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how to care for your cutting mat

If you’re not caring for your self healing cutting mat, you’ll be reducing the mat’s overall lifespan. Resilient, these mats can take a beating, but without the proper care, they won’t be around for long.

It will look grungy and worn in no time if you don’t at least take some minimal care of it.

Caring for your mat is easy, and all it takes is a few minutes every once in a blue moon to keep your mat in pristine condition. Here’s a quick and easy guide to caring for a self-healing mat:

Step 1: Remove Loose Threads

You can expect loose threads to get stuck on your mat. Use a scrubber brush to loosen these threads, but be very careful not to scrub too hard. Gentle scrubbing is all that you’ll need to loosen the threads. Scrubbing too hard can damage or reduce the lifespan of your mat.

Step 2: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

You need to bring your mat’s exterior back to life, and this requires you to prepare the right solution for the job. You’ll need a couple of items to get started:

  • Dish soap
  • Vinegar

I usually prep my bath tub to soak my mat, so I am going to recommend that you do the same. Make sure you’ve cleaned the interior of the tub properly before proceeding.

Once clean, you’ll want to add 1/4 cup vinegar for every gallon of water that you add in the tub. So, start with a good five gallons of water and 1-1/4 cup of vinegar. Use cool water to avoid distorting your mat.

After you’re all done, you’ll want to place your mat into the solution ensuring that it’s fully submersed inside of your tub.

I let mine sit for 10 – 20 minutes, but if this is your first time, feel free to let it sit for longer if your mat is very worn.

After this, you’ll add in some dish soap and use another scrub brush to gently scrub the surface of your mat. The goal is to remove any of the fibers that may be stuck in the cuts in the mat. When fibers get stuck in the cuts, the mat won’t be able to self-heal properly.

Step 3: Dry Your Mat

A lot of the solution will absorb into your mat, so don’t be afraid if this happen. The solution will allow your mat to look “youthful.” You need to dry the mat at this point, but never put it in a dryer or use a blow dryer because you might cause the mat to warp or distort.

Instead, you’ll want to use a cotton towel or allow the mat to air dry.

I personally prefer the air-dry option because you have lower risk of fibers reentering the cuts in the mat. You want to make sure that the mat is laid flat when drying. If you notice any of the edges curling, you can place a block or another item on the area to stop this from occurring.

When you keep your mat clean and properly moisturized, you’ll extend the mat for years – a worthwhile investment of your time.

I hope these tips have shown you how easy it is to keep your cutting mat looking new for a long time. Happy quilting!

Tags : self healing cutting mat

3 Comments

  1. When you said the below:
    “When you keep your mat clean and properly moisturized, you’ll extend the mat for years ”
    What is it that we moisturize it with?

    The 2 mats I bought never said anything about moisturizing them, just keeping them out of the sun. My mat is about 20 years old and does seem a little dried out, Would appreciate your input on this, thanks.

  2. It’s the washing that moisturizes the cutting mat.
    I clean my mat with a plain white eraser first. It pulls the bits of thread and fluff out of the mat.
    Rub in small circular movements and the bits will collect on top.
    Wipe them off and then using a sink cloth that has been wrung out in water with a teensy bit of dish detergent in it, wipe over the mat to remove any excess and to clean it.
    I then rinse out the cloth in plain water and wipe the mat again. I sometimes repeat that last rinse and wipe.
    Wipe dry with a lint free cloth or just leave to dry.

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