Cleaning and sharpening Cricut blades is easy, and it can save you money. You will need to sharpen and clean your Cricut blades to ensure they make the best possible cuts on a variety of materials. Cricut blades quickly become blunt when you repeatedly cut paper, vinyl, and other materials.
Before we learn how to sharpen and clean Cricut blades, we need to talk about the parts of a Cricut blade.
Cricut Housing & Blade
Your Cricut blade comes in two parts, the housing and the blade.
The housing is built-in and will rarely need to be replaced. This is what holds your blade; it then gets clipped into your Cricut machine.
Your blades are separate pieces you place into the housing. Blades will need to be replaced when cleaning and sharpening cannot be completed. You can purchase just a pack of blades without the housing.
You have two choices when it comes to Cricut blades:
- Buy a replacement blade
- Clean and sharpen your blade
Both of these options have their pros and cons, but for the sake of this article, we are going to assume that you would rather clean and sharpen your Cricut blade.
Materials You Will Need To Clean & Sharpen Your Cricut Blades
The materials you will need to clean and sharpen your Cricut blades include:
- Your dull Cricut blades
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Soap and water
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton swabs
How to Sharpen & Clean Your Cricut Blades
The Crafty Edge shows us how to sharpen our Cricut blades.
Step 1: Remove the Cricut Blade
- Begin by unplugging your Cricut.
- Next, open your Cricut to view the area where your blades are clipped in. Release the housing and blade from the clip that keeps it in place when cutting.
- Now, gently press the top of the housing to release the blade. It may simply fall out, or you may need to remove it with your fingers. While the blade may be blunt, it can still cut, so be careful.
Step 2: Remove Visible Debris
- When you remove your Cricut blade, you will often see tiny pieces of vinyl or paper stuck to the blade. Using your tweezers, remove the large visible debris.
- You can also soak your blade in warm soapy water if you cannot get the debris removed. Dry your blade thoroughly before going to Step 3.
Step 3: Make a Small Ball of Aluminum Foil
- Tear a small piece of aluminum foil from the roll, and crunch it into a small ball. It does not need to be a tight ball, but not loose either.
Step 4: Sharpen the Blade
- To sharpen the blade, put it back into its housing, so it does not slip in your fingers.
- Once placed in the housing, stab the Cricut blade into the foil several times.
- You can then remove your blade once more from its housing to thoroughly clean the blade in warm soapy water.
Testing Your Sharpened Cricut Blade
After sharpening your Cricut blade, test the blade by using your Cricut to cut a simple shape, like a square or circle. Continue to sharpen it if you notice failed cuts or ripping.
How to Clean Your Cricut Blade with Rubbing Alcohol
You can use rubbing alcohol to clean a premium fine-point blade. The rubbing alcohol removes leftover adhesive from materials like sticker paper and vinyl. Be mindful that when you use rubbing alcohol on the blade, it won’t cause oxidation and rust as soap and water might do. The rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly, leaving your blade clean and dry.
Step 1: Remove the Cricut Blade
- Remove the Cricut blade from the housing by pressing the plunger on the top of the housing.
- Gently pull out the blade.
Step 2: Remove Visible Debris
- If you frequently cut sticky material, you can expect adhesive or other bits of material to be left behind on the blade. Remove the debris with tweezers.
Step 3: Wipe the Blade with Rubbing Alcohol
- Soak a piece of tissue, makeup pad, or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol.
- Gently wipe off the residue and replace the blade with the housing once it fully dries.
- Test your newly cleaned Cricut blade to ensure it is cutting smoother. You may need to clean your blade a few times to remove all debris and adhesive fully.
Sharpening & Cleaning Cricut Blades FAQ
Now that you have the basics of sharpening and cleaning Cricut blades down let’s answer some of your questions regarding your Cricut blades.
How Do I Know That My Cricut Blade is Blunt?
Some crafters work with a blade until they notice an issue with the blade’s performance. The following signs are an indication that you need to sharpen the blade:
- When the materials you are cutting tear or rip
- When you need to use a Xacto knife to finish the cuts
How Often Can I Sharpen My Cricut Blade?
The lifespan of your Cricut blade depends on the following factors:
- The materials you cut with the blade
- The type and quality of blade you are using
- The rate at which you use the blade
Sharpening your Cricut blade many times will jeopardize the structural shape of the blade. It may only be able to sharpen your blade 1-3 times before it needs to be replaced.
Can I Sharpen All Types of Cricut Blades?
You can sharpen the following Cricut blades using aluminum foil:
- Deep-point blades
- Fine-point blades
- Bonded fabric blades
- Wavy blades
- Knife blades
- Rotary blades
- Cricut Joy blades
Is It Worth Cleaning & Sharpening a Cricut Blade?
Choosing to clean and sharpen your Cricut blades will allow you to extend the life of your blades while maintaining the quality of cuts. Cleaning and sharpening your blades saves you money as you won’t need to purchase a new blade as often; this is especially true if you craft often.
How Do Cutting Materials Affect the Lifespan of a Cricut Blade?
The materials you use in your crafting projects impact the life span of every blade you use. Heavy and thick materials make the blade wear faster due to the pressure you must apply to get a clean cut. Even lighter-weight material can affect your blade if you cut often and quickly.
Cardstock & Paper
Cardstock and paper are fairly abrasive, and they dull the Cricut blade faster than other materials. The type of paper affects the sharpness of the blade. Thick cardstock like glitter cardstock can damage your blade due to the need for heavy pressure during the duration of the cut.
Permanent & Heat Transfer Vinyl
The adhesive and heat transfer vinyl have less impact on the sharpness of the Cricut blade. When using the vinyl material, you use less pressure and can move quickly. But the material with an adhesive component will leave a sticky residue, making your blade less functional and requiring more cleaning.
Faux-Leather & Specialty Materials
Specialty materials include poster boards, magnetic sheets, chipboard, and faux leather. These materials will dull your Cricut blade fast due to their thickness and repeated passes your machine has to make to cut out a piece.
Cricut projects require intricate details, and you cannot obtain a project’s full effect without a sharp blade. As a rule of thumb, it would be best to clean your blade every 3-5 cuts; even a simple removal and inspection can go a long way in ensuring your blades last a long time. Don’t let a dull and dirty blade have you cursing the crafting gods.