Dab mats are special accessories used for a variety of reasons. Also known as a dab pad, it is placed directly underneath a dab rig. Since most dab rigs are made of delicate glass, dab mats provide a cushion and buffer a hard surface to provide a softer setting while gripping onto the glass itself. This is especially true if the dab mat is made of rubber or silicone.
Dab mats are designed for the sole reason of protecting both the dab rig and the surface it is placed upon. They are usually large enough to accommodate a dab rig and the accessories that go with them during a session. Dab mats can be plain or feature artwork that is unique or commercialized.
Some dab mats also come in a variety of different shapes, depending on how you plan to use one. In fact, some users have many dab mats that are tailored just for the occasion. You can also find dab mats that are padded for extra protection in case your glass dab rig happens to fall over. This will provide a shock absorption and prevent your dab rig from cracking or breaking.
The main purpose for any dab mat is to protect a surface from leaking wax and residue. Serving the dual purpose of also protecting a dab rig, dab mats prevent dripping oils and wax from sticking and caking onto a hard surface like a wooden table. If you have ever had wax residue harden on your table, then you know just how hard it is to get off.
Sometimes residue will drop off a hot nail and onto the surface below. This is such a common occurrence that dab mats were created just for the purpose of preventing this from happening. Most oil and residue creep down to the bottom of your dab rig and get caught underneath it. Since rubber and silicone are much easier to clean, most people use a dab mat under their dab rig.
Aside from protecting your furniture, dab mats can also be big enough to hold dabbers, torch, nails, concentrates, and other dabbing accessories. There is a big risk of having your wax leak out oils and not having a dab mat underneath your rig is just asking for trouble. They are quite affordable so there really is no excuse to not have one.
Since most high-quality dab mats are made of either rubber or silicone, cleaning is really a breeze. Unlike hard and porous surfaces that can trap and hold onto hardened residue, rubber and silicone can easily break them apart. Unlike glass dab rigs that are hard and can be cleaned with alcohol, rubber and silicone can degrade over time with such solvents and chemicals.
Alcohol can dry out rubber and make it brittle and easy to crack, rendering it all but useless. The best way to clean a dab mat would be with simple soap and water. If your dab mat is exceptionally dirty, you can opt for scrubbing it down with a baking soda-based paste and some warm water.
Steer clear of using hot water as this can damage rubber. Silicone is very resilient and can withstand much more than rubber. Unlike silicone, however, rubber is a bit more flexible, which can make removing residue a bit easier. It should also be noted that silicone is the best alternative for those who are also allergic to latex.
Rubber and silicone offer the user two unique options. Some are big and rectangular while others are circular in design. Depending on what tools you have on hand and how you want to incorporate them into your dab session, choosing the right type of dab mat is essential. Rubber is good if you want to have a solid grip on your surface and on your glass dab rig.
Since rubber is very stretchy and flexible, residue is easier to clean, though remains a bit less durable than its silicone counterpart. On the other hand, we have silicone which is a much more viable option if long term durability is what you seek. Silicone is also much better at handling solvents and other chemicals.
The best type of dab mat is the one which suits your needs. A large silicone dab mat can be ideal for those who need space and protection, while a small, circular dab mat kit with a dabber and container can be ideal for your dab rig setup. All dab mats are in the service of ensuring you have a soft surface for your piece, and a guard against any possible leakage.
Dab mats have come to be known as essential components to any successful dab session. Many have tried to do with other types of materials and fabrics only to realize that they are even worse to try to clean off. In fact, soft, porous materials such as cloth can trap residues and make it impossible to get out.
Always go for high-quality material such as silicone and steer clear of cheap knockoffs and offshore dab mats that are made of fabric. Dab sessions can be a bit messy so having the right tools for the job will ensure your session starts clean and ends clean. It is very hard to get wax and oil residues out of a hard table. A dab mat will prevent this from happening and be very easy to clean up by comparison. By now you should come to realize the importance of having a dab mat for your next session.