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How to maintain your sewing machine

How to Maintain Your Sewing Machine?

The sewing machines for the professional, novice or the hobbyists demands some sort of maintenance in order to make them last longer and perform without any trouble. The maintenance related steps should be taken with respect to the usage of the machine. You really don’t need to rush into the things if you are not well aware about the procedure of cleaning or maintaining your sewing machine. It is because the lesser awareness about the maintenance of the machine can lead to malfunctioning of the system which in return will cost even more. Look into this guide and you will find some really cool tips for the purpose of cleaning and/ or maintenance of your sewing machine.


The Importance of Maintaining Your Sewing Machine:

How to maintain your sewing machineThe experts of the sewing machine say that the majority of the problems that occur in the sewing machines are usually because of their poor or no maintenance done at all. This thing clearly summarizes everything about the importance of the maintenance/ cleaning of the sewing machine, but there is a lot more than this about the maintenance aspect of such systems. A sewing machine has a mechanical setup which with usage shows a lot of wear and tear. This asks the user to do its proper and timely maintenance. There are two aspects of cleaning/maintenance of such systems, which are given as follows:

  • Day to day cleaning – The day to day cleaning asks for monitoring the daily performance of the system and take the necessary steps which are important. The user manual of the machine must be your benchmark for all the maintenance related steps that you wish to take. You must check for the condition of the needle and the performance of the bobbin and thread tension, etc. after having each of your sewing sessions. Make sure to cover your machine with a protective cover so that it stays safe from all the dust and debris which easily find its way down to the internal mechanics of the equipment.
  • Cleaning/ maintenance in the long run – In the long run, you need to check as when the machine needs to be oiled and when the particular components of the system should be replaced. The rule of thumb is to investigate your equipment deeply after every major project and replace it needles straightaway with the new one without actually checking its condition. The machine must be frequently oiled and the frequency of this thing is dependent on the usage of the machine. The bobbin and the thread tension pose the major challenge which must be ideally adjusted to its best condition just as you finish up with any of your major projects.

Some Bad Habits That Ruin a Sewing Machine and Lower Its Performance:

Sometimes it is not a technical fault in the sewing machine that makes thing difficult in a sewing machine. Rather, it is your habits that make  things more problematic while practicing or using a  simple stitch.

So, in order to let you know what habits can ruin your sewing machine’s overall performance and condition, here are few things you should avoid:

  • Using inappropriate needle according to the cloth being stitched
  • Using a low quality thread or a thread with an improper thickness, that doesn’t suit the fabric you are working on.
  • Setting up the tension discs too loose or too tight.
  • Not cleaning and lubricating your machine for months.
  • Stitching up very thick or hard fabric that may exert extra pressure on internal parts.
  • Power input through low or fluctuating power source
  • Keeping your machines uncovered, outside or in a dusty area.

All these habits make a machine vulnerable to a number of issues like frequent thread breakage, needle breakage and uneven or jumped stitches. In case you want to use your machine and need it run smoothly you’ll have to make sure you don’t follow such practices, and if you do so, you should correct yourself in order to let your sewing machine work smoothly without any issues.

You should make sure you take care of your machine like a precious property and not just an ordinary thing.

Step by Step Guide to Clean Your Sewing Machine:

No matter, whichever sewing machine you have, you are bound to clean it regularly in order to avoid ant troubleshooting frustration. All the machine types including the electrical, mechanical or the computerized ones goes with the same basics and demands the same level of maintenance related input from your side. There are a number of procedural steps that you must take in order to ensure the quality performance of the equipment over a longer period of time. If you have taken the right decision initially to buy the equipment from the well-known maker, then such machines can serve you with decades of flawless performance.

However, the best performance demands some considerable input from your side which is categorized under the maintenance or the cleaning of the equipment. The maintenance or the cleaning of such sewing machines is a complete procedure which requires you to take certain steps in the proper order. This is also the sole agenda of this guide and hopefully, you will have a crystal clear idea as how to go with the cleaning of your machine, once you read the concluding notes of this guide. The following are the major steps that you are bound to perform in order to make your machine last for decades with no deterioration noticed at all in its performance:

Things That You Will Need for the Purpose of Cleaning Your Sewing Machine

In order to clean up your sewing machine, you’ll need to have some tools and helpful items, that would make the process easier and would result into better cleaning than ever. So, don’t forget to collect all the important things before you open up the machine and start the cleaning process.

