Depending on the materials you are cutting on your mat, it can get dirty rather quickly. I’ll show you how to bring it back to it’s sticky self quickly and affordably using baby wipes.
Benefits of Having a Clean Mat
Have you ever been cutting a project when your material starts to move? That portion of the material is ruined and you have to start over. Frustrating! When my mats used to lose their stick, I would take painters tape and tape my materials down. I thought I was being clever and extending the life of my mat and saving money. Not so much! It sometimes worked with vinyl, but not always and it rarely works with paper. Why? Because you are only securing your material around the outside. The center of your material still has play. It wiggles. If you are trying to do an intricate cut, forget it. So the best way to get a great cut is to have a clean sticky mat.
Using Generic Mats
I am all for saving money while crafting. While Cricut has some good tools, if I can find a generic brand cheaper, I’m there. I have tried generic cutting mats and I hate to say it, but the Cricut mat so far is the superior product. Why? Because every generic mat I have tried, some of the sticky comes off on my material. This is fine if you are using vinyl because you throw that backing away. Not as good if you are using paper. The back of my cards I was creating would have sticky residue on them that you can feel and see. I would have to gently rub my hand over it to get it all off. It took way to long. Of course new products are being developed every day, so fingers crossed they come out with a mat that is equivalent to the Cricut mat but more affordable.
How to Clean Your Mat Using Baby Wipes
I have tried a lot of different ways to clean my mat. I found using simple baby wipes worked best for me. Why? Because they are affordable, readily available and as gentle on my mat as they are on a baby’s bottom (no chemicals to eat away at the adhesive). Follow the steps below and you will have a clean sticky mat in no time:
- Remove any large excess pieces of glitter, paper, felt, etc. using a large scraper.
- Take out your baby wipe (any brand will do). I like to start at the top left corner and work my way across and down, but that’s just my preference, any starting place is fine. Use round circular motions to wipe away the dirt and debris. Do this across the entire mat. Don’t press too hard. You don’t need to and you don’t want to damage the adhesive.
- Depending on how dirty your mat is, you might need to go over the entire mat 2-3 times.
- Allow your mat to dry. If you touch the mat after cleaning it and feel that it’s not sticky, don’t panic! You did not wipe all the adhesive off with the baby wipes. You just need to allow the mat to dry to let the sticky come back. Depending on how wet it is, I let mine dry 20 minutes to an hour. Just make sure it’s dry before you use it again.
Additional Tips for Extending the Life of Your Mat
- It’s easier to clean your mat up as you go – after a particular dirty cut. Don’t wait too long.
- Use the plastic cover that comes with your mat. I like to write something on my mat (usually the date) just so I know which way is up on the clear cover. Remember that cover protects your mat from dust, pet hair, etc. If you take that dirty top side and push it down on the sticky side of your mat, you aren’t protecting it, you are just transfer the dust to the mat.
Hopefully this will save you some money and allow you to cut the perfect project!