At some time or another every Cricut owner wonders “How do I clean and restick a Cricut mat?”
Mats aren’t inexpensive and they tend to lose their stick fairly quickly, so knowing what to do when that happens is a pretty important as well as money saving skill.
This tutorial will show the methods I use to clean and restick my Cricut mats when necessary. Both methods are straight forward, easy and work on all different types of Cricut mats, except the Fabric Mat.
The tutorial below shows the cleaning and resticking methods for a Standard Grip 12 x 12 mat, but I give instructions for the other types of mats near the end of the post (very minor modifications).
DISCLAIMER: These methods work for me but I cannot guarantee they will work for you. I share them to hopefully help but you try them at your own risk. Thanks!
Please check out the video tutorial below or scroll down for instructions with photos:
When To Clean a Cricut Mat
How do you know when to clean and restick a Cricut mat?
I clean my Cricut mats when they get too dirty with bits of material (usually paper) to hold anything else on to them.
Or, if the mat isn’t sticky enough anymore to hold paper or vinyl to it, it’s time to clean it!
How to Clean a Cricut Mat
All it takes to clean a Cricut mat is some mild soap and water.
Remove the protective sheet from the mat, take it to a sink and rinse it with warm water.
Then, use a regular household sponge with some mild liquid dish or hand soap to gently scrub the surface of the mat. I use Dawn but any mild liquid soap will work.
If there are any spots on the mat that have extra gunk/bits stuck to it, you can use a bit of extra force to scrub those areas to remove the excess gunk.
Once the entire mat has been soaped up and gently scrubbed, rinse it clean with warm water.
Set it aside to air dry. I usually just set it on the counter to dry.
To Restick or Not to Restick a Cricut Mat?
Once your newly cleaned mat has dried, you’ll need to decide whether you need to restick it or not.
How do you know when you need to restick a Cricut mat?
When your mat is still fairly new and not too used and abused (lol), the cleaning and drying should be enough to recharge the mat’s stick. If that’s the case, then just cover it with its protective sheet and put it away until you need to use it. You’re done. Yay!
But, once your mat has been used a fair amount, the cleaning won’t recharge the stick enough to actually hold anything to it.
I often check a clean mat’s stickiness with my hand. If it sticks a bit then I cover it with the protective sheet and put it away. If my hand really doesn’t stick, I restick the mat.
PLEASE NOTE: This restick method IS NOT endorsed by Cricut so using a mat that has been restuck this way MAY violate your machine’s warranty. If you’ve owned your machine for less than one year, you may want to wait to try this until your one year warranty has expired.
How to Restick a Cricut Mat
To restick a Cricut mat you will need a Zig 2 Way Glue Pen with a broad tip and some removable tape, like painter’s blue tape or washi tape. The tape should be wide enough to cover the outer edges of your mat.
Place tape right against all four edges of the middle sticky part of the mat, completely covering the non-sticky edges. You don’t want to get glue on these edges as it can mess up your machine’s wheels/rollers when it is loaded into the machine.
Once the edges are taped, get the glue started in the Zig 2 Way Glue Pen by pressing the tip down onto a piece of scratch paper. The tip should push back into the barrel of the pen as you do this. Once you see the bluish glue liquid flowing out and covering the broad tip, it is ready to go.
Now just “draw” lines with the broad tip over the entire would-be sticky area of the Cricut mat. I don’t press hard and just run it back and forth on the surface, overlapping the strokes slightly to ensure I don’t miss any areas of the mat.
The glue will appear bluish-white when it is wet and then dry clear. Don’t go too crazy with it. You need a thin coat of glue and no puddles or blobs of glue (dab blobs up with a paper towel or try to spread them out with the broad tip).
When the glue is wet, it forms a permanent bond. When it has dried, it forms a temporary bond. Hence the name “2 way” glue.
Once the sticky area is completely covered with the glue, set it aside to air dry. The mat will be very shiny and look wet (cause it is – lol).
When dry, the mat is still shiny but loses the ‘wet’ look.
If you want to check the “stick” of the mat once it’s dry, place a piece of scratch paper on the mat and then peel it off. This will let you know if the mat is sticky enough or possibly too sticky (see below for solutions to these issues).
Once it has dried, it is good to go. Remove the tape from the edges and put the protective cover sheet back on it until the mat is needed.
