How to Clean a Cricut Mat

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Last updatedLast updated: March 27, 2021
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Crafting has developed into a massive industry. Research shows that there are over five million copies of craft magazines sold in the USA alone. If you’re serious about crafting, a Cricut mat is a crucial piece of kit.

These mats are specifically designed to ensure fabrics are secure for cutting with ease, particularly when you’re working with a Cricut machine. Cricut mats are engineered using strong, dense material that can withstand the pressure of a blade.

However, over time even the best Cricut mat can get dirty, dull and lacking stickiness. This can leave you with a non-sticky, inaccurate surface that has the potential to ruin a perfect craft project. Fortunately, you don’t need to throw your mat in the trash. Here, we’ll explore how to clean Cricut mats and how to make a Cricut mat sticky again.

The differences between Cricut mats

How to Clean a Cricut MatIf you’re considering how to clean a Cricut mat, you may wonder about the different colors and whether this will impact the cleaning.

Depending on the materials, you’re working with, you’ll need different types of mats.

Blue: This is a light grip mat designed for cutting lightweight materials. If you put thin materials on a stronger grip Cricut mat, it will be difficult to remove once you’re done cutting. The Blue mat is ideal for normal paper, thin card or construction paper.

Green: This is the standard grip mat and it is the most common. This is the mat that is usually supplied with Cricut machines and works well with medium weight materials such as vinyl and card stock.

Purple: This is the strong grip mat for heavy materials, such as poster board, glitter cardstock, chipboard, balsa or leather.

Pink: This is specifically designed for cutting fabric. This includes bonded fabric or any type of fabric if you’re using a Cricut Maker and rotary blade.

Best cleaning methods

When your Cricut mat is no longer holding your materials properly, it is the ideal time to discover how to clean a Cricut mat. It is important to be gentle with your mat and ensure it is cleaned properly, so it has the potential to offer years of use.

There are a number of different cleaning methods, so you may need to explore which one will work best for your mat. Some mats will only require basic cleaning, while others will need to be fully cleaned more frequently. So, it is important to be familiar with all the cleaning methods to feel confident about tackling any mat cleaning task.

With a lint roller

How to Clean a Cricut MatUsing a lint roller is the simplest method of cleaning a Cricut mat. You can do this after every project or if you notice there are bits accumulating on the mat.

All you need to do is run a lint roller across your mat. This will pick up any fibers, dust, hairs or bits of paper. If you don’t have a sticky lint roller, you can use a loop of masking tape. Roll the tape around your fingers, sticky side out and then run your hand across the mat.

This is a great way to remove any slivers of paper, rather than trying to lift them with tweezers. Since the tape or lint roller is stickier than your mat, it pulls any debris straight off the mat. This is particularly effective on less tacky mats and is safe to use on the pink grip mats.

With baby wipes

How to Clean a Cricut MatAnother easy way to clean your Cricut mat is to use baby wipes. Unscented, bleach free, alcohol free baby wipes are a great way to wipe down surfaces including the exterior of your Cricut maker.

However, whether you’re wiping down your machine or cleaning your Cricut mat, you need to ensure you use the plainest wipes possible. Check the packaging to ensure they are free of cornstarch, lotion or any additional oils or solvents. These ingredients have the potential to interfere with the stickiness of your mat, as they could bread down the adhesive.

Gently swipe the baby wipe across the surface of your mat. This should pick up any dust or small slivers of material and fibers. Just be sure to allow your mat to dry before using. Baby wipes are actually quite damp and can quickly make the surface wet.

With soap and water

The next method involves how to wash cricut mats with soap and water. This is a more effective method if your mat is looking and feeling a little grubby. While lint rollers and baby wipes can be effective for surface dust and debris, you may need to resort to this method for a more thorough clean.

Be sure to use warm water rather than very hot water. Many people assume that the hotter the water, the better the cleaning, but this is not the case with Cricut mats. In fact, the heat can actually warp the mat which makes it difficult to fit into your machine.

Like using baby wipes, you want to try and use a soap that is free of lotions that may cause damage to your mat. The best option is a plain dish soap.

Use a soft sponge, cloth or soft brush to gently scrub your mat. Keep rinsing your cleaning cloth as you scrub different areas of the mat to avoid adding dirt to another area. Once you’re finishing cleaning, you need to ensure you rinse the mat well. This will ensure there is no soap residue lingering on the mat.

You’ll need to allow plenty of time before crafting with this method, as the mat needs to dry completely before you can use it. Even the best Cricut machines can be compromised by putting a damp mat inside. So, check and double check your mat is dry before use.

With adhesive remover

How to Clean a Cricut MatNow, we are getting into more challenging cleaning methods as adhesive removers are a strong solvent that dissolve some of the sticky glue on the mat. This can help to remove any gunk that may have accumulated on the mat.

However, using this type of product will strip the mat of its adhesive. You’ll need to be familiar with how to re stick cricut mats before attempting this. But, we will cover this process in more detail later.

There are a number of different adhesive remover products on the market. For example, there is rubbing alcohol (70% isopropyl), concentrated cleaners and universal stain removers. Goo Gone is a popular product within the Cricut crafting community. But, if you already have an adhesive remover product you’re familiar with, you should be able to use it with your Cricut mat.

Although the specific instructions of how to use an adhesive remover to clean a Cricut mat, generally the procedure goes as follows.

