Learn how to clean a Cricut mat! When it comes to crafting using a Cricut cutting machine, regular encounters with cutting mats that are no longer sticky becomes part of the routine. However, you don't just have to trash a mat when it becomes non-sticky.
This post will tell you how to clean a Cricut mat and make them sticky ready to start cutting again.
How to Clean a Cricut Mat Tutorial
What is the Purpose of Cricut Mats?
Cricut mats are used with the cutting machines for holding in place materials such as vinyl, paper, card and fabric. These mats are sticky, and the more stickiness, the more secure their grip on the cutting material.
Generally, stickier mats with stronger grips are used with heavier cutting materials such as thick card stock, while mats with lighter grips are used with lightweight materials such as vinyl.
These machine mats are necessary to hold your material in place with the help of their adhesive area. You can remove the material once you are done cutting.
Why You Need to Clean Cricut Mats
Not only are dirty Cricut mats unpleasant to look at, but they also get in the way of you making sharp and perfect cuts. This happens because a mat that is no longer sticky cannot securely hold the material or fabric in its place, preventing the blade from cutting it thoroughly and neatly.
Little bits of debris on your mat can cause the cutting blade to bump and make cuts that are not as neat. You will be amazed at how well the material sticks once you remove the extra scraps, debris, lint, and dust off your mat.
Mat cleaning is a cheap and easy solution to make it sticky again and ready for reuse. Best of all it should only take 10 minutes!
How Often Should You Clean Your Cricut Mat?
There isn't a hard and fast rule. It really depends on how much you use your machine. If you use it frequently, clean it after every few cuts.
Cutting heavy materials such as wood, glitter vinyl or glitter paper and leather may mean your mat needs cleaning much sooner than that.
CLEANING RULE: When your mat isn't sticking well, then you should clean it.
Whenever you have trouble making intricate cuts with card stock, vinyl, or cutting materials, it is best to start by checking whether your cutting mat is clean enough and if the cutting blade is sharp enough.
Most times, doing just this should sort out the problem.
Supplies Needed to Clean Cricut Mats
Some supplies needed in the mat cleaning process are:
- FOR LIGHT CLEANING - Alcohol-free baby wipes .
- FOR MEDIUM CLEANING - Gentle dish washing detergent.
- FOR HEAVY CLEANING - LA Awesome Cleaner Spray available from online and the Dollar Store.
- Paper towels for drying.
- Cricut plastic scraper tool, tweezers or lint rollers depending on the mat.
What is Awesome Cleaner? Awesome is the brand name of a USA-made cleaner that cleans and degreases.
DO NOT USE - Proper cleaning of the mat should make it sticky again, so avoid the use of adhesives such as painter's tape, spray adhesive, or glue.
The 4 Types of Cricut Mats
In choosing a mat, you need to first check which mat is compatible with your Cricut machine and your intended material.
There are 4 different Cricut machine mats:
- Fabric Grip Machine Mat (PINK)
- Light Grip Machine Mat (BLUE)
- Standard Grip Machine Mat (GREEN)
- Strong Grip Machine Mat (PURPLE)
The four mats have varying gripping strengths. Since these mats are color-coded, it is quick and easy to determine which mat to use for your materials.
Let's discuss each of them in some detail:
Fabric Grip Cricut Mat (Pink)
- FEATURES - The pink grip mat features a higher density and strength combination to withstand the increased pressure needed to cut fabrics. It has a light adhesive surface to hold all types of fabric.
- BLADES - While using your Fabric Grip Mat, you can pair it with a Rotary Blade or Bonded-Fabric Blade.
- SIZES - For the Explorer and Maker, the mat is available in 12 in x 12 in (30.4 cm x 30.4 cm) and 12 in x 24 in (30.4 cm x 60.9 cm). There is no pink mat for the Joy.
Light Grip Cricut Mat (Blue)
- FEATURES - The blue mat is great for use with lightweight materials such as office paper, vellum, light card stock, and more.
- SIZES - For the Explorer and Maker, it is available in 12 in x 12 in (30.4 cm x 30.4 cm) and 12 in x 24 in (30.4 cm x 60.9 cm). For the Joy, the blue mat comes in 4.5” x 12” (11.4 cm x 30.4 cm)
Standard Grip Cricut Mat (Green)
- FEATURES - The green cutting mat works perfectly with patterned paper, cardstock, embossed card stock, iron-on vinyl, permanent and removable vinyl, and infusible ink sheets. It is the most commonly used mat.
