September is National Sewing Month. Every Wednesday in September to celebrate I’m sharing a sewing-related tip/post.
Let me let you in on a little secret. I am a creature of habit—I schedule my physical around my birthday every year, I shop for underwear around the 4th of July each year, and I clean my sewing tools during National Sewing Month. Last year I shared how to thoroughly clean your sewing machine. Keeping your sewing machine clean is important as it is a major tool but so are our self-healing cutting mats. Do you know how to care for them?
I don’t know what I would ever do without my rotary cutting tools. I know some of you younger sewists don’t even remember a time when we didn’t have them. If you’re like me, your self-healing mat gets used quite a bit, especially around the holiday time of year. I used to find myself buying a new mat much too frequently—that is until I learned to properly care for them. Here are some easy home remedies to make your self-healing mat last much longer.
Cutting mats love moisture.
It is recommended that you soak your mat from time to time. Your self-healing mat loves moisture. The reason for this method is the materials that make your self-healing mat absorb the water and make the mat supple again. Not only does this make your mat last longer, but it keeps your blades from dulling so quickly because you are cutting into a softer surface.
Directions: To soak it, put your mat in a bathtub or large container (large enough so it can lay flat.) Fill your bathtub with room temperature water (not hot, not warm, and not cold.) In the water add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to each gallon of cool water. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes.
Then add a squirt of mild dish washing soap for a good lather (Dove or Ivory are my choices). Use a soft mushroom brush (soft bristle brush, soft is the keyword here.) Scrub the mat gently getting a good lather with the soap. Then rinse your self-healing mat with cool water getting all residue off the mat. The purpose of this gentle scouring is to remove the fibers that get trapped in the cuts marks preventing the cuts from “healing.” You can dry it with a cotton towel, or air dry. It doesn’t matter how you choose. (Do not dry it in direct sunlight or it could damage the mat.)
Keep ’em clean, keep ’em moist, keep ’em flat. And at least once a year send your much used mat to the spa for a soothing bath. Do this at least once a year to help extend mat’s useful life.
You might also like Basic Sewing Essentials – How to Clean Your Sewing Machine