  • Spray or pour a little of the adhesive remover on the mat
  • Use a scraper or stiff piece of plastic to spread it around the surface
  • Allow the solvent to sit. The longer, it sits, the more stickiness it will remove. However, you will need to check the directions for your product. It is better to go for a shorter time and reapply if necessary than risk damaging your mat. For the first time, you are likely to only need a few minutes to remove the dirty top layer of adhesive. But, if you have done this process a number of times, you may need to leave it as long as 30 minutes.
  • Use a scraper or cloth to wipe off the dirty adhesive from the mat.
  • Wash the mat with soapy, warm water to remove any remaining residue.
  • Allow the mat to dry completely.

How to dry a Cricut mat

How to Clean a Cricut MatNow, we’ve covered washing a Cricut mat, you need to know how to dry a Cricut mat. It is crucial that your mat is dry before you put it back in a Cricut or other Die Cut Machine. Fortunately, we have some tips to help you dry your cutting mat.

The best way to ensure your mat is completely dry is by hanging it after washing. It is important both sides are dry, so leaving it sitting on a counter will not be sufficient. Allowing both sides exposure to air will help them to dry. You could even set it upright on your dish rack.

If you can’t wait to get crafting, you may be tempted to try and use a hairdryer or other form of heat to dry your mat. But, this would be a mistake. Exposure to heat may cause warping or splitting, which means that the mat will no longer fit into your cutting machine.

If you do want to speed up the dry time of your mat, you could increase the air circulation using a fan. If your hairdryer has a cool setting, you could use it, but generally speaking it is best to allow the mat time to naturally air dry.

How to restick a Cricut mat

How to Clean a Cricut MatOnce you’ve cleaned your Cricut mat, you may find that it has lost its stickiness. So, you need to make it sticky to be functional and accurate again.

There are a number of methods to restick your mat. You will need a repositionable adhesive or adhesive sticky spray to accomplish this. These are fairly inexpensive products that are available online or at craft stores.

As with solvents, each of these products will have different usage instructions. So, you’ll need to read them before attempting the resticking process. If you’re in a pinch, you may be able to use scrapbooking glue or repositionable glue sticks.

Once you have your adhesive, you’re ready to begin.

  1. Use masking or painter’s tape to secure the edges of your mat. This will help you avoid getting the edges sticky, which could ruin even the best cutting machine.
  2. Remove any stickiness that remains on the mat using rubbing alcohol or another adhesive remover and a scraper. It is important not to have patches of stickiness so the adhesive can evenly coat your mat.
  3. Slowly apply the spray to evenly coat the surface of the mat. Some products make contact immediately, but others require brushing several times. So, for the best results, you’ll need to follow the product instructions.
  4. Allow the adhesive to rest, so it can properly bond to the surface of the mat. After approximately 20 minutes you should be able to carefully remove the tape and you should find your mat is ready to use and as good as new.

FAQ

Are Cricut mats durable?

Cricut mats are some of the most durable on the market. Just be aware that you will need to periodically clean your mat to prolong its lifespan.

Why are Cricut mats so sticky?

The stickiness of Cricut mats is crucial, as they need to hold materials including vinyl in position. If you have gone through the resticking process and your mat feels too sticky, you can place a towel on it a couple of times to reduce the tackiness.

Can you make Cricut mats sticky again?

Yes, you can make your Cricut mat as sticky as it was when it was new. You’ll need to go through the proper steps to clean it and in many cases, restick your mat to ensure it regains its stickiness.

Can you wash Cricut mats?

Yes, providing you use the right products and the correct water temperature. Cold water is best, but you can use lukewarm water. Just be sure to avoid hot water that can cause your mat to split or warp.

Can you use spray adhesive on Cricut mats?

After cleaning your mat several times, you will need to help it to regain its stickiness. So, using an adhesive spray will help you to be able to use your mat over and over.

What can you use to clean Cricut mats?

How to Clean a Cricut MatAs we’ve discussed above, there are numerous methods to clean a Cricut mat. You can use baby wipes, lint rollers, rubbing alcohol and adhesive remover. Just make sure that you use painter’s tape to protect the edges. This will help the mat to not slide around as you clean or restick the mat.

Whichever method you use, aim to find a product that does not contain additional oils or lotions. So, stick to plain dish soap, unscented wipes or a basic lint roller.

What happens if there is glue on the edge of a Cricut mat?

You need to be careful to avoid getting glue on the edges of your mat. Glue on the edges can get into the machine’s rollers. This can cause bumps as you feed the material through the machine. In a worst case scenario, the rollers may jam and damage your machine. So, it is vital that these rollers roll smoothly for the most accurate cuts.

If you do notice that you’ve got a little glue on the edges of your mat, use a little adhesive remover on a paper towel or q-tip to remove it.

Final thoughts

Cricut machines are a great tool for crafters. They can help you to get precise, clean cuts for all types of projects. One crucial part of your machine is the mat. Whatever color mat you’re using, it is important that the precision is not compromised by lint, dust or dirt. Therefore, cleaning the mat is vital.

Regular cleaning of your Cricut mat can help maintain precision and prolong the lifespan of your mat. While it may be possible to clear surface dust with baby wipes or a lint roller, eventually, you are likely to need to give the mat a good clean. So, it is important to know the right and wrong ways of how to clean a Cricut mat, how to dry it and restick it.

Once you get confident cleaning your Cricut mat, you can keep it serviceable. The process of cleaning can be done quickly and it is far cheaper than buying a new mat. Even if you need to purchase adhesive remover and glue sprays, you can keep them on hand for any cleaning and resticking tasks.

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