- SIZES - For the Explorer and Maker, it is available in 12 in x 12 in (30.4 cm x 30.4 cm) and 12 in x 24 in (30.4 cm x 60.9 cm). For the Cricut Joy, green mats come in 4.5” x 6.5” (11.4 cm x 16.5 cm) and 4.5” x 12” (11.4 cm x 30.4 cm).
Strong Grip Cricut Mat (Purple)
- FEATURES -The purple mat is very sticky and has a stronger grip, making it a great choice for using with heavyweight materials like cardboard, leather, suede, chipboard, glitter card stock, and even stiff fabric.
- BLADES - Most of these heavier materials will need to be paired with the knife blade and the Cricut Maker series.
- SIZES - For the Explorer and Joy, it comes in 12 in x 12 in (30.4 cm x 30.4 cm) and 12 in x 24 in (30.4 cm x 60.9 cm). There is no purple mat for the Joy.
How to Clean a Cricut Mat Step by Step
While having to clean a Cricut mat might seem like quite a task to you, it is quite simple. At most, it should take 10 minutes of your time and not cost very little. Once you have the supplies on hand, they should get you through multiple mat cleaning sessions.
The key steps in cleaning a Cricut mat are:
- Remove any vinyl or material with the scraper.
- Soak or wipe the mat.
- Dry the mat.
Step 1 - Remove Excess Debris
Start off by removing the larger bits of debris from the mat. What you use to remove any excess debris will depend on the color of the mat.
How to Clean the Blue and Green Mats
Use a Cricut scraper to remove the larger pieces of debris from the cutting mat. You can also use the edge of a gift card or an old credit card to scrap off any debris from the Cricut mat.
How to Clean Purple Mats
Purple mats tend to collect more debris since they are used to cut heavier materials such as wood and leather. Instead of scraping, use tweezers to remove larger particles. Scraping should be avoided since it can embed pieces into the mat.
How to Clean the Pink Cricut Mat
The pink FabricGrip mat has a special adhesive, unlike the other three Cricut cutting mats. The pink mat is made for cutting fabric. Therefore, its delicate adhesive needs to be cleaned and dealt with care.
Instead of scraping, use a lint roller or tweezers.
While cleaning this mat, be careful and try not to scrape or scratch it. If the debris won't come off any other way, carefully use a tweezer tool.
Step 2 - Soak or Wipe the Mat
Depending on how dirty the mat is, you need to either soak or simply wipe it clean.
There are 3 ways to clean or soak the mat depending on how dirty it is.
- Light Cleaning - Use baby wipes
- Medium Cleaning - Use dishwashing detergent
- Heavy Cleaning - Use Awesome cleaner
How to Clean a Cricut Mat with Baby Wipes
Using baby wipes to gently wipe the surface of the mat is probably the easiest way to clean it. It is also a safe way, as it won't damage the adhesive on the mat. However, be careful to pick alcohol-free baby wipes.
All you need to do is use the wipe in a circular motion until you have cleaned the entire adhesive surface. Depending on how much dirt there is on the mat, you may need to use 2 or 3 wipes.
Make sure to only apply gentle pressure so that you don't scratch the adhesive off.
How to Clean a Cricut Mat with Dish Detergent
You can always use dish soap paired with warm water to clean the mat. Be careful to pick a mild dish soap for best results, and not a hand soap that will contain lotion, oils, or harsh chemicals.
Depending on the color of the mat, you would have already removed larger debris using a scraper (green and blue mat), tweezers (purple mat), or lint roller (pink mat).
Lay the mat down on a flat waterproof surface and use a clean dishcloth or a soft brush to gently scrub the surface of the mat with the detergent and warm water. There is a risk of removing the adhesive if you scrub too harshly so go gently.
How to Clean a Cricut Mat with Awesome Spray
Personally, I don't recommend this method as it can remove the adhesive, but many say it works really well for them.
CAUTION: Sometimes, this spray can actually remove the stickiness, so always test a small section in the corner of your mat first. Do not use this spray on a pink mat.
- Spray some LA Awesome spray onto the mat and allow it to soak for a few minutes.
- If you are using the green, blue, or purple mat, then you can gently use a scraper tool on it. Don't scrape too hard.
