the tub. I just place mine on the clean towel I placed on the kitchen counter, with the sticky side of the mat up. Let them air dry. Once they are dry you can put the acetate cover back on top.
One of my readers had this tip for how to clean a Cricut mat. Use a scrub side a Scotch scrub sponge to lightly scrub your mat.
Baby wipes are another go to product that many crafters swear by. Having some non-alcohol baby wipes in your craft room is a great way to help keep your surfaces clean, including your Cricut cutting mats!
Adding more stick to your mats
Another thing I have heard some people do is actually adding things to their Cricut cutting mats to make them sticky again. I have heard of people using things like glue pens to make their mats sticky. Personally, I have not done this. I would worry about getting too much glue on my mat and having it get into the Cricut machine and mess it up.
One of the ladies in my Facebook group recommends Aleene’s Tack It Over and Over repositionable glue for this process. She said that the trick is to make sure your mat is free of debris to start and then VERY thinly spread the glue all across the mat with an old credit or gift card. Make sure NOT to get the glue on the edges of the mat and make sure to spread it VERY thinly. Then let dry overnight.
I have also heard of people using things like Goo Gone to totally remove all stick from their mats, and then using something like spray mount to then add stick back to the mat. For this process they will advise that you tape off the areas that you do not want to be sticky on your mat, and then spray the spray mount or spray adhesive in an even coat. Again, I personally have not done this and I would be concerned about getting too much glue on the mat and having that get into the inner workings of the Cricut machine.
Use cleaning products with caution
Last, I have heard of people using a product called LA’s Totally Awesome All Purpose Cleaner to clean a Cricut mat. This one seems to get mixed reviews so use this at your own risk. Over the years, Cricut has changed their cutting mats so while this product might have worked with the formula of the older mats, I have heard that it now does not produce the same results with the newer Cricut cutting mats. I would use any cleaning products that are stronger than soap with caution.
If you found this helpful, you should join my Teach Me Cricut Design Space Facebook Group. You can ask me questions and I will share all of my best tips and tricks with you.
I also have a lot of great resources on my Classes page of this website including my Teach Me Cricut Design Space Online Course. In this course I take you step by step through how to use every button and function in Design Space. I have compiled the most frequently asked Cricut questions along with the answers to those questions into one online course. This is my most in depth and detailed Cricut resource ever! It contains over two years worth of Cricut knowledge and research in one course!