Sewing Machine Judge

How To Oil A Sewing Machine In 4 Easy Steps

sewing machine with thread on the table

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sewing machine with thread on the tableImage source: Pixabay

Your sewing machine does so much for you, and you probably really enjoy using it for creative endeavors. To ensure that it lasts for a long time, you want to make sure you’re taking care of it. 


Keeping it clean and oiled is a great way to accomplish that task. If you’re unsure how to oil a sewing machine, read on to get some answers!

Having a well-oiled sewing machine will ensure that it works the way it should. It doesn’t take long for dirt and dust, along with fabric debris, to build up in your machine. This can cause problems in the long run, so taking a few minutes to clean your machine can be incredibly beneficial.


Like many mechanical parts, your sewing machine should be lubricated to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Sewing machine oil has been designed specifically as a lubricant for sewing machines. Depending on the type of machine you have, it may be required that you oil your machine after 8 hours of use.


The purpose of the oil is to reduce the amount of friction that may occur between parts. This will keep them from grinding and rubbing against one another, which could wear them down. If the parts do grind or rub against each other, this could prevent the machine from running at all.

In general, there are three different types of oil that can be used on your sewing machine. They include the following:

Mineral Oil

This oil is derived from petrochemicals or other substances that are made from petroleum. Mineral oil has no odor and a watery white appearance.

It is the most effective choice when it comes to lubricating your machine, and it’s the most common type of sewing machine oil.

Synthetic Oil

This is an artificial alternative to using mineral oil. If your machine has a lot of plastic, rubber, or painted surfaces, then this oil is safer to use.

More often than not, synthetic oil is more expensive than mineral oil, but it may be worth the investment if it protects certain components on your machine.

Natural Oil

These oils are often made from ester, silicone, or jojoba. While they are natural and safe to use, they often aren’t as effective when oiling your machine.

If they haven’t been mixed properly, they can damage your machine and gum up the parts.

Which Oil Is Right for You?

While using natural oils for your machine is always an option, it’s not recommended. Thus, the other two choices include mineral and synthetic. If your owner’s manual recommends one over the other, then using that one is probably your best bet.However, if the choice is left up to you, then deciding to use mineral or synthetic will be up to personal preference. Neither one will harm your machine if it is used properly. If you have kids around who are curious or who may also be using the machine, then mineral oil might be your best option.Mineral oil is not harmful to humans or animals, and it doesn’t leave a residue after use. Since it is also the least expensive of the two options, if you find that you have to oil your machine often, this might be the best choice.When it comes to synthetic oil, this not only lubricates the metal components but also the plastic ones. It can be safer to use if you have a lot of plastic on your machine. Synthetic oil can also reduce the amount of thread breakage that may occur while working on a project.Although it is more expensive, synthetic oil comes with some benefits. Finding the right one for your machine may require some research. However, taking the time to find the right one will keep your machine running for a long time.It should be noted that you should never use oils on your machine that haven’t been specifically made for sewing. This includes cooking oil and motor oil. Both of these can cause serious damage or cause components to malfunction.

Is Oiling Your Sewing Machine Necessary?


Whether it’s your car or your sewing machine, keeping it oiled is important. Not only does it ensure that the moving parts slide by each other without causing undue friction, but it also keeps your machine protected from dirt and other debris. If these are allowed to build up, then it won’t work as well as it should.

In addition, adding oil to your sewing machine can reduce the chance of rust forming. If this takes hold of any parts, your machine will not work well at all. Without oil or with a layer of rust, the parts may also stop moving or move slowly, and this can have a huge impact on being able to work on a project.


sewing machine oiled by the owner

Image source: pexels

When it comes to how to oil a sewing machine and how often it needs to be done, it will depend on how you use your machine. If you are the type of person who uses it every day, then you might need to oil it at least three times a week. However, some people may recommend that you oil it before each use.


The type of fabric you are sewing with will also play a role in how often you need to take care of your machine. If you are always sewing with velvet or velvet-like materials that shed, you’ll need to clean and oil your machine on a more frequent basis.

You’ll want to be careful that you don’t over oil your machine. While this won’t cause damage to any of the components, it could get onto your project. Getting oil out of any material can be incredibly difficult, so using the right amount is recommended.Consulting your owner’s manual and seeing what it recommends for how often you should oil your machine is beneficial. This will ensure that you are oiling it as much as necessary to keep it running right.

Here’s How to Oil a Sewing Machine in 4 Steps

tailor working using sewing machine

Image source: Burst

After finding the right oil for your machine, you are ready to learn how to oil a sewing machine. Below are the steps to ensure that the job is done right.

Step 1

The first thing you’ll want to do is unplug the machine. This will ensure that the pedal doesn’t accidentally get pushed while you are working, which could potentially injure you or hurt the machine.


You’ll then need to remove the throat plate. Under here is where most of the dust and fabric fibers will gather.

If you’re unsure of how to remove the throat plate, consult your owner’s manual. For some machines, you may have to use a screwdriver to get this off, while others may just slide off.

Step 2

Using a nylon brush, remove all of the dirt and debris from the area. Make sure to get into every nook and cranny. If your machine is outfitted with a bobbin case, make sure to take that out and clean it thoroughly. Don’t forget to get in between the feed dogs. Dirt and dust also like to collect in that area.

It’s not recommended that you use canned air to clean this part of your machine. The blast can wedge debris deeper into the machine where it will be impossible to remove. This could cause damage that will require a professional to fix.

Step 3

After this part of your machine has been cleaned, you are ready to add some oil. Using your hand, turn the wheel on your machine and pay attention to the moving parts. You’ll want to note where the parts touch one another as this is where you will be placing the oil.Using one or two drops, apply the oil to the machine and then turn the wheel a few times to work the oil into the machine. It’s best to start with a small amount of oil and see how the machine operates. If it makes noise or doesn’t seem to move freely, then adding some more can be beneficial.

Step 4

Using a scrap piece of fabric, soak up any extra oil that may be lurking in your machine. This will ensure that it doesn’t get on your next project and ruin it. Once that has been taken care of, replace the throat plate. After wiping down the exterior of your machine, it will be ready to use again.Before jumping into your project, you may want to use a piece of scrap fabric and do some test seams. This will allow you to make sure that the machine is running smoothly and that excess oil won’t get onto the fabric. If it does, you’ll be thankful that you used a scrap piece!


woman  working on  using sewing machine

Image source: unsplash

Knowing how to oil a sewing machine is important in keeping it running right. 


Whether you use the machine on a daily basis or once in a while, having it work properly is imperative.

It’s not hard to learn how to oil a sewing machine, but doing it right and using the right oil will keep your machine from getting damaged.

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