How to Maintain Your Sewing Machine

comments (5) July 18th, 2008     

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MaryRay Mary Ray, contributor
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Regular maintenance is important for every sewing machine, whether its old or new.
When all that lint and dust pile up under the throat plate, you just cant sew smoothly and it can harm your machine.
Use a small brush to gently pick out those large gobs of fiber.
Regular maintenance is important for every sewing machine, whether its old or new.

Regular maintenance is important for every sewing machine, whether it's old or new.

Photo: Mary Ray

I was just doing a routine cleaning of my sewing machines and it occurred to me that you all might need a reminder to do this, too. It takes away a little time from your sewing, but it’s very important. So, I’m going to sound like a mom here and tell you to take a break right now—if you haven’t done this in a while—and get the gunk out of your machine! Always check your manual to find out the maintenance procedure for your machine (some machines don’t need oiling, but they all require cleaning) as well as the proper way to remove the throat plate and all the other parts down there, like the bobbin case. If you’ve lost your manual, check out SewUsa. They have a long list of makes and models that they can supply manuals for at around $10.00 each.

Maintain your machine on a regular basis and it will last forever. You don’t need a sewing-machine mechanic for routine maintenance, but you should schedule a visit to your dealer if your machine hasn’t had a check up for a while.

1. Threads, lint, and batting can really make a mess under the throat plate, so clean out that area often!


When all that lint and dust pile up under the throat plate, it can harm your machine and you just can't sew smoothly.

2. Gently pick out the lint with a brush. It's tempting to blow it out, but this can lodge it in further as well as introduce moisture to the parts.


Use a small brush to gently pick out those large gobs of fiber.

3. A small vacuum nozzle (I use my handy Dustbuster) will get out fine fiber particles.


A low-suction vacuum can remove fibers from hidden places.

4. Clean the hook and the bobbin case with a soft cloth.


A gentle cleaning with a soft cloth will pick up additional particles and excess oil.

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Comments (5)

writerinfact writes: Why pay for a manual when you can go to the web site of the machine's manufacturer and (probably) download it as a PDF for free? At the very least, there will be a "contact us" link you can use to ask for a copy of the manual. Be sure you include the model of your machine. I've downloaded free copies of manuals for everything from my digital camera to my universal remote.

But thanks for the reminder to perform regular maintenance. It's vital, especially given the amount paid for the machine, and how much the repairman charges for a "tune-up."
Posted: 4:04 am on June 28th
sophiecai writes: i've just bought one new sewing machine....thanks...gonna try it later
Posted: 8:40 pm on February 15th
LittleAmiss writes: It's funny that I used to not even think about it, but the sewing machine is a machine, and like any other, it need to be maintained. It always amazes me how much lint can collect under the needle plate. Last spring my mom and I took a 3 day basic sewing machine repair class, it was great! I learned so much on caring and maintaining my machine. If you like you can get more info on that here: http://www.whitesewingcenter.com/repairclass.php
Posted: 7:25 pm on August 3rd
zanygumby writes: This step by step instruction is great! Especially the Pictures. I will make sure to take better care of my sewing machine from now on, thank you very much.
Posted: 9:57 am on July 26th
artlikebread writes: Wow, this is so helpful. No one ever taught me this, but I knew I *should* be cleaning my machine... Now I know how. Thanks!
Posted: 1:37 pm on July 18th
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