How To Clean And Oil A Sewing Machine? 6 Easy Steps!

Last Updated on 11 months by Susan Mayrich

How to clean and oil a sewing machine is a question for everyone owning one, whether you’re a sewing machine beginner or experienced.

How to clean a sewing machine

Cleaning a sewing machine is so important, and your sewing machine needs to be cleaned regularly so that you can easily sew your projects. Keeping your sewing machine clean is like cleaning your car, house, or toilet.

The slim fluff can build up quickly inside your sewing machine, and if you leave it for too long, it will jam up and cause many problems. So in this article, we will show you how to give your sewing machine a perfect clean with these sewing machine tips. You can also watch the video at the end on how to maintain a sewing machine. Let’s get started!


Things You Should Never Do

Before we go deep into how to clean and oil a sewing machine, there are things you should never do while doing sewing machine maintenance.


#1. Don’t use an air blower to clean the sewing machine

Using an air blower will spoil your sewing machine by pushing the lint and dust further into your sewing machine. Instead, you can use a standard or handheld vacuumer while setting its average sucking level. You can also use anything we use to clean a computer keyboard.


#2. Never use excessive oil

Yes, oiling your sewing machine is important, but using too much oil will lint, and more dirt is attracted. It’s advisable to use a brush, apply a little bit of oil on the meeting and use this brush to remove the dirt while oiling the machine with the correct amount.


#3. Never clean a sewing machine while unplugged

Whether it is a sewing machine or any other electric device, it is crucial to be cleaned while unplugged to avoid any problems. Remove the electrical cord altogether and start washing the machine.


What Are The Materials And Tools For Cleaning The Machine?

  • A good sponge
  • Sewing machine manual
  • Any brush
  • A tweezer
  • A large upholstery needle
  • Cleaning cloth or a small piece of cotton
  • Screwdriver (small and big)
  • A pipe cleaner


Optional tools

  • A torchlight
  • Magnifying glass
  • Small vacuum cleaner


How To Clean Sewing Machine Step-By-Step

Note: Before removing anything from the machine, take a picture of what it looks like so you can align all the pieces in the machine before you put them back because it might be a little bit hard to know.

The needle area, bobbin case area, presser foot, under the feed dogs, and the race are the main parts of your sewing machine which need to be cleaned regularly.


What Is The First Thing To Do Before Cleaning The Sewing Machine?

The first thing to do is turn off your sewing machine and completely unplug it to avoid mishaps. Read the sewing machine manual on removing the presser foot and needle after removing both. Then remove the throat plate or stitch plate. The throat plate is mostly where fabric fibers and dust gather the most. Therefore, we use the screwdriver to remove the throat plate. Follow these steps:


Step #1. Read the instruction manual

It’s essential to check and read what is in the instruction manual, whether a sewing machine or any other electric device. These user manuals contain what you should and shouldn’t do. And they have precautions you need to take depending on a specific model or brand.

Note: If you lost or didn’t have a user manual, you can easily download it online from the manufacturer’s website. You can download the Sewing machine Instruction manual for Singer Models here ( Singer machine manuals ), and for more other Brands, check on our Sewing Machine Instruction Manual Guide here (sewing machine manuals)


Step #2. Clean the exterior

The machine also needs to be cleaned in the outside area before considering the inside of the machine to remove all the dust.


Step #3. Cleaning the bobbin area

The bobbin case contains dust as well. So after removing the bobbin case from a sewing machine, take the bobbin out and do some cleaning of the bobbin case.


Step #4. Clean the needle area

After removing the needle and the presser foot, it’s time to clean the needle area. You can also remove the needle holder to clean the area quickly. With the help of the brush, start cleaning the area around the needle and remove all fabric and pieces of lint.


Step #5. Cleaning the bobbin and other areas

Clean the bottom load bobbin area. Then clean every single nook and cranny and clean it out. Clean under the feed dogs inside. Then use a vacuum cleaner to suck all the dust inside the race area. Put back the stitch plate and bobbin case, and stitch plate. Then replace the needle with the new one and put back the presser foot.


Step #6. Oil the sewing machine

Now that we have cleaned the sewing machine, it’s time to start oiling the device by applying tiny drops around the bobbin center.

Note: You should check your sewing machine manual to see if you should oil your sewing machine. Some computerized sewing machines and newer versions don’t need oil.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Let’s answer a few questions:


Is baby oil used in oil a sewing machine?

You shouldn’t use baby oil to oil your sewing machine. The baby oil can’t keep your machine well lubricated as the baby oil is mineral oil with fragrances. So instead, use a sewing machine oil made for these machines.


How do I remove fluff and dust from my sewing machine?


How do I clean my Singer sewing machine?

Watch this video on how to clean my singer sewing machine


How often should you clean and lubricate the sewing machine?

The lubricating frequency of your sewing machine depends on several factors, such as if you’re in a dusty environment, the machine speed you sew at, the thread, and the type of fabric. The lint will observe more oil when the thread or fabric is more linty.

Again if you sew at high speed, the friction and heat generated take all the oil. So it would help if you oiled your sewing every time you change 2 or 4 bobbins.


It’s A Wrap!

After reading this article, we hope you’ll learn how to clean and oil a sewing machine. Though you clean your sewing machine regularly, it’s better to take it for servicing once or twice a year to check all settings and replace other parts if necessary.

You may also want to read about why is my sewing machine not moving the fabric – here are the causes and sewing machine loose stitches on bottom.

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