Complete Guide: How to clean a sewing machine

Learning how to clean your sewing machine is essential if you want it to last. You will need to know how to clean the bobbin case, needle, and other parts of your machine. This will help keep it in good working order and prevent any buildup of dirt or lint that could cause problems. In this article we shall explain to you how to clean a sewing machine like an expert.

How to clean a sewing machine

It is both a maintenance guide for sewing machines and a guide on cleaning a sewing machine. Taking care of machinery of any kind is essential. This is something we all already know. If you take care of your machine and don’t overuse or misuse it, your machine can last up to decades. Here, we’re talking about sewing machines.

At least once in our lives, we have all seen our grandma sewing with a sewing machine or had one in our house. Manual sewing machines were available in the past. We don’t see those types of sewing machines anymore. There are now high-tech sewing machines don’t that require a spinning wheel or extra effort. These machines are designed to make sewing easier. Digital sewing machines have been installed in many 3rd world countries’ factories.

People tend to buy sewing machines for themselves and factories because it can be costly to alter the size of a clothing item. Sewing is also a hobby for many people out there. Some do it as a hobby, while others take it to another level and become professional designers. For many people out there, sewing machines can be a necessity or a luxury.

Therefore, your sewing machine needs to be maintained. We will discuss all of the key factors and steps to clean out all the junks and keep your machine dust-free. Using this method will make sewing easier and keep you motivated.

Let’s see how you can achieve a super clean result. This article will focus on the basic cleaning, oiling, and maintenance that you can do at home.

Safety and Precautions

Whenever I work on a sewing machine, the first thing I do is make sure that the power has been turned off. To avoid being injured by needles or receiving an electric shock, you need to remove the needles while the power is turned off. When cleaning the machine, keep children away from it.
To be a little extra cautious in this case, you can read through your sewing machine’s manual or safety instructions. you can download the safety instructions from the company’s website if you don’t already have them. If such information is not available online, you can request it by providing the model, serial number, and name of the device. You can also speak with your local dealer about this.

Cleansing a sewing machine doesn’t always have to involve the exterior. A good interior clean is as important as a good exterior clean. Keeping your sewing machine free of dust and lint will make it work more efficiently. Keeping it clean will also save you a lot of money for repairing, as the chances of being damaged will be considerably reduced.

The sewing Procedure

Unplug your machine and remove the needles. Otherwise, you may get injured. Right? Next, you’ll need to dust those tiny spots with lint brushes. Your life would be much easier if you were able to get a hold of one of those nylon lint brushes. Any makeup brush will work as long as the brush can sweep away tiny particles from the surface. Dusting is the most common procedure, followed by lubricating or oiling later. Brush the machine’s surface with your brush first, and remove all lint from there.

How to clean the Tension Disks?

I recommend not using canned air if you have lint brushes because it can introduce CO2 into your machine. Your machine may be full with dirt and moisture. It would be best if you work your way through the lint as you removed it from the surface. When approaching the machine’s surface and lid, one of the first things you need to know is that the tension disks are tough to see. A fuzz ball or a broken thread is often seen inside these tension disks.

A quick and straightforward tip about threading is that our presser foot always needs to be up when threading or un-threading our machine. By doing this, the tension disks themselves can open up. Make sure always to unthread the machine the same you thread it. Thus, when cutting from the disk, it’s essential to pull the thread because this prevents lint from moving out of the machine at specific points.

You can use the pipe cleaner or disposal mascara brush to clean the disks (make sure it has been thoroughly cleaned before using it); wiggle it inside the tension disks while the presser foot is up so that they are open. You can clean any lint or thread balls out of there. Because of this, many tailors and designers dislike glazed threads. These threads tend to pile up inside.

However, not all machines are the same. There are even machines with external tension assembly. Some tension disks that are externally assembled may be rounder than others. Clean out the built-up thread balls and lint with your pipe cleaner in a threaded motion. The disk, however, has a little spring that needs to be handled carefully. The check sprints keep the thread from slack by running in parallel. Avoid bending or breaking the check spring.

How to clean Needle Bar Settings?

In the dusting process, you are moving out all of the lint. Another place where lint can be cleared is right down on the needle bar system itself. Use a brush to clean off the needles and threads. Make sure you remove everything. In particular, if you’ve done a lot of appliques. A lot of glue can sometimes build up on the back of that needle.

