Keep your sewing machine in top shape

Keep your sewing machine well oiled and lint-free and it can last a lifetime.

Keep your sewing machine in top shape

Keep it covered

  • Dust that settles on your sewing machine can work its way into the moving parts, turning the lubricating oil into gunk.
  • Keep your machine in the case if it has one, or closed if you have a cabinet model.
  • Otherwise, use a plastic cover that you can purchase at a fabric store.

Don’t forget the pedal

  • Residing on the floor, your machine's foot pedal is subjected to more dust and dirt than the machine itself.
  • Keep it clean when not in use by slipping it into a plastic bag and tying the bag around the cord with a twist tie.

Pull the plug

Before you do any cleaning or lubrication work on your sewing machine, make sure it's unplugged.

Give lint the brush off

  • Sewing involves piercing fabric with lots of little holes.
  • This process produces a surprising amount of lint that can gunk up the works, shortening the life of your machine.
  • So keep a small lint brush on your sewing table — one may have come with your machine.
  • A small paintbrush will work, too. Get in the habit of brushing off all easily accessible, movable parts each time you use the machine.
  • These parts include the take-up lever and thread guides, the presser foot and needle bar, and the bobbin case and needle-plate areas.

Clean the exterior

If the surfaces and covers on your sewing machine become dusty or dirty, clean them with a damp, soft cloth and mild soapy solution.

Tweeze the stubborn stuff

  • You may find at times that there are little bits of thread or lint that your brush can't pull out of your sewing machine. But don't give up.
  • You can usually pluck the stuff out with a pair of tweezers. A blast of compressed air from a can does a great job, too.
  • You can even try blowing the lint out with a hair dryer on a cool setting.

Floss your machine

  • Another way to banish the fuzzies from your sewing machine is to slide the edges of a thin piece of muslin between the tension disks (those metal pieces the tread passes through).
  • Make sure that the presser foot is in the up position to slacken the tension springs.
  • If you don't have any muslin, gently slide a credit card between the disks to loosen dust and dirt caught between them.

Use the right lube in the right spots

  • Every sewing machine has its own set of lubrication points, sometimes as many as 30 of them!
  • Check your owner's manual to find the lubrication points.
  • About once a year, depending on how often you sew, put one or two drops of sewing machine oil onto each indicated spot or hole.

Don't use just any oil

  • Use only the oil sold especially for sewing machines to lubricate your machine.
  • Other commonly available lubricants tend to dry too fast and eventually may cause your machine to seize and stop.

A thorough servicing for your machine

  • If your sewing machine is giving you problems, a more thorough cleaning may be all that is needed to get it humming smoothly again.
  • This involves some disassembly of the machine.
  • You can take the machine to a shop where they will clean it and replace any parts that might be worn. Or you could do it yourself.
  • This doesn't take special skill; you just need to be organized and keep track of the parts you remove.
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