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Sewing Machine Maintenance

Updated on October 9, 2009

Sewing Machine Maintenance

I love my sewing machine! I have asked it to do many projects and it always comes through. Are you an avid sewer/crafter? Do you use your sewing machine more than your microwave oven? Is it permanently sitting on your dining room table? If so, your machine is working hard and will need some upkeep. Here are my tips for keeping that machine tip top:

1. Keep it clean. Take a look at your machine. Is it covered with smudges and dirt? Well, chances are the insides are just as dirty. Start by wiping the whole machine down with a damp (not wet-and make sure you unplug it first) cloth. Open the bobbin case. Use tweezers to pull out any lint (if you haven't done this in a long time, there will be a lot) and fuzz that has collected there. Use a "canned air" to blow out any dirt or fuzz that is too small for tweezers. Or, use a small brush on your vacuum to suck out the dirt. This will go a long way to keep your thread from jamming.

Use your canned air or vacuum hose to remove any dirt/fuzz from any crevices around the machine.

2. Oil your machine. Some machines are permanently oiled so you don't have to. The old workhorses I've used, however, have holes in various places for machine oil to be dripped. Buy a good quality machine oil and don't over do it, or you will have grease spots on any projects for a long time. Check your owners manual for where to oil your machine. Turn the gears a few times to distribute the oil and sew a scrap piece of fabric a few times to absorb any oil that may drip down the needle.

3. Check the cord for any worn spots. I know many people will just buy a new machine rather than get a cord replaced, but if you are like me, once you find an old machine that's "just right", you won't want to part from it unless absolutely necessary. My husband is an electrician and he replaced the cord on my Mother's Singer Featherweight machine. It's better to pay someone to replace the cord than to risk electrocution!

4. Do it often. If you sew all the time, clean your machine once a month to keep it in tip top working order. Every few years, I also take my machine to a shop to be professionally tuned and cleaned. It makes a difference, believe me!

5. Use the right needles. Make sure you buy enough sewing machine needles to do the right job. Don't just use whatever needle you have in the machine. Use heavy duty needles for heavy duty jobs, knit needles for knits, etc. It will make the machine work efficiently, and therefore will protect the motor.

6. Cover it up. Make or buy a cover for your machine for when you aren't using it. This will keep dust out of it when you aren't using it. If you keep your machine in a damp basement, you may want to put a couple of those silicone packs you get in shoe boxes that absorb dampness. This will keep any inner parts from rusting.

I hope your sewing machine brings you hours of enjoyment like mine!! Check out some of my projects, and the projects of my friends on my website: If you have sewing projects you have made out of scraps, I'd love to see them!!


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    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L. Cronkite 7 years ago from Maine

      Good instructions for maintaining a sewing machine. I am guilty of not keeping my machine maintained, this hub has inspired me to start. I sew a lot - a few days ago the bobbin cage in my sewing machine became loose causing the thread to tangle and knot, then jamming the needle into the fabric - not good. Hopefully I'll be able to fix it tomorrow!

    • profile image

      Carrie Goff 8 years ago

      Hmmmmm...Not sure to what you are referring, unless it was an ad that posted to my website or article. But, I hope you find something you can use! Thanks for reading!

    • Rosalind56 profile image

      Rosalind56 8 years ago

      My first visit, it looks like it could be interesting. Free sewing machine with possible purchase required....we all know what that means. An hr of data entry and applying for credit cards you don't qualify for or want but if you just buy bla bla for $200 you'll get your free machine. haha ...this site looks like it could be informative though. I will visit again