How to Clean a Cricut Mat in 7 Easy Steps

Angie Renner
Published by
Last updated: August 19, 2022

The first die cutters were invented by cobblers who wanted to produce shoes in standard sizes. Little did they know the influence their work would have on the home crafting world over a century later. Innovation has come a long way since those first die cutters for shoes. While cobblers didn’t need to learn how to clean a Cricut mat, you probably do.

You’re about halfway through your project. You notice your materials are no longer sticking to your cutting mat. These mats are pricey and not something you want to replace all the time. But, if your paper or fabrics don’t stick properly, you risk ruining your precious pieces or at the very least, cutting them inaccurately. You don’t want to ruin the mat you have by cleaning it improperly, so it’s important to know that how to clean a Cricut mat depends mostly on the type of mat you’re using.

Types of Cricut Mats

Home cutting machines are incredibly versatile and can be helpful for a plethora of projects. However, not all materials are created equal. Therefore, Cricut mats are available in four types based upon the material you will be cutting. They have varying levels of grip. The first three are for the most part the same mat with increasing grip strength. The FabricGrip mat is quite a bit different and requires specialized care.

Cricut Variety Mat

LightGrip Cutting Mat (Blue)

Cricut LightGrip Cutting Mats 12in x 12in, Reusable Cutting Mats for Crafts with Protective Film, Use with Printer Paper, Vellum, Light Cardstock & More for Cricut Explore & Maker (3 Count)
49,238 Community
Cricut LightGrip Cutting Mats 12in x 12in, Reusable Cutting Mats for Crafts with Protective Film, Use with Printer Paper, Vellum, Light Cardstock & More for Cricut Explore & Maker (3 Count)
  • REUSABLE CUTTING MATS FOR LIGHT MATERIALS - Enjoy smooth, easy cutting with Cricut LightGrip Mat for crafting. Acting as an interface between your material and your Cricut machine, the craft mats hold your material in place, giving you clean cuts
  • STRONG ADHESION, LONG LIFE - Each Cricut mat is designed to have the best possible adhesion and the longest possible life. The 12in x 12in cutting mats come with a clear protective film that protects the mat from dust and paper scraps, when not in use
  • VERSATILE USABILITY - Carefully engineered to take on a wide variety of lightweight materials, these Cricut mats are compatible with specialty Printer Paper, Vellum, Light Cardstock, and more, allowing for ultimate versatility!
  • PACK OF THREE - The pack consists of 3 Cricut LightGrip Machine Mats to fasten up your crafting, load one in the machine for cutting while you prep the next. The mats are designed to help you bring your crafts to life by aiding in flawless cutting
  • COMPATIBLE WITH CRICUT MACHINE - The easy-to-use Cricut Cutting mats are compatible with the Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker cutting machine. These large mats are now made with water-based paint and double life adhesive, So, get on with crafts!

The LightGrip Cutting Mat known as the “blue mat” has the least amount of grip or stickiness. Materials cut with the blue mat are lightweight include printer paper, vellum, thin scrapbook paper or wrapping paper, to name a few.

StandardGrip Cutting Mat (Green)

Cricut StandardGrip Machine Mats 12in x 12in, Reusable Cutting Mats for Crafts with Protective Film, Use with Cardstock, Iron On, Vinyl and More, Compatible with Cricut Explore & Maker (3 Count)
49,238 Community
Cricut StandardGrip Machine Mats 12in x 12in, Reusable Cutting Mats for Crafts with Protective Film, Use with Cardstock, Iron On, Vinyl and More, Compatible with Cricut Explore & Maker (3 Count)
  • REUSABLE CUTTING MATS FOR SEAMLESS CUTTING - Enjoy smooth, hassle-free cutting with Cricut StandardGrip Mat for crafting. Acting as an interface between your material and your Cricut machine, craft mats hold your material in place, giving you clean cuts
  • STRONG ADHESION, LONG LIFE - Each Cricut mat is designed to offer the best possible adhesion and the longest possible life. The 12in x 12in cutting mats come with a clear protective film that protects the mat from dust and paper scraps when not in use
  • VERSATILE USABILITY - Carefully engineered to take on a wide variety of medium-weight materials, these Cricut mats are compatible with Cricut cardstock, patterned paper, Iron On, Vinyl, embossed cardstock, and more, allowing for ultimate versatility!
  • PACK OF THREE - The pack consists of 3 Cricut StandardGrip Machine Mats to assist you with your crafting. Load one in the machine while prepping the next. The mats are designed to help you bring your crafts to life by ensuring flawless cutting
  • COMPATIBLE WITH CRICUT MACHINE - The easy-to-use Cricut Cutting mats are compatible with the Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker cutting machines. The mats are made with water-based paint and double-life adhesive. A perfect addition to your Cricut supplies

