How To Clean Sewing Machine: The Best 3-Step Guide

Last Updated on 1 year by Susan Mayrich

If you want to know how to clean sewing machine, we’ll discuss three basic steps. This article will even share the general guidelines for maintaining a sewing machine. Furthermore, you’ll learn tips regarding how often you must clean your unit to keep it running smoothly.

how to clean sewing machine

Speaking of running smoothly, do you know how to service a sewing machine for maintenance? Read our separate guide about it because it might save you a couple of bucks in the long run. 


How Do I Clean My Sewing Machine Step By Step?


Step 1. Prepare the machine

  • Refer to the manual of the specific sewing machine model you have and study it carefully
  • Turn off and unplug your sewing machine
  • Take out the parts that the manual recommends for cleaning
  • You can unscrew or slide off the throat plate to access the buildup of debris 

Step 2. Brush and wipe the machine

  • Use a soft paintbrush to clean and reach the tight areas all over the sewing machine
  • For larger surfaces, you can use a cotton cloth to wipe the sewing machine
  • Do not use canned air because it can push the debris deeper into the nooks and crannies
  • Be gentle in cleaning the sewing machine to avoid accidentally dislodging some parts

Step 3. Oil the machine

  • After cleaning the machine, read the manual and study the brand’s recommendations regarding oiling
  • Use the recommended type and amount of oil for your machine, and remember the areas where to drop it
  • You will need to lubricate the areas of the sewing machine that moves to prevent friction that wears them quickly
  • Run the machine with a scrap material to work in the oil and remove the excess grease
  • Wipe the sewing machine and install the parts you removed

How Do You Deep Clean A Sewing Machine?

Deep cleaning the sewing machine means focusing on areas that get dirty and debris more than other parts of the unit. According to the New Mexico State University, you need to pay special attention to the needle bar and presser foot, hook and bobbin, and the handwheel and clutch of the sewing machine. Of course, you should still refer to your model’s manual for specific instructions regarding maintenance. 

  1. Take out the bobbin case to access and brush the lint buildup out much easily
  2. If the debris is hard to brush out from the bobbin area, use tweezers
  3. The hook can also have threads that you can remove but you can take out the entire hook assembly if needed
  4. Check if your sewing machine recommends lubricating the hook and bobbin race
  5. Unscrew the faceplate of your machine to access and clean the needle and presser foot
  6. Use the proper cleaning fluid if there is grease on the presser bar and needle bar
  7. Brush the lint off the faceplate area and oil the moving parts before returning the plate
  8. Remove the sewing machine’s clutch and handwheel and remember how they install
  9. Clean the shaft, handwheel and washer, and oil the parts that need it
  10. Reassemble the sewing machine and let it dry thoroughly

How Often Should I Clean My Sewing Machine?

Cleaning the machine depends on the project you’re sewing and how often you use the unit. You can clean it as often as weekly for basic cleaning such as wiping and brushing off debris, while monthly deep cleaning should suffice, especially for removing grease and other buildup. If you notice issues during sewing, it’s also a sign to check your sewing machine for cleaning and oiling. 

How Often Are We Going To Clean And Oil The Sewing Machine Why Is It Necessary To Do It?

Depending on usage, you must clean and oil the sewing machine every few months or much more often. Maintenance is necessary to keep the device working smoothly and also prevent damage to it. In general, most sewing machine issues are also easily fixed if you clean it first before doing other repairs. 

For example, dust, lint, thread, and grease can accumulate on the sewing machine over time. However, you only need to wipe or brush them off, and issues such as freezing might be fixed. Furthermore, proper lubrication of the sewing machine should prevent noises and wear, so consider reading this guide on how to oil a sewing machine to know more about this maintenance practice. 

What Part Of The Sewing Machine Need To Be Clean?


  • Exterior of the sewing machine

Dust and dirt can collect on the exterior of the sewing machine. Therefore, use a cover on the machine when it’s not in use to keep debris from collecting on its nooks and crannies that are harder to access to clean. 


  • Take-up lever and tension disks

Check the manual if you can remove the cover to reach the take-up lever and tension disks or run a fabric inside the lever channel since it gets dirty. Some disks may also be easier to clean with a vacuum. 


  • Needle and bobbin area

Remove the needle holder, needle, and presser foot. Use a brush or vacuum to remove the debris and dust in these areas.



And that’s it! We just discussed how to clean sewing machine at home, and it’s as easy as preparing the unit, wiping and brushing certain areas, and then lubricating the machine. It’s also important to read the manual to avoid doing practices not recommended by the manufacturer. 

We hope this was helpful; leave us a question if you still have any. 


Leave a Comment