It would be mandatory because if you dont, you may lose a lot of time searching for necessary tools and items that you need to remove lint or dust easily from minor parts of the sewing machine.

1. Mandatory:

  • User manual of the product
  • Lint brush
  • Needles
  • Soft/ damp cloth
  • Sewing machine oil

2. Optional:

3. Start with dusting using the lint brush:

This is your first point of contact to start the actual cleaning of the sewing machine. The prerequisite to the starting of actual cleaning is to first make sure that the machine is switched off and totally unplugged from the socket. Then just discard the existing needle. Then it comes to the removal of the needle plate and the presser foot. Your user manual can help you with the proper removal of such components of the machine. Same goes with the removal of the bobbin and the bobbin case where again your user manual can be the best guide.

The cleaning process

The following are the major steps to perform for the cleaning of your machine:

1. Remove the dust and the link from deeper areas:

After removing all these components, you are in the best position to finally start the dusting and overall cleaning of your machine using the lint brush. Lint brush is the easiest to find tool, but you can also use the vacuum or the canned air system for achieving the same. Use the brush or the other equipment for removing all the dust from the exposed parts of the inside. You should make sure you take care of the main rod, needle bar, foot bar and other joints that you can easily reach through using the brush you have. Using a vacuum or compressed air will make sure, you have removed all dust and lint from deeper regions of your sewing machine.

2. Cleaning the feed dogs:

The feed dogs must be properly brushed off and then give ample amount of time to collect all the dust from the race area of the machine. Due to the fact, the area has the most frequent exposure to the dust and the lint, and if this area remains dirty or filled with threads and lint, you cannot expect to have a clean and smooth stitching on any fabric. You should make sure there is not such things left behind

3. Clean the race area:

The race area is a bit tricky one to clean, especially if you are using the canned air or the vacuum for cleaning. You need to make sure that the dust doesn’t go further inside into the race area.  The technique should be to use your hand for blowing by moving it right to left and back to front.

4. Cleaning the tension disc:

If you have a sewing machine which has a side cover, then remove it next to clean the thread path. If there is no side cover, then you can use a blower or a vacuum for blowing lint all through the thread paths. The tension disks of the equipment will be thoroughly done after the completion of this step. The tension disks could also be cleaned in another way by raising the presser foot, which will disengage the tension disks. After that, a cotton thread or maybe a dental floss should be made to run through the thread channel in the back and forth direction.

Reassembling of the Machine

At this point, the race component of the sewing machine should be reassembled. Make sure you put each and every part in the right place and with the correct alignment. You should make sure to do the following things:

  • Switch on your sewing machine and make it run without a needle, presser foot, bobbin case for a few seconds. This step will ensure that all the internal mechanics are working properly after cleaning.
  • Turn the sewing machine off once again. Replace all the removed equipment back to their proper locations which includes your needle, needle plate, bobbin, bobbin case and the presser foot.
  • The new needle should be inserted and make sure that you are well aware of the flat side which must be faced in the upward direction.

1. Oiling or lubrication:

Oiling your machine or lubricating the internal parts of the machine is one of the most important and crucial step to make sure you have got your machine cleaned up thoroughly.

It is because when you use a lubricating agent, it will reach out all the places and minor parts easily and will help you remove any dirt that is there. Also, this will help you maintain a smooth surface to reduce friction between machine parts and to run the machine without any rouble in a smooth and easy way.

2. Best practices to lubricate the sewing machine:

So, here is how you should lubricate or oil your sewing machine:

  1. First pour a few drops of oil right on the top hole that is present anywhere on the top most area of the machine cover. From there the oil will reach out the lower parts like the needle bar and will lubricate the whole lever. It will help the needle bar move smoothly without any glitches.
  2. Then put some drops into the feed dogs and race area. This will also help you to make sure there is no friction within the race area and the feed dogs and all surfaces are clean and clear.
  3. Then lift up the base of the machine and you will see and longer rod that connects and runs the machine function together, pour  a few drops where the joint is located.
  4. Now put the machine in sunlight for an hour or more. This practice will increase the temperature of the oil that has been applied, and the oil will expand and cover all the areas thoroughly. Also, the excess oil will leave the machine parts.
  5. After that you will have to run your machine No need to put in any thread or cloth. After running the machine for a few minutes, you should pick up a cotton cloth, double fold it and put it into the feed area. Then run the machine again for a few minutes. This practice will help you remove excess oil from the needle and the feed area, so that the oil would not harm your clothes when you actually start stitching your clothes.

