Inside: How to clean cricut mats easily & make them sticky
When I first started using my Cricut mat it was really sticky – to the point that sometimes I had a struggle to get the paper or card off it again! After a few projects I noticed it was starting to get less sticky though (which was better) and then it eventually lost all stickiness altogether.
Cricut mats are covered in a thin layer of adhesive that allows you to place your projects on top without fear of them moving during a cut or print. Cleaning with a baby wipe or dish soap after every 2-4 cuts, you can prolong the life of your mat and save you money.
I thought the solution was to put up with it and use washi tape to stick my projects to the mat. But good news – there IS another way and it is super simple.
Looking after your Cricut cutting mat
Whether you have the Cricut Maker, the Cricut Air or the Joy, each of them come with sticky cutting mats so you can position your project materials ready to print, cut and draw. You need a clean Cricut mat to be able to achieve this as dust and debris from the environment can reduce the effectiveness of the mat.
There are also various mats available, each suitable for different materials and projects.
There are a few ways that you can look after your mat in between washes that will help preserve the adhesive coating and save you buying a new mat every five minutes.
- Replace the protective cover after use.
Each mat comes with a plastic protective cover. By replacing it after each use, you prevent any floating debris from attaching itself to the sticky surface.
- Use a lint roller after using any particularly messy materials such as glitter vinyl.
Some materials such as glitter, wood (splinters) or felt can be particularly messy. A lint roller will gently remove the excess from the mat. Note: Make sure you use the correct mat for each project.
- Use tweezers to remove small pieces from the mat.
Sometimes you will get larger pieces stuck on the surface. Removing them promptly will mean you can replace the protective cover securely.
- Avoid using the plastic scraper (or old credit card) to scrape the surface too harshly.
Of course it is a good idea to use the scraper to remove any excess material, but doing so too harshly may weaken the adhesive surface.
It isn’t just your Cricut mat that needs regular maintenance. Make sure to look after your Cricut machine too – giving it a dust over, a wipe down and checking on the blade regularly.
How often should you clean your mat?
Cricut state that the mats should last up to 50 uses before it starts to wear out. But this number is entirely dependent on how well you look after it in between those times. You should be looking to clean your mat every 2-4 uses and of course, be doing everything stated above after each and every use.
If you are use your Cricut often, you’ll need to clean it more regularly than someone that uses it for light arts and crafts.
Levels of cleaning will also depend on the type of material you are working with – glitter being very mess to paper stock being relatively clean to work with.
Best way to clean your Cricut Mat
If you look on Google you’ll find various YouTube videos showing you how to clean your mats. However, some of these are not endorsed by Cricut nor are they actually effective.
People suggest using various cleaning products – I even saw someone mention using a magic eraser. However, as much as they may have worked for those people, they are not the best (or even the easiest) ways to rejuvenate your sticky mat.
NOTE: The two methods described below will work for the blue mat, the Green mat, and the purple StrongGrip mat. If you have the Pink mat then you will have to use a slightly different method which I will cover further down.
Light cleaning with a baby wipe
You must make sure you are using alcohol-free baby wipes so as not to remove any of the adhesive layer.
First of all, use the scraper to gently scrape off any small pieces of material that are stick stuck to the mat.
Next, take a baby wipe and use circular motions to gently wipe off any dust and small debris that has accumulated on the surface of your mat.
Leave it to air dry before using it again.
Medium cleaning with dish soap
Again, you must remove any remaining pieces of material on the mat using tweezers or the scraper tool.
The first thing you want to do is grab yourself a small brush and a bowl of soapy water (dish soap is best). You want to use lukewarm water too so as not to overheat the adhesive surface.
Then you want to dip the brush into the water and use a circular motion to gently scrub at the entire surface of the mat.
The next step is to air dry until the entire mat is dry again. It will look as though all of the stick has disappeared but I promise you, once it has dried it will return again.
NOTE: It is important to let the mat air dry and not to use a paper towel or drying cloth. Otherwise you will cover the adhesive in fibres and dust once again.
Each cleaning process is so quick and simple and is a great way to extend the life of your mat. The sticky surface will return once the mat is dry and be ready for your next project!
How to clean the pink fabric mat
The pink mat is for cutting fabric and so has a different type of adhesive to the other mats for other types of project.
It is very delicate and so you cannot use baby wipes or brushes to clean the surface of the mat. You must instead use tweezers and very gently remove any excess material that gets stuck to the surface.
How to make your mat sticky again
You may find that eventually cleaning your mat does not do the tricky anymore. You are then left with two options; buy a new Cricut mat or try to use an adhesive spray to cover the mat in a new layer.
NOTE: Cricut does not endorse the respraying of their mats and doing so will void your warranty.
You would also have to buy adhesive remover (to remove any residual adhesive from the original coating) so it is worth checking to see whether it is something that would actually work before doing something that may potentially break your Cricut machine.
How to use adhesive spray:
- Clean off any debris and then use adhesive remover to remove any residual coating.
- Once it is completely dry, use masking tape or painter’s tape to tape up the edges of the mat (you only need the centre to be sticky).
- Spray on the new adhesive.
- Leave it to dry for the time stated on the can.
Personally, I do not like the risk so I would be inclined to buy a new mat. If you know you’ll be doing a lot of projects then it is worth buying these in bulk.
I hope you’ve found this post useful. Let me know how you get on!
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