Your rotary cutting mat is a very important tool for quiltmaking. It allows you to use your sharp rotary cutter on a durable surface, thus protecting the table below. The material used to make the mat is generally self-healing, which means it absorbs small nicks or cuts and survives multiple uses. It will usually have one side that is imprinted with a grid and may also show 40 and 60 degree angles.
Despite the self healing nature of the material that is used to make the mat, it will eventually show wear and tear, especially if you cut on the same line all the time. You can prolong the life of the mat by varying that line, and by keeping it clean. Brush off loose threads and wash with mild dish soap and water from time to time. Keep it away from heat sources and direct sunlight, which will cause it to warp. Don’t ever roll your mat or even stand it against the wall for a long time. The bend of the mat may become permanent.
When your mat develops problems, don’t throw it out. Cut it into smaller pieces and use those pieces in class, or keep them by your sewing machine for quick cuts.