Crafters use the StandardGrip Cutting Mat or the “green mat” for cutting things like cardstock or vinyl.

StrongGrip Cutting Mat (Purple)

Sale
StrongGrip Cricut Cutting Mat 12in x 12in, Craft Mat for Cricut Maker & Explore, Use with Heavyweight Materials - Specialty Cardstock, Matboard & More, Reusable, Clear Protective Film (3 Count)
49,238 Community
StrongGrip Cricut Cutting Mat 12in x 12in, Craft Mat for Cricut Maker & Explore, Use with Heavyweight Materials - Specialty Cardstock, Matboard & More, Reusable, Clear Protective Film (3 Count)
  • REUSABLE, DURABLE CUTTING MATS - Enjoy smooth and hassle-free cutting with Cricut StrongGrip Mat for crafting. Acting as an interface between your material and your Cricut machine, these craft mats hold your material in place, giving you clean cuts
  • STRONG ADHESION, LONG LIFE - Each Cricut mat is designed to have the best possible adhesion and the longest possible life. The 12in x 12in cutting mats come with a clear protective film that protects the mat from dust and paper scraps, when not in use
  • VERSATILE USABILITY - Carefully engineered to take on a wide variety of heavyweight materials, these Cricut mats are compatible with specialty cardstock, glitter cardstock, chipboard, and fabric with stiffener, allowing for ultimate versatility!
  • PACK OF THREE - The pack consists of 3 Cricut StrongGrip Machine Mats to fasten up your crafting, load one in the machine for cutting while you prep the next. The mats are designed to help you bring your crafts to life by aiding in flawless cutting
  • COMPATIBLE WITH CRICUT MACHINE - The easy-to-use Cricut Cutting mats are compatible with the Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker cutting machines. The mats are made with water-based paint and double-life adhesive. A perfect addition to your Cricut supplies

The purple mat is the StrongGrip mat used for holding heavyweight materials like magnet material or faux leather.

FabricGrip Cutting Mat (Pink)

Cricut FabricGrip Adhesive Cutting Mat 12'x12' - For Cricut Explore Air 2/Cricut Maker - 3 Pack
49,238 Community
Cricut FabricGrip Adhesive Cutting Mat 12"x12" - For Cricut Explore Air 2/Cricut Maker - 3 Pack
  • The fabric grip mat combines increased strength, density, and quality plus a light adhesive to create beautiful cuts with a wider variety of fabrics
  • Includes 3 12x12 circuit fabric grip mats
  • Made from higher-quality, higher-density pvc to withstand the increased pressure of the rotary blade
  • Use with circuit maker and circuit explore smart cutting machines
  • Use with circuit machines and rotary blade or bonded-fabric blade

The FabricGrip mat is the newest Cricut cutting mat. It is specially designed to keep the fabric in place for cutting. This mat is thicker than the other Cricut mats and does not have the same sticky surface, so cleaning is a slightly different process.

Supplies You’ll Need to Learn How to Clean a Cricut Mat

The supplies you will need to learn how to clean a Cricut mat will not only depend on the mat type but also if you need to “deep clean” it or perform just routine maintenance.

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Water
  • Cloth
  • Magic eraser
  • Alcohol-free baby wipes
  • Lint roller
  • Scraper
  • Masking tape or blue painters tape
  • Spray adhesive or adhesive pen

Alcohol vs. No Alcohol

In researching this topic online, you may find some instructions that include using rubbing alcohol to clean your Cricut mat. It is important to note that alcohol can damage your mat, so we advise to avoid it altogether. Alcohol doesn’t only strip the mat’s adhesive; it can eat into the mat itself.