The protective sheet won’t stick to the mat as well as it used to when you restick it this way. I’m not sure if that’s because of some chemical difference between the adhesive used by Cricut and the Zig pen or what. It will hold well enough to protect the mat, though.
The mat can be used again and again until you need to repeat the process to clean and restick the mat.
Adjustments For Different Types of Mats and Troubleshooting
This same method works on other types of Cricut mats but you have to make some minor adjustments.
LIGHT GRIP MAT: Follow the same method to clean and restick the mat. One coat of glue may be enough for a “light” grip. But if the mat seems too sticky, take a cotton t-shirt or lint-free cloth and press it lightly down on the mat and then remove. This will pull off some of the stick so it is now “light” grip instead of regular grip.
STRONG GRIP MAT: You can use the same methods to clean and restick it, but you will need multiple coats of glue to increase the stickiness. Let the first coat air dry and then draw another coat over it. Test it. If needed, add one more coat of glue. More than 3 coats can gum up your mat so don’t do more than 3 coats. But, the additional coat or two should achieve a “strong” grip.
FABRIC MAT: DO NOT use these methods on your Cricut Fabric Mat. The adhesive used on the Fabric Mat is specialized to hold fabric and the methods shown here won’t work – cleaning it with soap may ruin the original coat of adhesive and resticking with the Zig 2 Way Glue Pen will not provide the same hold power as the original. Sorry…
CRICUT JOY MATS (Including the Card Mat): Follow the same instructions I’ve given to clean and restick any of your Cricut Joy mats. Make adjustments for the Light Grip Mat (as mentioned above) but otherwise the standard grip and card mat can be treated the same as the mat in this tutorial.
Make sure you don’t get glue under the top layer of the Card Mat because you don’t want to accidentally stick the top part to the bottom and ruin the mat. If you have one, you can stick a small non-stick mat or piece of parchment paper in between the layers to help keep them from sticking together.
MAT NOT STICKY ENOUGH: If the mat isn’t sticky enough with one coat of glue, add a second coat. Just wait for the first coat to dry and then draw a second coat on top of it and let it air dry again. Don’t do more than three coats, as more coats start to gum up the surface.
MAT TOO STICKY: If the mat is too sticky, press a cotton t-shirt or other lint-free cloth lightly down onto the surface and remove to pull off some of the stick.
MAT IS LUMPY WITH PUDDLES OR BLOBS OF GLUE: As I mentioned above, you want to do your absolute best to avoid puddles or blobs of glue from forming on the mat while you are resticking it. It is easiest to deal with them when the glue is still wet by using the tip of the glue pen to spread them out.
If that wasn’t possible and you have some blobs on the now dry mat, try “desticking” them with a piece of copy paper by pressing it onto the blob and then pulling it away. If this doesn’t solve the problem, press a lint-free cloth on to the spot and remove to pull off some of the stickiness. If the blob still persists, you can carefully scrape it off with a butter knife and then restick that spot with the Zig 2 Way Glue Pen once more.
When Is It Time to Say Goodbye to a Cricut Mat?
How do you know, when it’s time to say goodbye to a Cricut mat? When is it too used to be cleaned and restuck and just needs to be replaced?
I trash my old Cricut mats when:
- the mat has multiple cuts that go all the way through the surface of the mat so the mat doesn’t hold its shape well anymore
- the mat has a bunch of areas where the top layer of the mat has been gouged out or removed from the surface so material doesn’t really lie flat on the surface or stick to those spots anymore
- the mat is so dirty, usually with bits of paper pulp or fabric fuzz, that I can no longer clean it well AND restick it
Those situations don’t come along too often, so I’ve been able to use and reuse my mats for a long time.
So, those are my techniques to clean and restick a Cricut mat. If you give them a try, I hope they help you save some money and gets lots more use out of your Cricut mats!
Questions or Comments?
If you have any questions, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you soon. Want to just tell me how much you loved this tutorial? Please leave me a comment below – lol!
I would also appreciate any ideas you may have for topics to cover related to the software for Cricut (Design Space), Silhouette (Studio) or Brother (Canvas Workspace) and any suggestions you may have on projects to create with the Cricut Maker, Cricut Joy, Silhouette Cameo 4 or the Brother Scan N Cut DX. Please leave any requests you have in the comments. I appreciate you taking the time to visit and read my blog. Thanks!
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