Step 3 - Dry the Mat
Lastly, pat dry the cutting mat and wipe off the excess liquid on it with wipes or a paper towel. Use something that doesn't leave lint.
Allow the mat to air dry and keep it out of the sun. Replace the clear plastic cover.
The mat should now be clean and sticky again. You can make the stickiness of the mat last longer with regular cleanings, especially if you do a lot of cutting.
How Do I Make my Cricut Mats Sticky Again?
Cricut mats lose their stickiness when they become dirty and covered with different forms of debris. To make the mats sticky again, you simply need to clean them.
You don't need to use any kind of adhesives to make them sticky again. Simply use regular, alcohol-free baby wipes or dish detergent to clean the mat.
While using wipes, just wipe off the mats in a gentle and circular motion. Once all the debris is off, the mat should be perfectly sticky again and ready for use.
Some articles suggest spraying some kind of spray adhesive on old mats, but this is not recommended by Cricut and may void your warranty. If your mat has lost all its stickiness, it is better to buy a new mat.
Keeping Your Cricut Mat Clean in the Future
Having your mats clean is important when you are a frequent Cricut cutter.
It's best to not excessively touch the mats, use cover mats on them to avoid dirt and dust particles falling on and sticking onto the mat while not in use, and clean them regularly.
Here is what you can do to keep the mats clean:
- Make sure to replace the plastic protector sheet: Cricut mats come with a clear protective sheet, and you can continue using this protector to keep your mat cleaner by covering the mat with it. However, if the protector gets dirty, do not use it without cleaning or replacing it. To clean it, you can use baby wipes, Windex on a paper towel, or Awesome spray.
- Use the right mats for the right material: Each mat is recommended for a certain type of material; the LightGrip mat is for delicate materials such as papers, the FabricGrip mat is for fabric, and the StrongGrip mat is for heavy materials such as card stock. Using the correct mat will prevent it from getting too dirty as it is specifically designed for that material.
- Clean the mats regularly: The more regular you are in cleaning your mat, the smoother Cricut cutting will be for you. You can use a lint roller, scraper, or even the edge of an old bank card or plastic gift card to scrape off debris from the surface of the mat.
When Should you Replace your Cricut mats?
If kept with care, most mats should last for up to 50 uses. However, the accurate answer to this depends on how frequently you use your cutting machine and what you are cutting. Moreover, different Cricut mats vary in the amounts of adhesive they have.
If the mat is no longer sticky after cleaning, it is time to replace it.
How to Clean a Cricut Mat FAQs
Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions by users when it comes to cleaning Cricut mats. I hope these help you in achieving a clean and sticky mat.
Can you clean a Cricut mat with baby wipes?
Yes, baby wipes are an easy and cheap way to clean Cricut mats.
Can I use Windex to clean my Cricut mat?
You can use Windex to clean the mat, but if it is too dirty, it might not do a whole lot. Instead, try wiping with alcohol-free baby wipes in gentle circular motions.
How do you make Cricut mats last longer?
The surest way to make the Cricut mats last longer is to clean them regularly.
Can I use spray adhesive on my Cricut mat?
You can, but it is better to avoid a messy spray adhesive and just try cleaning the mat with dish detergent or baby wipes instead.
How to Clean a Cricut Mat - In Conclusion
Who knew it would be this simple to learn how to clean a Cricut mat and make it sticky again? Now that you know how to do it, clean the mats regularly to make them last.
More Cricut Articles
If you want to learn more about your Cricut machine, here are some more articles to read:
- Cutting Vinyl with a Cricut - Step by Step for Beginners
- What is a Cricut Machine? Ultimate Buying Guide
- How to Use a Cricut Machine - Made Easy for Beginners
How to Clean a Cricut Mat
- Plastic Cricut Scraper
- Lint Roller
- Alcohol Free Baby Wipes or Mild Dish Washing Detergent.
- Paper Towels
- Cricut Mat
- REMOVE DEBRIS - For blue and green mats, use the plastic scraper. For pink mats use a lint roller. And for purple mats, use tweezers to remove large debris.
- WASH OR WIPE - For light cleaning, wipe the mat with alcohol free baby wipes in a circular motion. For heavier cleaning, use a mild dishwashing detergent and a sponge to gently clean the mat. Rinse.
- DRY - Pat dry with a paper towel and leave to air dry flat in the shade.
- COVER - Relace the plastic cover on the mat.