Cricuts are amazing machines. You can have so much fun with them and create things that look incredibly professional, and they eliminate a lot of mess.
If you have used your Cricut machine at all, you will know that you need to keep the mat as clean as possible to get the best result you can.
Because of this, it is incredibly important to know how to clean your Cricut mat properly, and keep it in the best condition you can.
Today, we are going to take a look at how you should clean your Cricut mat, and keep it looking and functioning its best.
What is a Cricut Machine?
These machines are incredible. They are a digital die-cutting machine that can be used to cut a number of materials for crafts. You have seen those cute labelled and personalized champagne glasses, right?
Well, you can do those using the Cricut machine! Anything you can think of, you can do with a Cricut machine. From intricate designs to cool pen work, you can let your creativity run free with these 3D projects and cards.
You can use card stock, paper, iron-on transfers, and even vinyl, wood, and leather for some designs! The aim of the game is precision, and this machine can do anything you throw at it, no matter now intricate.
Types of Cricut Machines
There are loads of different Cricut machines to choose from. The three main types include the Cricut Joy, Cricut Maker 3, and the Cricut Explore 3.
Each of these machines have different selling points, but they are well worth the money if you are a lover of crafts.
To decide which Cricut would suit your needs and preferences, take a look at some in-depth reviews and comparisons. Once you know the basics, you can pick the one that is best for you!
The mat on a Cricut machine plays a very important role in the whole crafting process.
When you are creating anything with the machine, the mat is the one thing that will keep everything in place as it gets cut up and refined.
A lot of people probably throw their mats away when they feel them beginning to get gross, but you don’t need to!
These machines can have four different types of cutting mats, and each of them have a different adhesive level. Depending on the material you are cutting, a different mat may be used.
Generally, the Green StandardGrip Mat is the most common and popular. However, everyone will have their own preferences and needs for mats, depending on what they prefer to use their machine for.
On average, a Cricut mat will last for anywhere between 40-50 uses before you start to notice it getting worse for wear.
Nothing will last forever, and while the mats do gradually wear out as it gets used over and over, you can still extend its life.
What Does the Cricut Mat Do?
The Cricut mat holds the material in place as it cuts it up. If there was no mat, the material would just move around and the designs would be a mess.
Because of this, ensuring that your Cricut machine’s mat stays sticky is very important. Materials are not the cheapest, and the moment the mat isn’t sticky enough to hold it, that material will go to waste.
What Should it Feel Like?
Cricut mats should feel sticky. The mats are typically made of rubber, but could be made of other materials. If your mat no longer feels tacky, it is either time to clean it or get a new one, depending on how many times you have used it.
Cleaning Your Cricut Mat
Your Cricut mat should be cleaned after every 2 – 4 uses, but this can depend on the types of materials you use.
If you use materials that will leave debris behind on the mat (such as leather, felt, glitter vinyl or denim), you might have to clean it more often.
Smoother materials like card stock and regular vinyl can be used more frequently and fewer cleanings will be needed between uses.
The moment you notice your Cricut mat isn’t holding your materials like it should, you need to clean it.
There are several easy things you can do to make sure that your Cricut mat stays in good condition. These things include the following:
- Make use of the clear protective sheet – when you buy a Cricut, it will come with a clear protective sheet over the mat. This is there to make the tackiness of the mat last longer by stopping debris and everything else from touching it. As long as you always remember to place the protective sheet back onto the mat, it will last a pretty long time. Even if you are planning on doing numerous projects in a short time, placing the protective sheet over the mat will extend its life. If your plastic sheet gets dirty, you can use something like a baby wipe to clean it effectively.
- Use the scraper regularly – there is a Cricut scraper tool you can use to scrape the mat when it gets dirty. If you do not have this scraper, you can use something like a plastic gift card and scrape off everything from the cutting mat. All you need to do is scrape the edge of the card across the Cricut mat’s surface, and the scrap pieces should come off easily.
- Get the right mat for the corresponding material – depending on the type of material you are using for your projects, you will need to change the type of mat you are using. For delicate paper, you should use the LightGrip Mat. For the heavy-duty materials like wood, the StrongGrip mat is best. Like the name suggests, if you are using any kind of fabric for your project, you should use the FabricGrip mat to stop the fabric from being damaged.
If you have regularly been keeping your mats in good condition, you will still have to clean them at some point. This is pretty easy, and you don’t need any kind of special equipment.
Chances are, you already have everything you need to do a good job right at home. To clean your Cricut mats, you will probably need:
- Lint roller
- Dish brush
- Alcohol-free baby wipes
- Cricut scraper tool (or a plastic card)
- Dish soap
- Awesome Cleaning spray
There are a couple of different cleaning methods you can use, depending on your Cricut mat. It is important to always use the right materials for these, or else you could end up cuttings its life short.
