Do you remember that all those times your mom told you to look after your things and they’ll last longer? Turns out she was right all along.
After it became clear that we were going to be resigned to our homes for the foreseeable, thanks to the virus-that-shall-not-be-named, I got myself a Cricut machine. And boy, have I had my money’s worth out of it! I’ve made postcards, bookmarks, iron-on adhesives for t-shirts, and have even worked up to making things out of thin balsa wood.
Because the Cricut is getting so much use right now, it means that my Cricut cutting mats are taking a hit. The Cricut mats are the vital cutting mats that you place your material on, and they have a slightly sticky surface to ensure the material you’re cutting doesn’t move during the cutting process.
They’re supposed to last between 25 and 40 uses, but that can mean a pretty pricy hobby. You can get so much more wear out of your fabricgrip mat simply by cleaning it, and this article is going to tell you how to clean the Cricut mat so you can extend its life, and make your crafting bank account go much further.
How do you Clean a Cricut Mat?
Each kind of Cricut cutting mat has a different level of stickiness on its surface so this will determine the approach that you take when you clean your Cricut mat. There four different colors of Cricut cutting mat, and they are:
- Blue for LightGrip
- Green for StandardGrip
- Purple for StrongGrip
- Pink for FabricGrip
What You’ll Need
Essentially, you’re not trying to add strength to the stickiness of your Cricut mat. That’s because the pink mat has come with a specific amount of glue for its strength of grip. You wouldn’t expect a LightGrip Cricut map to hold a piece of leather, for example. Instead, you want to restore the stickiness level the mat had before.
The items needed to maintain and clean a Cricut cutting mat are easily found around the house. You won’t need every single one of these items, but they’re all handy to keep close so you can clean your Cricut cutting mat at a moment’s notice.
So, keep handy:
- The protective cover that comes with your Cricut cutting mats
- A pair of tweezers (and consider a Cricut plastic scraper)
- A lint roller
- Some alcohol-free baby wipes
- Warm water
- Dish soap
- LA’s Totally Awesome (or similar all-purpose cleaner)
There’s a reason these items have been put in their particular order. Start at the top and work your way down this list. You might find that your Cricut mat regains stickiness after the first three or four steps, and you can get back to crafting. Or you might need a little more care.
1 – Protect Before it Wrecks
You can save yourself a lot of trouble by simply using the protective covers that come with the cutting mats. You’ll stop everyday dust and dirt from getting onto the adhesive, so it’ll stay sticky for longer.
2 – Use Tweezers for the Big Pieces
One trick to extend the life of your Cricut cutting mat is to simply take a little-and-often approach.
All of the different materials cut using your Cricut cutting machine will leave behind some debris, either large or microscopic. By staying on top of this debris, you’ll be saving yourself plenty of headaches in the long run.
For example, after each use, remove large pieces of debris from your Cricut cutting mat with a pair of tweezers, but be careful not to use too much force, as that will push the debris into the sticky adhesive further.
You can purchase a specially designed plastic scraper(Cricut scraper) for this purpose, too. Cricut makes their own, and it can be a very handy scraper tool as it’s less likely to scrape too far down that you remove the adhesive altogether but it’s not vital.
For smaller spots, try using a slightly damp magic eraser. It’s one of the gentler but more focused ways to spot clean a Cricut mat. You don’t need lots of water; let the magic eraser do the work, then let the stronggrip mat air dry. This last bit’s vital! Water is not a cutting machine’s friend.
3 – Lint Rollers are Your New Friends
For smaller dirt and dust particles that have reduced stickiness, run a clean lint roller over the cutting mat. We cannot stress the clean part enough. Peel a new layer off the lint roller otherwise you’ll be transferring pet hair, your own hair, and all kinds of dirt onto the cutting mat when you’re trying to get the dirt off it.
4 – A Baby Wipe a Day
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a baby. Baby wipes are one of the world’s greatest inventions anyway. And they’re particularly good at cleaning a Cricut mat. It’s also pretty therapeutic, to sit and gently clean your Cricut mat, one square at a time, removing lint, dust, and fluff until it’s the pink fabricgrip mat is sticky again.
Is it just me who finds it therapeutic? Surely not. I do have friends. Honest.
5 – Good Ol’ Soap and Water
Warm water and dish soap are the equivalents of ‘turn it off, then on again.’ A little dish soap and water on a paper towel provides an immediate spot clean, but running a Cricut mat under lukewarm water for a minute or so won’t damage it.
There’s no need to scrub, either. In fact, you’ll remove the adhesive gum paste if you rub too hard. Instead, small, gentle circles of your lukewarm water and soap will be enough to clear away dirt and debris. Once you’re done, you should put your new mat into the dish rack and let it sit to air dry.
The surface of the sticky mat must be allowed to air dry completely before you use it again. Using a wet mat will damage your materials and could even put your Cricut machine out of commission completely.
6 – Keep Your Mat Clean with a Cleaner
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive cleaning materials but something as simple as LA’s Totally Awesome is easily found at the dollar store and will remove all kinds of residue from your Cricut mats without causing them any damage.
Can I use Windex to Clean my Cricut Mat?
You should stay away from using cleaning materials like Windex to clean a restick Cricut mat as strong chemicals can not just remove dirt but remove the adhesive too.
Windex is great for cleaning the protective cover that sits over your Cricut mat so by all means use it for that, and put a clean cover back on a clean mat!
How do you Clean Cricut Mats with Baby Wipes?
Always use baby wipes that are alcohol-free. Anything with alcohol can work as an adhesive remover, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid when cleaning your Cricut mat. After all, you want adhesive to stay on the Cricut mat surfaces, not be removed! So no rubbing alcohol, either.
So baby wipes or wet wipe are fine, as long as you use alcohol-free ones. Take a baby wipe and give the mat a light cleaning, and then always make sure the mat is dry before using again before use in the Cricut cutting machine once more.
How Often Should you Clean your Cricut Mat?
Knowing how often to clean your mat is like asking how often you should polish your shoes. It’s all about how often they’re used.
If you use your mats often for crafting, you’ll want to make sure you stay one step ahead of the cleaning. Work your way through to step three of the above list every time you use your Cricut mats, and keep going if the dirt needs some extra work.
How to Make a Cricut Mat Sticky Again
Even if you’ve tried all the cleaning methods and now have a squeaky clean Cricut cutting mat, it might still be that the adhesive has simply lost its stickiness. This still doesn’t mean you have to throw it away: instead, you can restick your mat yourself.
First, make sure that you’re in a well-ventilated area (this is an important step!). Then, put painter’s tape around the edges of the mat, before spraying the mat with an awesome spray adhesive all over the surface. An adhesive spray will breathe new life into your Cricut mats and you’ll soon be back to your crafting ways.
It’s important to use the painter’s transfer tape around the edges of the fabric mat but if you do happen to get the adhesive spray any place you shouldn’t, use a solvent like Goo Gone. It’s always handy to have Goo Gone in the house anyway because it’s great at removing all kinds of adhesive, paint, and gum and is surface friendly.
When it’s Time to Admit Defeat
Crafting can be an expensive hobby but by using the tips in the article you should really be able to cut down on your crafting purchases. Crafting is often about reusing seemingly useless items and a Cricut mat is a great example of how a little care and sometimes can make an old dirty Cricut mat seem like new.
That doesn’t mean your Cricut mats will last forever so even when you’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the mat, it might be time to invest in some new ones.
I really hope this has helped guide you in how to clean your mat so it gives you plenty more crafting hours! If you’ve enjoyed this post or you have a question about anything in this article, please let me know in the comments below.