My cutting mats have been in use for years. Even though they are “self-healing,” they were beginning to show some wear and tear. So while I was at the Quilt Odyssey, I stopped by the Olfa booth to look for a new one. That is where the Olfa representative told me how I could not only extend the life of my mat, but the life of my blades.
First, clean your mats regularly with mild detergent and water. Scrub them gently with a soft brush to remove threads and fuzz they get trapped in the mat wounds. Once the mat is clean, moisturize it soaking it in a weak mixture of vinegar and water (1/4 cup vinegar to 1 gallon water) for about 20 minutes. Use a towel to dry the mat and lay it flat.
If you have other issues with your mat like warping, I encourage you to read the Quilting Digest post on how to possibly fix these issues.
Keeping your mat clean can extend mat and blade life.