Now you need to remove the presser foot and get a screwdriver. Remove the needle bar holder. We want to do maintenance to make sure that the screw is taut when we put these back on. You should also remove the needle from the bar before hand to keep yourself safe.

How to clean the inside of the Stitch plate?

These days, most of our machines have beveled screws holding our stitch plates, and it’s challenging to find screwdrivers that can reach inside the needle bar to work on them. Let me share a simple trick with you. You can fix that problem almost every time with just ten cents! You may sometimes need to invest more than 25 cents for fixtures, but in this case, you just need a coin of 10 cents.

Are you still confused? Coins can be used to loosen stubborn screws by dropping them into those screws. They are known as special screws. Beveled edges are not replaceable at a hardware store, so you don’t want to lose them. You will be able to loosen these screws by using your fingers once you have removed them completely. In there, it can be a bit cumbersome, so go slowly.

As soon as you have removed the stitch plate, it would help to clean the inside. Be sure to keep track of your screws and store them in a safe place, so you don’t lose them. When you remove the stitch plate, you should check a few other things. There will always be a lot of fuzz between the feed dogs. Therefore, it is necessary to clean the feed dogs out entirely with your brush and dust out any lint or build-up that may have been collected.

You may have noticed that your stitches tend to get shorter over time when it comes to maintenance. In other instances, it doesn’t matter if the fabric won’t feed well or if it reverses well. The fabric will not feed correctly if you have too much lint in the feed dogs. For this reason, it is important to keep them clean.

How to clean the Bobbin case area?

Check the inside of the drop-in bobbin case after removing it. You will be amazed at how much lint and fizz has been accumulating in your bobbin case. They can shorten the lifespan of your machine and cause interruptions when you sew or feed your fabric. As a result, you should clean out that area and be very gentle while doing so. It is common to find oiled wicks inside the circular area below the bobbin case.

how to clean a sewing machine bobbin

While dusting a specific portion, please pay attention to any wicks you come across and try to keep them as even as possible when you clean. It looks like a long rectangle on some machines, perhaps an inch or so long. Clean it out, then slide it back in. It will always be there.

With that in mind, you would want to move on to cleaning the back edge of the bobbin case and get the top edge of the case and remove as much lint and lint as possible. There are a few small pads in the bobbin cases, and sometimes the bobbin cases will also have a bit of felt on them that will help them hold the thread. That is normal, and that is not debris, so you need to dust it off gently and leave it like it is. Else, you damage your bobbin case.

Should I oil my machine?

It is always a good idea to clean before oiling. The oiling process is not uncommon when it comes to cleaning. Even though many people out there believe that oiling your machine is not necessary, there will always be areas like the bobbin case that need oiling.
In some cases, you may even need to get full service at the local dealership, depending on your brand.

Why is it important to clean your sewing machine?

So we’ve talked and discussed in detail how you can clean out your sewing machine. It is surprising how much fuzz, lint, and debris you will end up with on your cleaning station. There is so much that you could even sew yourself a sweater without sewing the bobbin cases at all.

Over time, your machine will collect dirt and debris if you do not take care of it. If you don’t start getting interrupted during your sewing session, you may not think it is terrible.
You may be able to find that:

  • The fabric is not feeding on the needles.
  • The needles may break from time to time.
  • The machine may also make noise when you turn it on.
  • Sometimes, the spinning wheel on a manual sewing machine can get stuck.
  • A dirty sewing machine can also cause your fabric to get stained and dirty.
  • Sewing machine needles come in many types, specifically used to help you get the perfect results. However, sometimes they don’t work due to an internal problem with the machine.

The above problems can be resolved by cleaning both the interior and exterior of your home. Maintaining your machine is not only a healthy habit, but it will extend its life as well. Not getting your machine fixed will save a lot of money. The smooth operation of a sewing machine will not only make sewing more accessible, but it will also make you feel better.

Check out this video tutorial to better understand how to clean sewing machine and its parts


As you can see, it’s not difficult to keep your sewing machine in good condition. We hope this article helped you learn more about the ins and outs of cleaning a sewing machine and how to take care of sewing machine for years to come.

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