Cricut cutting mats are essential for your Cricut machine and craft projects. Similar to any product, they have a limited life. Before deciding your Cricut mats need replacing, try to clean them and make them sticky again.
Here is a guide on how to clean a Cricut mat and make it stick again.
What is a Cricut Mat?
A Cricut mat is a flat surface where you lay your material before feeding it into a cutting machine. All Cricut mats are flexible and have a sticky surface. The different stickiness levels of their surface determine how secure their grip is.
Stronger grip mats are for heavier materials and lighter grip mats for lightweight materials. It is important to have a Cricut cutting mat for your projects because it helps to stabilize your material.
What are the Different Types of Cricut Mats?
You will need a different Cricut mat depending on the material you are using, as it is important to select the right one, or you will have issues during or after cutting. For example, a thin material placed on a stronger grip mat will be almost impossible to separate after cutting. On the other hand, heavier materials won’t hold in place without strong grip mats and may shift during cutting.
Your cutting machine may identify the blade needed and the cutting mat required, but it is still a good idea to have a basic understanding of the various mats.
LightGrip (Blue Mat)
The blue LightGrip mat is for lightweight materials, such as thin cardstock, regular vinyl, construction paper, and normal paper.
StandardGrip (Green Mat)
The green StandardGrip map is for medium-weight materials, such as heat transfer vinyl (HTV), cardstock, and permanent or removable vinyl. This mat is the most common one and will come with some Cricut machines you purchase, such as the Cricut Joy.
StrongGrip (Purple Mat)
The purple StrongGrip mat is for heavy materials, such as thick cardstock, glitter cardstock, balsa, basswood, chipboard, poster board, and leather. For very heavy materials, such as basswood, you will also want to use painter’s tape to secure the material.
FabricGrip (Pink Mat)
The pink mat is the newest released mat and designed for cutting fabric. You can use it with bonded fabric or any other type of fabric when using the rotary blade and Cricut Maker machine. This mat gets dirty easily and requires the most care.
Card Mat (Cricut Joy Only)
The Card mat is specifically for insert cards. The Cricut Joy is only compatible with this mat, the LightGrip mat, and the StandardGrip mat.
How Do You Care for Your Cricut Mat?
Properly caring for your Cricut cutting mat can extend its life. Here are the different things you can do to preserve your cutting mat.
Use the protective cover
Cover your mat every time after you use it. New Cricut mats come with a transparent protective cover to protect the mat’s surface from dust and other elements. Make sure to keep this cover for storing your Cricut mats.
Use your mat with the right materials
By using the right material with the correct mat, you can prevent added wear and tear.
Remove materials carefully
It is important to remove the material from your mat carefully and patiently. If you rush it and aren’t careful, you can end up scratching the surface of your mat and ruining your project.
Clean your Cricut mat often
You should clean your Cricut mat to remove any debris left on it after a project. Proper cleaning will also help to prevent it from losing its stickiness too quickly. You can easily clean a mat with a lint roller or Cricut scraper tool after each use.
Let your mat air dry
After proper cleaning and before putting it away with the protective cover, make sure to let your mat air dry. It must be completely dry before you use it again, or the wet mat can ruin your material or the Cricut machine.
Do not use a hairdryer or any heat to dry your mat. Heat can cause your mat to warp or split, and it won’t fit in your Cricut machine anymore. It’s best to let it air dry by hanging it up or placing it in a dish rack.
Why Do You Need to Clean a Cricut Mat?
Cleaning your Cricut cutting mat can help make it look new again. A well-cared for mat will guarantee that your cuts are nice and smooth for all your projects. A Cricut cutting mat will lose its grip over time. Generally, a mat can last for 24 to 40 uses. However, regularly cleaning your Cricut mat will extend its life.
A clean Cricut mat ensures that any leftover debris doesn’t get on the next project or ruin your Cricut machine. Built-up materials on your mat can contribute to it losing its grip. Materials that leave debris include denim, glitter, leather, vinyl, and felt. Make sure you remove all small and large debris after each project.
How Do You Clean a Cricut Mat?
Cleaning your Cricut mat is the first step before making it sticky again. Sometimes after cleaning your mat, you may find it is still sticky, and you don’t even have to do the extra steps of resticking your Cricut mat. But if your mat is not as sticky as before, you may need to do a more thorough cleaning.
There are different cleaning methods, and some are more suitable for certain mat types. Each method can be categorized as light-duty, medium-duty, or heavy-duty. Make sure you use the right method for your mat. It is also best to start with a light-duty cleaning method before trying heavier ones.
The following cleaning tools/methods can work well for the LightGrip mat, StandardGrip mat, and StrongGrip mat:
- Scraper tool
- Lint roller
- Baby wipes
- Dish soap
- Goo Gone
- Adhesive removers
You can use a scraper tool as a light-duty cleaning method to remove large pieces of material or debris stuck to the mat. Gently pull the edge of the tool over the cutting mat’s surface. It can also remove small pieces of material and stray hair.
