How To Service A Sewing Machine Yourself: 5 Steps

Last Updated on 6 months by Susan Mayrich

There are five steps to learn how to service a sewing machine. You’ll start with taking it apart correctly and then doing the basic maintenance practices. However, please still consult your manual as this guide is more general. 

how to service a sewing machine

We also recommend that you study how to set up a sewing machine correctly. Most issues that require servicing were caused by improper usage of the device. Give that guide a quick read to use your sewing machine with confidence. 


How Do I Service My Sewing Machine At Home?


Step 1. Take apart the sewing machine

  • Read and study the manual of the specific sewing machine model you have
  • Remove the spools of thread, needle, and the bobbin and its case
  • As mentioned by the New Mexico State University, remember where you removed the sewing machine parts to reinstall them later correctly
  • Remove the screws at the top of the machine or open the lid
  • Turn the wheel towards you to see everything inside much easier
  • Have the manual within reach to compare its diagram with the anatomy of your sewing machine

Step 2. Clean the sewing machine

  • Get a soft cotton cloth and clean the sewing machine
  • Cleaning the unit is essential or else you might need to learn how to unfreeze a sewing machine because of the issues from poor maintenance
  • Use a paintbrush to reach tight spaces all over the machine
  • Do not apply pressure when cleaning the model, or you’ll risk removing some parts
  • Use a soft brush when removing the lint on springs because they might get broken if you’re not gentle
  • Play with the wheel and other mechanisms of the sewing machine to access various areas 

Step 3. Oil the sewing machine

  • Consult the sewing machine manual regarding oiling
  • Find the parts that need oil, typically the areas with friction
  • Use the proper sewing machine oil and do not put too much
  • You can also use oil when cleaning machines before polishing them, as seen in this tutorial on how to polish a vintage Singer sewing machine

Step 4. Continue working on the rest of the sewing machine

  • After the top of the sewing machine, service the left side and bobbin of the sewing machine
  • Open the left panel accordingly and clean the tension knob and thread guides that typically accumulate lint
  • Remove the foot and clean the feed dogs of the machine
  • Remove the needle plate to clean the area underneath it
  • Identify the bobbin system you have to know how to take it apart correctly
  • Remove the metal pieces of the bobbin mechanism and brush off their lint 
  • Oil the moving areas on this side of the sewing machine
  • Wipe the bottom of the sewing machine and oil the areas that need it
  • Reassemble the bobbin mechanism and read this tutorial for putting a bobbin in a sewing machine

Step 5. Reconstruct the sewing machine and finish

  • Give the sewing machine a final wiping
  • Install all the parts you removed from the sewing machine
  • Run the machine without a thread on a piece of scrap fabric to work out the excess grease
  • Thread the sewing machine and sew until the cloth no longer gets oil residue

How Much Does It Cost To Service A Sewing Machine?

You can expect to pay anywhere from $75 or higher if you need to service your sewing machine from professional or certified centers. The price will depend on various factors such as the repair and maintenance the machine needs, the availability of some parts, and even labor. However, it’s also possible to service your unit at home if you’re confident about your knowledge of the model. 

Is it worth it to service a sewing machine?

If you’re unsure what to do with your sewing machine, do not experiment, but bring it to a professional instead. You don’t want to worsen its issue and cost you more headaches accidentally. If the problem can’t be fixed with essential maintenance such as cleaning, oiling, or adjustments, it’s better to have the sewing machine serviced.

If you own a Pfaff, here is how to service a Pfaff sewing machine in more detail. 


What Maintenance Does A Sewing Machine Need?



You can clean your sewing machine weekly or monthly, depending on how often you use it. You also want to pay attention to the handwheel, needle bar, presser foot, hook, and bobbin. Be gentle in wiping or brushing the sewing machine, and remember where each part attaches if you’ll remove them. 



Leave the sewing machine overnight before oiling and read the manual to know what oil to use and where to lubricate. You’ll often need to oil moving parts to keep them running smoothly, but there are holes where you must drop the grease. Read the complete guide on how to oil a sewing machine for the specific steps and considerations.



Most issues on the sewing machine are not serious if you know how to troubleshoot and adjust various mechanisms. Pay attention to the needle, needle plate, feed dog, presser foot, and thread tension. You can always practice sewing on a test fabric to know what adjustments you’ll need. 



Was this article helpful? We have discussed how to service a sewing machine, and it’s a five-step procedure to keep your device running smoothly without you needing to spend too much. However, it’s better to consult a professional if you can’t fix the issue on your machine. 

If you have more questions, let us know below, but please browse our blog for more helpful guides. 


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