Instead of spending more money on Cricut mats, try to take care of the ones you have for as long as possible. Over time, you could end up spending a lot of unnecessary money if you don’t.
Gentle Cleaning Methods Include:
- Lint roller – if you have used materials with glitter, small pieces of paper, or anything else that you can see stuck on the mat, try using the lint roller. All you need to do is roll it on the mat’s surface to pick up any bits of debris. This might not work to get a 100% clean mat, but it is great for anything that will easily come off.
- Scraper– any leftover material that is stuck to the mat can just be scraped off using the scraper (or plastic card). Using the tool should result in whatever is stuck on the mat being dislodged. This method works great for scraping off fuzz, hair, or anything else that gets in your way.
- Baby wipes – this affordable option is super easy and non-damaging. To do this, make sure you have alcohol-free wipes, and just wipe the mat with them in a circular motion. Depending on how dirty the mat is, you might need more than one baby wipe. Before you use the mat again, make sure that it air dries fully, then it will be ready. Never use any heat on it, and do not wipe or else fibers will get stuck to the adhesive. Just stand it up vertically and leave it alone to dry.
Cleaning methods with a little more oomph:
- Dish soap for cleaning – if your Cricut mat has some dirt that is a little more stubborn, get out the (mild) dish soap. Use this with some warm water, and gently wash the mat using a clean dishcloth or soft brush. All you need to do is gently scrub its surface using circular motions until it is clean. Like with the baby wipes, you will need to leave the mat to air dry completely before using it. Do not use any cloths or paper towels on it, or more stuff will get stuck to the adhesive.
Cleaning the Cricut cat that refuses to become clean:
- Awesome spray – chances are, you will never have to use this, but if you do – be careful. If your Cricut mat refuses to get clean after using soap and water, this is your last option. To do this, you will need to spray the mat and leave it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Once the time has passed, use a scraper tool or squeegee to get the residue off the mat (do this very carefully). If you manage to get the map clean, leave it to air dry. Again – do not wipe or use heat on the mat.
Cleaning the Pink Cricut Mat
If you work with fabrics a lot with your Cricut machine, you will be using your pink mat a lot. Since this mat has a different type of adhesive, you will need to be very delicate with it.
Ideally, you should avoid scratching and scraping the pink mat, and instead use a hair of tweezers to gently remove any leftover material.
You should NEVER use the cleaning spray on these kinds of mats, or you will destroy them.
Felt is possibly the worst thing to have to clean off mats, and that goes for both the pink and the green mats. The best option for anyone who loves to work with felt is to get one mat that they can dedicate to that material.
Trying to clean a Cricut mat after using felt every time will result in nothing but pain and stress. However, if you cannot dedicate a mat to the cause, you can try using freezer paper to spare it.
Stick the paper side onto the mat, then the felt will hopefully stay in place as the machine does its work. When you are done cutting felt, you just need to peel the freezer paper off, and a clean mat will be revealed!
Making the Cricut Mat Sticky
This sounds like it is backwards, but in cleaning your mat, you are making it sticky again. Since the mat needs to be sticky to hold the materials, have a non-sticky mat would be useless.
Remember, though, if your mat is past its prime (aka has been used more than 50 times), it might just be time to get a new one.
There are often very affordable options for buying Cricut mats, and they often come in multipacks.
You can, of course, try to make the mat sticky again on your own, but you need to process with caution.
By adding other substances to the mat, you do run the risk of breaking your machine because of the excess adhesive.
You need to figure out if this is worth the risk, because chances are, the Cricut machine’s warranty will not cover this. If you want to be safe, the best option is just to buy a new mat and keep your machine safe.
DIY Cricut Mat Re-Stick
If you do want to go ahead and try to re-stick your mat on your own, the method will be outlined below. Again, do this at your own risk. There is a chance that it will have a negative impact on your machine.
- Get rid of any debris and scraps left on the mat and clean it with one of the gentle cleaning methods outlined further up.
- Tape off the mat’s edges to prepare it for the new adhesive you are going to apply.
- It is best to use something like blue painter’s take or masking take to do this.
- Carefully apply the new adhesive (such as Spray n Bond Basting Adhesive). Follow the instructions printed on the can and apply the adhesive to the mat.
- Allow the mat to dry for around 10-15 minutes
You’ve reached the end! If you have a Cricut machine and have used any of these methods for cleaning the mat, how did they work for you?
Even if you don’t have a Cricut machine and are interested in getting one, do you think you will? You will be surprised by how much you can do with these machines, and if you have some money to splurge on one, it’s a great purchase!
If you love crafts, making things, and being creative, there will be nothing that you won’t like about the machine.
Hopefully this post helped you, and you now feel better equipped to clean your Cricut mats, whichever type they are. Happy crafting!
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