Lint rollers are also a light-duty cleaning method and can be used after every cut. They are great for removing small pieces of materials left on your mat. A lint roller can easily pick up glitter, small fabric, paper fibers, and small pieces of paper.
You can use baby wipes for light-duty cleaning. They are a cheap and easy way to clean a Cricut mat after every use. Apply gentle pressure to wipe the mat in a circular motion until the entire surface area is clean. Dirty mats may require 2 or 3 baby wipes. Make sure you purchase bleach-free baby wipes that are also:
Soapy water is an easy, medium-duty way to clean a Cricut mat at home. Although dish soap is best, you can also use lotion-free hand soap. The steps for cleaning are:
- Use dish soap and warm water to make a warm soapy water solution.
- Use a cloth, soft sponge, or magic eraser in soapy water to gently scrub the mat.
- Rinse well.
- Air dry your mat in a dish rack or by hanging it up. If you don’t let your mat air dry completely before using it, you can ruin your Cricut machine.
Make sure you don’t use hot water since heat can warp the Cricut mat. Also, avoid using a hard-bristled brush that can scratch the surface of your mat.
Goo Gone is considered a more hard-duty cleaning method, but it is one of the most popular and affordable ways to remove tough build-up on your mat. You can purchase Goo Gone as a wipe, in a bottle, or spray bottle.
If you purchase the Goo Gone in a bottle, drizzle a little bit of it onto the mat and use a paper towel to spread it around. Wait 15 minutes so the Goo Gone can settle before using a scraper to get all the residue off. Wash the mat to remove the rest of the Goo Gone and let the mat air dry completely.
If you are going to restick your Cricut mat, you can use an adhesive remover to clean it. An adhesive remover is a hard-duty cleaning method that will remove all the stickiness from your mat. It is best to try the other methods first before resorting to this one.
Types of adhesive removers you can use include:
- De-Solv-it Universal Stain Remover & Pre-Wash
- Awesome Spray
- 70% Isopropyl
Make sure to read the instructions carefully. For example, Awesome Spray requires you to dilute the solution in warm water first, even though it comes in a spray bottle.
Some people use paper towels and nail polish remover to clean the residue off their Cricut mats. However, this method can ruin the mat’s stickiness, so it is best to avoid this practice.
Cleaning the Cricut FabricGrip Mat
The pink FabricGrip mat requires a different cleaning method to those listed above. It has a special type of adhesive that is delicate and needs more care, so you want to avoid scraping or scratching it.
You can gently use a lint roller to pick up small fibers. You can also carefully use a tweezer to remove larger pieces of leftover material if you have to. Don’t use harsh cleaning sprays on this mat.
How Do You Restick a Cutting Mat?
If you clean your mat and the cutting mat isn’t sticky, you will want to restick your Cricut mat by adding a new adhesive. One of the easiest ways to restick a cutting mat is using a glue pen like the Zig 2-Way Glue Pen with the Jumbo tip. With this glue pen, no masking tape is required, and the glue goes on blue and turns clear when it dries, so you can make sure you applied an even layer.
The steps to restick your mat using a glue pen are as follows:
- Clean your mat thoroughly.
- Remove all the adhesive from your mat.
- Once your mat’s clean and dry, apply the glue using broad strokes, making sure it slides evenly.
- Immediately wipe off any excess adhesive glue on the edges of the mat.
- Allow 20 to 30 minutes for drying.
- If the mat is too sticky, press fabric on the surface to tone it down.
- Wait a few hours before placing the mat in its protective cover.
How Do I Make My Cricut Mat Sticky Again?
From sticky glue to sticky spray, there are different adhesives you can use to make a Cricut mat sticky again. For example, you can use basting spray or repositionable adhesive, sometimes called tacky glue or tacky spray. Options you can purchase include:
- Loctite and Krylon brand repositionable adhesive
- Aleene’s Tack it Over & Over
- Tacky Glue
Sticky sprays are messier than the glue stick, so you want to cover the edges of the mat with masking tape to protect them during spraying. Ensure you also follow the instructions, such as waiting 10 minutes for the spray adhesive to dry and stick onto the mat.
Sometimes resticking won’t work, and you may have to buy a new mat despite your best efforts.
Can I use spray adhesives on my Cricut mat?
Yes, you can use spray adhesives to restick cutting mats. Some of the best options for adhesive sprays are:
- Krylon Easy Tack Repositionable Adhesive Spray
- Zig Adhesive
- 3M Spray Adhesive
Will the Machine Warranty be Void After Resticking a Mat?
Resticking cutting mats will not affect your machine’s warranty as long as the mat wasn’t the cause of the failure. For example, if you get adhesive inside the cutting machine and cause cutting problems, the warranty will be void. However, unrelated problems, such as hardware failure, will still be under warranty.
Making your used Cricut mat stick again is possible. Sometimes all you have to do is give it a good cleaning, and the mat will be sticky again. Other times you may need to clean and restick your mat for more life. As an avid DIY Cricut fan, constant cleaning and resticking mats may help save you money on buying more Cricut mats.