Field Notes

How to clean your sewing machine

17 April 2017

Posted in: Good to Know

Got sewing machine problems?? Maybe it is just a bit dirty... Here are some of the easiest ways to clean your sewing machine. 

Common problems that are fixed by just a quick clean

"My bobbin thread was being terrible and looping and breaking. I couldn't sew." - Give it an oil and it'll be back to normal.
"My machine is jammed!" - Regularly clean out the dust using a brush.
"My stitch plate hasn’t been fitting well, it pops up randomly and I’ve broken countless needles because of it" - Remove that stitch plate and clean it out. Remove the stitch plate and take out all the dust, clip the stitch plate back in place securely.
"I'm having tension problems." - Often it isn’t a tension problem, it’s a bent or burred or dull needle... replace this first.

Top Tips
  • Never, ever EVER use 3-in-1 oil. While it does have a sewing machine on the can, it is not sewing machine oil, and can lock up your machine because it's too heavy. Only oil it with real sewing machine oil.
  • NEVER BLOW OUT THE LINT - Since there is oil used to keep everything running smoothly, the lint might just stick other places that you can't reach. Instead, use the small brush that comes with your machine to clean it out. A stiff, clean paint brush would work just as well.
  • Clean the exterior of the machine with a soft cloth. 
  • Instead of putting your old needle back in, replace it with a new one. It will really help your machine’s performance.
  • If you’re worried you can’t find lint free fabric for cleaning, you can always use a crisp dollar piece of paper to clean out the tension disks.
  • Keep your machine covered! That’s right, most machines come with a simple dust cover. Use it! Dust from lint gets everywhere in your sewing space.
  • Do not use old or vintage thread. Technology has changed and advanced so much over the years. Vintage threads tend to produce more loose fibers and lint will accumulate faster. Save the vintage spools for a pretty display.

Sign up for our newsletters