Extending the Life of Your Cricut Mats: Advice from ProvoCraft
1) Rotate your mat and insert it in the other direction. You'll notice that a full 6x12" piece of paper is centered squarely in the center of the mat. So even though the printed text indicates one direction, we designed it to be rotated as well.
2) We recommend that you use and rotate a number of mats at the same time. This seems to extend the overall life of each mat.
3) Be sure to store them with the plastic film over them. Without them, your mat can collect dust or debris and not last as long. It is also a bad idea to store mats with a sheet of paper on them.
4) Don't cut too deep. Make sure the blade height is set just enough to get through your stock. If it cuts deeper into the mat it just wears it our faster.
5) Don't use a full sheet of paper is you are cutting something small. Every time you put a piece of paper on the mat and lift it up, it will leave fibers behind and take adhesive with it. Limiting the number of sheets pressed into different areas of the mat will greatly expand the life of your mat. (It may also be a good idea to sometimes place these smaller pieces of paper in areas of the mat that get less use - such as the middle or the corners opposite the blade.)
6) You can usually squeeze out a good handful of additional cuts by pressing the paper or cardstock down extra firmly when the mat is placed on a soft surface like carpet.
7) Take care not to expose your mat to extreme heat, particularly leaving it out in the sun. Under these conditions the adhesive may melt and, in some conditions, the mats may curl.
Click HERE to see my own 'tip' for extending the life of your mats.