What is the number one thing you can do to make sure that your sewing machine keeps working well? Clean the lint out. This is a by-product of sewing that can’t be avoided. The more you use the machine, the more lint gathers up in the gut of the machine. You can keep your machine working smoothly and avoid paying for major repairs if you look out after it periodically. Regular maintenance can save you a trip to the repair shop.
The frequency of these quick clean-ups depends on how often you use the machine. It’s best you clean the lint after every 8 to 10 hours of using the machine, but you can do it after every use as well. Look in the bobbin case, and if you see lint gathering up, it’s time for maintenance.
If your machine has trouble working, try cleaning it first. There are three basic things you can try if you experience a malfunction. First, re-thread the needle and the bobbin. Then, insert a brand new needle, and clean the machine before re-starting it.
Many problems are caused by the dust and lint that get into the working parts of the machine. After you clean the machine and it still doesn’t work properly, you’ll have to take it to the local repair shop. If you continue using it, you could cause even bigger problems.
We are now going to go through the step by step process of cleaning your sewing machine.
Find the instruction manual
You shouldn’t do anything until you have your machine’s instruction manual in front of you. Most sewing machines need the same maintenance, but you should still consult the instruction manual.
You will also need a lint brush (most machines come with one). If you don’t have one, you can get it at the local fabric store, but you can also use a small cleaning brush as well. Replace the old needles with new ones. You should always have them on hand if anything goes wrong and it’s best you start every project with new needles. Last but not least, you need a soft cloth like muslin.
The step by step cleaning process
- Unplug your sew machine
- Remove the old needle and discard it but remember the direction of the flat side of the needle. It usually faces the back of the machine, butmachines that have side-loading bobbins often have needles that face to the right.
- Follow the instruction manual and remove the presser foot and the needle plate.
- Take the bobbin and the bobbin case out of their place
- Use the lint brush or a vacuum to remove all the lint and dust from the pieces you removed
- Your manual should also show how to remove the “race area” (the place where the bobbin case is located). If you find it in the manual, make sure you follow the instructions carefully because putting the bobbin case back can be tricky. This is a step that’s usually done by the repairman, but you can do it if you feel comfortable with it.
- Brush the lint of the feed dogs first
- Then get rid of the lint and dirt in the race area and under the feed dogs.
- Put the race area back together
- If your sewing machine has a solid cover, remove it and clean the thread path out, if not, use a vacuum and blow air through the thread paths to clean the tension disks out.
- Use the soft cloth to clean the exterior of the machine
- Plug your sew machine back and turn it on. Try running it without any accessories and needles first, just to make sure it’s working properly.
- Turn it off again
- Replace the bobbin case, the bobbin, the needle plate, and the presser foot.
- Insert a new needle and make sure it’s facing the right side
Lubrication or no Lubrication?
Lubrication is not necessary for all sewing machines. Some newer models don’t need any lubrication, but if they do, make sure you use the right type of oil. Don’t use household oil or WD-40. When you are done with the oil, put a cloth under the presser foot to soak the oil that was left behind.