How Often Shall I Lubricate?

This is the question which most of the professionals ask even. The confusion actually lies in the need and the time when you need to lubricate the machine. However, it is advised to lubricate your sewing machine with oil, once it is completely lint free.

It is the newest machine actually which doesn’t require frequent lubrication. Lubricate it when your sewing machine starts to show the initial signs of wear and tear.

Also for best results, if you have to use your sewing machine frequently, you should make sure you clean and oil your sewing machine once in 2-3 months, even if you have got a new machine.

Sewing machines need lubrication when you start seeing faulty stitches or frequent thread breakage.

Oiling reduces the chances of friction, that in turn can help you avoid frequent damages to the internal parts of the machine, will give smooth thread movement and easy running of the machine and would not cause the machine to become heavy or difficult while functioning.

1. Cleaning the exterior:

Clean all the exterior of the sewing machine using a clean and damp cotton cloth. Cleaning the exterior is important because it will make sure you have got the machine in its best condition and appearance. Also, you should not leave any dirt or oil as it may harm your clothes that you are going to stitch.

2. Cautions for cleaning and using your sewing machine:

The following are the major cautions related to the cleaning or usage of your sewing machine to which you must adhere to:

  • For all the safety instructions and information about handling your product without any issue; you must refer to your user manual all the time when doing the cleaning.
  • Make sure that you always switch off the sewing machine and unplug it from the power socket for any little or major cleaning that you are looking to do.
  • The needle should carefully be discarded when needed. There is a must thing to ensure that you are well aware about its flat side and you know how to handle it while removing or discarding it.
  • The race area of the equipment is the trickiest one to remove. You need to be 100 percent sure that how you actually had removed it so that you know as how to put it back in. Putting it back in the wrong way could lead you to severe damaging of the equipment after you switch it on.
  • When you are lubricating your sewing machine, then be sure to use only the oil recommended by the manufacturer for the purpose. The usage of domestic oil or the WD-40 is not recommended mostly.
  • Make sure to keep your machine well away from any dust area. This causes slow damaging of the machine which usually gets unnoticed by the user. Do over it with a protective casing and place it in a nice and clean environment.

3. Tips to maintain your sewing machine on a regular basis:

The following are the major tips to keep in mind once you are looking to maintain your sewing machine on a regular basis:

  • It has been noted that dust and pet hair, etc, quickly makes their way into the internal components of the sewing machine which can build up with time to severe the situation. The best rule to consider in your maintenance of the sewing machine is to make it covered with a machine protective cover all the time when it is not in use.
  • Be sure that you handle your machine every time with clean hands. Just a little bit of dirty hands could do a complete mess of your machine and also the fabric.
  • Try to do the basic cleaning of the exterior and to some extent of the interior after each use.
  • The needles of the sewing machine must be changed regularly. They are very inexpensive and there is no harm in replacing them after each of your major or minor sewing projects.
  • Make sure that you are well equipped with the user manual of the product. If there is any significant problem, then do call in an authorized troubleshooter of the machine or take the equipment to the shop for getting it done right in the proper manner.

How to Make Your Sewing Machine a Lifelong Companion?

The best sewing machines from the best manufacturers are marketed with its ability to last for decades. This thing is further endorsed once you see several machines coming with a decade long warranty. A few machines are available with a warranty of 25 years,  even which is as good as a lifetime. However, the product can only last for such a long time if good care is taken in terms of performance, cleaning and the maintenance of the sewing machines. You must look after its major components for their performance and make sure that you timely replace any lesser performing component. Apart from this, serious cleaning must be done once in a while which surely will make your equipment your lifetime companion.


The cleaning of the sewing machine is as impost as using it. The performance of the sewing machine is highly dependent on that how much good you are with its cleaning. There is a complete procedure for cleaning which you must follow. Referring to the product’s manual is highly important and you must follow all the directions given by the maker as long as the maintenance of the equipment is concerned. Also, if you have a right routine to clean up your machine and you never compromise in any way while cleaning and maintaining it, then there is no doubt, that your sewing machine would be a long lasting sewing companion of yours.

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