I had used alcohol on one of my cutting mats, back before I knew better, and sure enough, I ruined my mat. Alcohol caused the first layer of the mat to flake and gum up, the more I used, the more “residue” was produced. Ultimately, it ended up being pieces of the actual mat dissolving as I scrubbed. So yes, avoid alcohol, it is not your cutting mat’s friend.

While other methods may require a bit more elbow grease, the results are far superior.

How to Clean a Cricut Mat

The Cricut website says how to clean a Cricut mat the best way is to bath it in warm, not hot, soapy water using dish liquid. If the water is too warm, it can warp your mat, which will impact the accuracy of your cutting. So keep the water warm, but not hot.

Please note these instructions are for blue, green, or purple mats and is not for cleaning the pink mat.

1. Use a scraper and lint roller to remove bits and pieces

Cricut Tools Spatula And Scraper

First, use the scraper or Cricut spatula to remove all of the leftover scraps on your cutting mat. Go gentle, as you don’t want to damage the surface. Another great tool to remove the “lint residue” that gets trapped in the adhesive is a lint roller. It does a great job of picking up those tiny particles that seem impossible to remove.

Cricut Tools Spatula And Scraper1

Sale
Cricut Tools, Spatula and Scraper
480 Community
Cricut Tools, Spatula and Scraper
  • Spatula tool precisely lifts images off Circuit cutting mats
  • Scraper is custom designed to easily scrape and clean Circuit cutting mats
  • Interchangeable end cap on spatula to customize color

2. Wipe down your mat with a baby wipe

After you’ve removed all of the small scraps and pieces from your mat, wipe it down with an alcohol-free baby wipe. Be sure to use baby wipes that do not contain any fragrances, lotions or skin conditioners, as these can all damage the grip of your mat.

You may find that this is all you need to do. Allow the mat to dry, and it will be sticky again. If you do this step on a regular basis, you may be able to avoid the next few steps a little while longer. However, if your mat is beyond the simple baby wipe treatment, continue. It will be nearly as good as new once you’re finished learning how to clean a Cricut mat.

3. Fill the sink with warm soapy water

So, you need to go beyond the baby wipe treatment. Next, using a standard dish liquid like Dawn, fill your sink with warm, soapy water. Again, be mindful not to use dish liquid that includes oils or lotions for your skin as these can damage the grip. Oil makes glue less sticky – so just keep that in mind.

4. Wash the mat

Then, place your mat in the warm water and wash it buy just rubbing your hands over it in the water. You may have to scrub it a bit with your fingers to remove the little bits of lint and fuzz that are left behind from your projects of old. Have patience and just keep gently scrubbing.

5. Use a magic eraser for stubborn areas

STK 20 Pack Extra Thick Magic Cleaning Pads Eraser Sponge For All Surfaces

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STK 20 Pack Extra Thick Magic Cleaning Pads - Eraser Sponge for All Surfaces - Kitchen-Bathroom-Furniture-Leather-Car-Steel - Just Add Water to Erase All Dirt - Melamine - Universal Cleaner
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If you have stubborn areas, you can use a magic eraser to work on them. You don’t want to get too vigilant, or you may damage your mat in small spots, however, lightly rubbing the mat with a magic eraser can move this process along a bit faster.

6. Rinse

Now, rinse your mat with lukewarm to warm water – again, not too hot. You should have a nice clean mat ready to dry when you’re finished. If not, you may need to continue washing your mat until the results are satisfactory.

7. Hang mat to air dry

Finally, hang your mat to dry. Do not try to dry it with towels as this will just put lint and fuzz back on to your mat and decrease the stickiness. Once your Cricut cutting mat is dry, you should notice that its grip has returned and it’s ready to create your next project.

However, if you have washed it multiple times, you may need to consider re-applying adhesive to rejuvenate your older mat. “Resticking” a mat is an easy process and can buy you quite a bit more time before you have to shell out money for a replacement.

Warning Icon

Special Considerations for the Pink FabricGrip Mat

The FabricGrip mat is different than the other mats that deal with mostly paper craft or vinyl. It is not advised to use a scraper on the pink mat as it can remove the adhesive. Instead, experts recommend using tweezers to pick off small pieces, the Cricut spatula or transfer tape. A lint roller can be a valuable tool for this one.

