Caring for Your Self-Healing Cutting Mat

I love my self-healing cutting mat. Probably one of my best friends, in the sewing room anyway. But did you know that your mat needs some regular care in order to keep it in tip top shape? Otherwise it will begin to look like my old mat here. (Eek!)


Caring for your self-healing cutting mat is easy. Every now and then you will want to take a little scrubber (like the kind used for dishes) and brush off your mat to release any loose threads that get caught. You don’t need to rub too hard, just a light touch is sufficient.

Cleaning Your Mat

Once you have the excess loose threads and fibers removed, it’s time to moisturize your mat and bring that surface back to life. A quick bath in a solution of vinegar and dish soap will do the trick, plus it should also remove any surface stains on the mat. (Except for ink stains – those are a little tougher.)

To soak your mat, place it in a bathtub or container that is large enough so your mat can lie flat. Add a solution of ¼ cup white vinegar per gallon of cool water and let it soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure the water is cool! Warm or hot water can warp your mat.

vinegar-poured-in Now add a bit of mild dish soap and take another soft brush, gently scrubbing the surface of your mat. This will get any straggler fibers that may be trapped in the cuts on your mat and prevent it from self-healing. (Note: you’ll have to keep an eye out for any hitch hikers who may decide to join your mat bath. Baxter thought he needed a soak too.)

baxter-tub-hijacker This special solution will absorb into your self-healing mat and make it nice and supple again. You can dry the mat with a cotton towel or let it air dry flat. Make sure it’s flat too – you don’t want it to warp as it dries.

And that’s it! Easy. Just remember, keeping your mat clean, moist, flat, and away from excess heat will preserve it for years to come.

Happy quilting!

Related Video: How to Care for Cutting Mats

Have something to add? Leave a comment or email

Choosing and using the right ruler banner

Share tips, start a discussion or ask one of our experts or other students a question.

Make a comment:
characters remaining

84 Responses to “Caring for Your Self-Healing Cutting Mat”

  1. Donna

    ? I have the large mat too big for the tub. What do you suggest

  2. Virginia

    Question: how can I get fusible interfacing off the ironing pad of my travel Omnigrid? I mistakenly had it facing the wrong way and ironed it to the pad. Mea culpa

  3. Jeffrey Robinson

    Can you iron on the cutting mat? Thanks

  4. Maureen Summ

    Using 15 minute vinegar soak and then scrubbing with mild detergent. Some lines still not coming out.

  5. Brenda Wheaton

    would love any quilt tips you can give me. thanks

  6. Terry

    I bought the 3 piece green mats. From day one it does not matter what I cut it retains fibres in the cut. I have tried using their brand of cutter and it makes no difference. I had contacted the manufacturer and their response was to usethese blades. Most dishearting as they are new. I am defibitly going to try this and see what happens. Thanks

  7. Kathy

    i have a rotary self healing mat that smells like skunk, when i took it out of the plastic wrap. Purchased it at a show, so couldn't return it. Placed it in a black plastic bag with drier sheets and put in the sun. Helped somewhat, but i still notice the odor when i use it to cut. I am thinking that the vinegar solution will help this problem, since it is a deodorizer.

  8. Lorna Heuchert

    I meant odour

  9. Lorna Heuchert

    What can I do to remove door from a cutting mat? It’s a rotating mat. I have tried water and vinegar, baking sofa, and am in the process of using coffee grounds. So far any improvement is temporary. Help!

  10. Karen-Lee

    What if you do not have a bathtub large enough to leave your mat flat?