Learn how to clean Cricut mats and which method works the best. We’ll be comparing baby wipes, Awesome spray, Windex, and more!
One of the questions I get asked the most is how to clean your Cricut mats so I finally decided to write a post and make a YouTube video all about it!
Cricut mats on average last about 3-6 months but you can extend the life of your mat by cleaning it every so often. It really is amazing what happens when you get all the extra debris, scraps, lint, dog hair, and dust off your mat!
If you are having problems with small intricate cuts especially with vinyl and cardstock, the first two places I always start with are making sure my blade is sharp and clean and then making sure my mat is clean.
Having little bumps of stuff in the adhesive of your mat can cause the blade to bump and not cut all the way through and sometimes your material can move if there is not enough grip.
I have my favorite way for cleaning mats to make them sticky again, but I wanted to test out a few others I had heard about.
So I am going to go through what I found out when testing wipes, the Magic Eraser, Dawn, Awesome Spray, and Windex, and what I decided to use on standard grip (green mat), light grip (blue mat), and strong grip mats (purple mat) that work with a Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore Air family!
The cleaning process for the pink mat is different, and I have a special note about how to clean the pink mat towards the bottom.
Table of contents
I wish there was a specific answer for this, but there’s not. It really depends!
Different Cricut mats have different amounts of adhesive and depending on how much you are using the mat and what materials you are using will make a difference in a mat’s life.
If you are cutting materials like cardstock and kraft board more than vinyl, you will most likely go through mats more often.
Most mats will last for about 40-50 uses, but you can increase the stickiness of a mat by cleaning it weekly or after a material that leaves a lot of debris.
Storing mats with the plastic cover that it comes with will help protect the mat from getting excess dust and pet hair and increase the length you will be able to use it. Also storing them flat or hanging up helps.
Also rotating a Cricut mat so that you are not always putting material on the same upper corner will help expand the life of the mat.
So now that you know a few tips on lengthening the life of your Cricut mat, let’s talk about cleaning it. Cleaning a mat will get all of the debris trapped in the adhesive and make most mats sticky again.
If your mat doesn’t feel sticky even after cleaning it with the following methods, then it’s probably time to get a new mat!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Shareasale, Cricut, Awin, and Amazon.com. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links (purple text). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
My go to method of cleaning my mats is with wet wipes. They are pretty cheap and easy to grab out and wipe a mat off anywhere.
You can use alcohol-free baby wipes or even flushable wipes (which is what I have in my house and use!). Though I’m not a fan of the Dollar Store baby wipes, they are too small!
Simply rub the wipe around the entire surface of the mat in a circular motion to get all the yuckiness that has become stuck to it up. Keep rubbing around the entire mat until everything is clean.
I will refold my wipe to get a clean section after about every quarter of the mat. You’ll notice me doing this in the video (all of these steps are in the video that you can watch at the bottom of the post)! You will see the stuff that sticks to the wipe right away. Ick!
The majority of the time, all I need to use are wipes, but sometimes mats can get dirty from cardstock, glitter vinyl, chipboard, or other thicker materials and I need something more heavy duty.
If you check out the Cricut website, they usually recommend cleaning mats with warm water and a mild dish washing soap like Dawn.
I put a cutting board at the bottom of my sink so that it would be flat and then added warm water on to the mat.
Then I added Dawn to a soft sponge or you can use a washcloth, your fingers, or Cricut says a soft bristle brush.
Again working in circular motions, I cleaned the entire mat and then rinsed it off with running water. Let dry in a drying rack.
The mat did get clean, but to me, the process was kind of awkward!
LA’s Totally Awesome cleaner is a great option for cleaning dirty Cricut mats. I found mine at the 99 Cent store, but I know the Dollar Tree and other dollar stores usually carry it along with Home Depot and Amazon.
It comes in a concentrated form so you will need to dilute it. It has a list of dilution proportions on the bottle for a ton of other purposes.
I dilute mine 5:1. So five parts water to 1 part cleaning solution. I pour 4/5s of the bottle into a separate container and then fill the remaining space in the spray bottle up with water. Then turn it upside down a few times to mix the water with the solution.
To clean my Cricut mats with the Awesome spray, I lay the mat on towels on top of a flat surface. Then spray a generous amount of the Awesome cleaner all over the mat so it’s covered. Let the spray sit on the mat for about 5 minutes.