As a last resort, if your FabricGrip mat is just not sticking as it should and the bits and pieces are too small and vast to remove with tweezers, there are testimonies of crafters online who have used a baby wipe to clean their FabricGrip mat and it restored the stickiness. Again, make sure only to use alcohol-free “sensitive skin” baby wipes to remove the chance of adding oils or lotions to your work surface.

Keep in mind that unlike the other mats, cutting with the FabricGrip mat will not be as impacted from small remnants of fabric leftover.

Resticking Mat

After you’ve cleaned your mat a few times, you may find the sticky isn’t as it used to be. At this point, many people would toss the old mat and purchase a new one. However, you may be able to resuscitate that old mat for just a few more runs through the machine.

1. Tape edges of the mat

The first step to “restick” your Cricut mat when using a spray adhesive like Krylon Easy-Tack is to tape all the edges. You do not want your new glue to get on the sides of the mat which would consequently gum up your machine. So, use masking tape and protect those edges!

If you choose to use a glue pen, rather than spray adhesive, you can skip the taping step — although you may still want to be as safe as possible.

2. Add adhesive to the mat

The accuracy of a glue pen is far less risky to your edges as spray adhesive which you cannot control as easily. The added advantage of the pen is also that it goes on a color, so you can see exactly how much you are putting on your mat and where. If you do end up getting glue on any of your mat edges beyond the ruler guide, promptly wipe it off.

Another advantage to the glue pen is you can also see when it’s dry because it typically goes on as a color (blue) and it dries clear. If you are using spray adhesive, check the instructions on the can and make sure you follow the recommended distance for an application. Spray your mat, in a well-ventilated area, with a fine coat of adhesive.

3. Let mat dry 30 minutes

Allow the new layer of glue to set for 30 minutes. If you use a glue pen, wait until all the newly added glue is clear. It’s important to not place any materials or the plastic film cover back on the mat with wet adhesive, as this will glue that fabric or paper to the mat.

4. “De-stick” the mat

If you find your mat is too sticky after waiting the property time for the glue to set, you may need to “de-stick” it. “De-sticking” is done by using a lint-free cloth, like a microfiber glasses cleaning cloth, and just dabbing it all over. Using a lint-free cloth will remove some of the excess glue on the mat and make it so your materials are repositionable again.

Other Cutting Machine Mats

While these steps specifically address how to clean a Cricut mat, the mats from competitor cutters like Brother ScanNCut or the Silhouette Cameo function in a similar way. These steps can be used with those products as well. Although, make sure to check with each manufacturer’s instructions for any variations.

Sale
Brother Standard Mat 12”x12”, CAMATSTD12, 12'X12' , White
4,831 Community
Brother Standard Mat 12”x12”, CAMATSTD12, 12"X12" , White
  • Size: 12 inch X12 inch (305 millimetre x 305 millimetre)
  • Mat cutting area 11.7 inch X 11.7 inch (297.18 millimetre X 297.18 millimetre)
  • This mat is ideal for using the capture mat function with the DesignNCut machine
  • Other adhesive strength option: Low tack adhesive mat 12x12
  • This mat is compatible with Brother ScanNCut, ScanNCut2, and DesignNCut Series; for use with: CM100DM, CM250, CM350, CM350H, CM350R, CM550DX, CM650W, CM650WX, DC200, DC200ULE only. Not compatible with SDX125, SDX125E, SDX125EGY or SDX85 models.

Sale
Silhouette America 12 inch Cameo Cutting Mat - 1 Pack
6,561 Community
Silhouette America 12 inch Cameo Cutting Mat - 1 Pack
  • 12-inch by 12-inch cutting area
  • Also compatible with: Silhouette Cameo (original), Silhouette Cameo 2, Silhouette Cameo 3

Let the Crafting Begin Again!

While learning how to clean a Cricut mat will not make it exactly like a new mat, it will buy you a bit more time before a replacement is needed.

Have you ever cleaned a cutting mat? If so, tell us how to clean a Cricut mat using your steps.