Ideas for Maintaining Your Sewing Machine

the presser foot of a sewing machine

Do you feel guilty of neglecting the maintenance of your sewing machine or do not know the right way of cleaning and maintaining it? Don’t worry, in this article, we have shared some cleaning tips, proper methods, and how you can maintain it.

The question of how often you should clean and oil your sewing machine depends on the amount of usage and type of fabric you stitch. If you sew quite a bit and use cloth-like velvet, then you need to do the cleaning of your sewing machine more regularly.

But in the case of being the light to a moderate customer, then once every few months would be enough. The rule of thumb for cleaning your sewing machine is that if you hear clinging or squeaking and see the build-up, then it is the time to refresh.

Tips To Take Care of Your Machine

No matter if you use your sewing machine daily or every once in a while, it is crucial to take care of it. Keeping your sewing machine clean and carrying out routine maintenance tasks can add years to your sewing machine. Let’s discuss a few tips on how to take care of your sewing machine.

  • Clean After Every Big Project

If you have not oiled or cleaned your machine and changed its needle after several projects, or you have not had your sewing machine for servicing, then it is high time that you clean your sewing machine. Also, you should add it to your routine to maintain this habit.

  • Change Needles Regularly

We often forget how much work our needles do. Needles become dull over time, which leads to pulling in fabrics, potential damage to the machine, and looped threads.

It is recommended by the experts to change the needle after completing every project, or every eight hours will be much better. You also need to change your needle according to the lace and weight of the fabric you are using.

  • Oiling the Machine

Like all the other machines, regular oiling benefits the sewing machines as well. Since a sewing machine has several internal moving parts, oiling them can make these parts run longer and smoother. Sewing machine oils are effortlessly available in most craft stores as well as online. It is designed specifically for sewing machines.

Avoid using anything other than sewing oil. The superior quality oils are clear and do not stain your clothes. A few drops are enough to keep your machine well-oiled. Before applying oil, make sure to read the instructions in your user’s manual and follow them accordingly.

After applying the oil, take a few pieces of scrap fabric and run stitches to remove any extra drops.

  • Keep it Covered

Dust is the biggest enemy for any machine. If you want to increase the life of your sewing machine, keep it as clean as possible. And for that purpose, you need to store it undera hard case or in a dust cover. We suggest using a new high-quality thread whenever you stitch. It prevents interior fluff build-up.

Moreover, you should also unplug the machine daily and clean inside of the bobbin case with the help of a cosmetic brush.

  • Use Compressed Air for Removing Lint

Do not forget to give your machine an in-depth cleaning after completing your project. Using a new high-quality thread will reduce the lint build-up. Compressed air can aid to takeout thread and lint from the bobbin area, feed dogs, and tension discs.

Make sure that the nozzle is at least four inches of distance from the machine while using compressed air. It is to ensure that you do not add any moisture to the sewing machine.

  • Take the Help of A Professional

If you use your sewing machine more often, then it will need repairs at some point in time. Therefore, it is crucial to find an experienced technician, whom you can trust for this task. Developers have a team of expert technicians to work on the machines.

It is difficult to find an experienced technician who knows his work, but nearby sewing shops may give you recommendations.

  • Wipe it Down after Using

After each use, wipe down your machine with a microfiber cloth to keep it in a pristine condition. Before wiping your sewing machine, make sure to unplug it. Quick cleaning of the bobbin case with a rag can remove all the lint build-up, dust, and thread pieces that can damage your machine.

  • Professional Annual Servicing

Have a professional servicing of your machine every year to keep it in tip-top shape. Annual serving is a heedful idea, even if you have an expensive model or cheap one.

There are some areas of the machine that you cannot reach and clean. For them, you need a satisfactory professional service person. He won’t only adjust the timing and tension during the regular service but also clean the unreachable parts as well without completely taking the whole machine apart.

  • Clean One Part at a Time

The user’s manual you get with your machine directs you on how to clean different parts of your sewing machine properly. It gets confusing once you start opening up your sewing machine and have parts and screws spread across the table.

To avoid this confusion, go for one part at a time. After working and cleaning one part, return it to its original place. You can make sure that you have put all the segments back together correctly in the machine by working a little at a time.

Supplies You Need

Before going to the “how” part of cleaning and maintaining the sewing machine, you need to know what is required. Here is the list of tools you need to clean your sewing machine.

  • Sewing machine oil

You can buy it from your local fabric shop. Make sure it is of good quality and has not discolored.

  • Screwdriver

You get this tool with your machine. But if you have lost it, you can buy a new one from your local market. However, make sure to purchase a screwdriver that is stubby and short.

  • Small brush

Many sewing machines come with a brush to dust out all those small areas. If you do not get it with your sewing machine, buy a 1’’ paintbrush from your local hardware store. The brush is not very expensive.

  • Vacuum attachment kit

It is optional, but if you want to purchase, you can get it from a hardware store. It is ideal for getting in tight spaces.

  • Pipe cleaners

It is a 6’’ piece of white chenille stems. You get a lint brush with your machine, but the one with chenille stems are more preferred.

  • New needles

Schmetz and Inspira are recommended brands of needles. With the machines that have needle threaders, Inspira works better.

  • Magnifying glass

You won’t probably have it in your home. But having one makes it easy to see tiny crevices.

  • Sewing machine manual

All the sewing machines come with a manual, but if you have lost yours, then you can check it online. Almost all manuals can be downloaded from the official website of the company.

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Microfiber cloth or soft cotton balls, and cotton tips
  • Tweezers

How to Clean Your Machine

To clean your sewing machine, you can follow these simple steps:

1. Unplug Your Machine

The first step is to unplug your machine. Remove the throat plate when you are about to clean your sewing machine. Most of the dust and lint gather there. If you are a beginner and do not know how to remove the throat plate, read the manual of your machine. For unscrewing the plate, some sewing machines come with a screwdriver.

2. Use a Nylon Brush to Collect the Dust

To collect all the accumulated dust, use a nylon brush. It will not only remove the lint but also get in between all the crannies and nooks. If your machine has a bobbin case, take that out and clean properly. Make sure to get in-between the feed dogs. To take out the dust, you can even use the end of your screwdriver, all you have to do is push a little.

3. Oil the Part of Your Sewing Machine

After cleaning the lower part of your sewing machine, it is time to oil it. Specially formulated lubricant, sewing machine oil, prevents friction and tearing up of the pieces as well as it makes the machine operate smoothly.

To apply the oil, turn the handwheel back and forth, and look where the friction is created and parts touch. You need to oil them. Put a few drops of sewing machine oil on these moving parts.

Some machines come with a small oil container as well. After oiling, crank the wheel back and forth a few times to work the oil in.

4. Use a Piece of Fabric to Absorb Excess Oil

To absorb the excess oil from the machine, you can use a piece of fabric. You would not want any oil to ruin your next project. After that, install back on the throat plate, and now you can use your sewing machine. Grab a clean cloth and wipe down your entire sewing machine to remove additional leftovers.

Also, do not forget to cover your machine with a case. Although most sewing machines come with a top cover, you can make your own as well. It will prevent dust build-up in the machine.

Final Words

Cleaning is essential to maintain and increase the durability of your sewing machine. If you do it regularly, then you would not need to take it for servicing more often. We hope that you find all these ideas/tips for maintaining your sewing machine helpful. And yes, again, don’t forget to service your sewing machine every year to keep it in a pristine condition.