Then you are going to start scraping all over the junk off the mat with a Cricut scraper or old credit card or gift card to the edges of your mat and onto the towel.
Try not to scrape too hard, we do not want to scrape the adhesive off.
It’s a good idea to scrape at about a 45 degree angle wiping off the edge of the scraper on the towel every so often.
The corners and edges are usually the dirtiest, and sometimes I will have to add more spray to those sections and scrape off again.
Using a wipe or paper towel, wipe off the excess liquid and junk that has scraped off. You don’t want to use a paper towel on a dry mat because you can get a lot of the lint in the adhesive, but while the mat is wet, it won’t stick.
If there’s a lot of stuff, you can even rinse it off with warm water.
So much cleaner, right??!! I let my mat air dry for 5-10 minutes and then put the plastic covering back on and store it away until your next project.
I had an extra dirty strong grip mat that had a bunch of chipboard and wood residue on it and I wanted to put a few different spray cleaners to the test.
So on one side of the mat, I sprayed it with Windex. And on the other side, I sprayed it with Awesome Cleaner.
I let the solutions sit for a bit and then used my scraper and the results were pretty astonishing!
As you can see from the picture below, Windex didn’t do a whole lot. But the Awesome spray really is awesome! It got so much of the chipboard debris! And I have a sticky mat again!
I had heard of people having luck with Mr. Clean’s magic eraser sponge so I wanted to try it during this mat cleaning experiment!
I got the sponge wet with lukewarm water, wrung it out, and then tried to wipe the mat with it. It did not work very well since the mat wasn’t very wet. It was hard for me to rub it around the mat, but it did clean it. My sponge ended up breaking in half while I was using it!
After trying all the different cleaning methods, I have to say for me, I will be sticking to mainly using wipes to clean my dirty cutting mats.
But if my mats are extra dirty, I will use the diluted LA’s Totally Awesome Spray. Being able to get it at the Dollar Tree or 99 Cent store makes it very affordable, especially since it needs to be diluted, and in my opinion, works the best on Cricut mats!
Just a note about the pink fabric mats:
The adhesive on the mats intended for fabric is a much more delicate glue and can be easily scraped off. The best ways to clean the pink Cricut mats are with tweezers to remove large pieces and a lint roller to pick up extra fabric strays.
I will also use a wipe from time to time if I can’t get something off and use it gently. You do not want to use a plastic scraper on a pink Cricut mat!
There are a lot of ways out there with instructions on how to restick a mat. When I first started out, I tried a few ways like using an adhesive spray or using a glue roller but it took a lot of time and made a mess.
Plus, the different glues and spray adhesive can get on the wheels of your Cricut machine and cause problems, and the warranty of the cutting machine will not be good if you added something to a mat. So just beware, I don’t recommend adding extra glue to your machine mats!
Now, I wash my mats every so often to make them sticky again and have a bunch to rotate through. If for some reason, I’m left in a pinch with no sticky mats, I will tape my material down with blue painter’s tape until I can get a new Cricut mat.
- Cricut Scraper Tool
- Paper Towels
- To get off the excess large debris on a blue, green, or purple mat, use a Cricut scraper or edge of an old credit card or gift card to remove big pieces of material (except for the pink cutting mat - use a lint roller or tweezers).
- If the cutting mat is not too dirty, start by using an alcohol free baby wipe or flushable wipe and rub it over the mat in small circular motions. The wipe will pick up dust, pet hair, extra gunk! Let the mat dry for 5 minutes and then place the plastic covering over it.
- If the Cricut mat is pretty dirty and a baby wipe won't do the trick, spray diluted Awesome spray so that the mat is completely covered in the cleaning solution.
- Allow the cleaner to sit on the mat for about minutes.
- Then use a scraper to scrape all off the debris and dirt off the mat.
- Wipe off excess liquid with a paper towel or wipe. Then wipe the mat one last time with a wipe and allow to dry.
- Keep the cutting mats stickiness lasting longer with weekly cleanings or more often if you are doing a lot of cutting.
- Enjoy the sticky cutting mat!
See post or video for results from cleaning Cricut Mats with Dawn dish soap, Windex, and a Magic Eraser and for more tips in getting the longest life out of your mats.
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Is there a cleaning method you prefer when cleaning your Cricut mats?
Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!