How To Clean A Sewing Machine? Step by Step Process

Whether you are using your sewing machine for personal reasons or for your home business, you need to make sure you are maintaining it well.

Your sewing machine is the most important tool you are going to use in your business, and an expensive one, as well. If you have bought a new computerized or electronic sewing machine, you need to make it work for as long as a decade or more. 

Expensive and advanced brands make sturdy sewing machines that will last a long time, but only if you maintain it well. This includes regular cleaning and if possible, regular servicing. If you are new to using a sewing machine, this article is going to help you a lot.

Here, we are going to learn all about maintaining and cleaning a sewing machine, and what we shouldn’t do to it.

How to Clean a Sewing Machine at Home?

1. You Need to Read the Instruction Pamphlet

First of all, you need to read the instruction pamphlet that comes with your machine. 

The instruction pamphlets don’t just carry information you need to know to use the machine, but also on how to clean it.

Each model has a different cleaning regime that you’ll have to follow; doing something else can jeopardize the whole machine. Without reading the instructions, you can’t even open a complicated model, let alone know what to clean, and how. 

If you’ve lost the instruction manual or don’t have it (i.e. if you’ve bought the machine second-hand), you can look for it online.

If you’ve bought your machine from a reputed brand, they’ll probably have a digital copy of the instruction on their website; or, the local dealer of your brand can order a copy of the instructions from their factories. 

2. Brush your machine regularly

A sewing machine has lots of nooks and crannies that can accumulate dust particles, corners you won’t be able to reach with anything except a magnetic brush.

A magnetic or anti-static brush attracts and cleans away dust and lint, keeping your sewing machine clean as new. You can find these anti-static brushes anywhere – in departmental stores, marts, office supply stores and stores that sell computer accessories. 

You need to brush your machine with an anti-static brush at least twice a week, or more if you use it all the time. 

3. Oil your machine regularly

This may sound like an old-fashioned idea, but some sewing machines really do require regular oiling. Only oil the parts that need to be oiled, according to the brand or model.

This is where your instruction pamphlet comes into use. The instructions you will get with your sewing machine will carry definite and clear instructions on how to apply oil inside your machine, and where.

Some parts of your sewing machine is going to need regular lubrication if you want it to work for more than just a few months. There are special lubricating oils that you can order online or but from your sewing machine dealer.

It is better not to use any alternative oil for this purpose – baby oil, cooking oil, or olive oil. Most oil will leave a residue or cause your gears to rust. 

Remember not to oil the machines that don’t need regular oiling. Some sewing machines are made to be self-lubricating; oiling them will only damage it. Your instruction pamphlet will tell you whether your particular brand of sewing machine needs oiling or not. If it doesn’t need oiling, you don’t have to apply oil to it at all. 

Also, don’t oil the sewing machines more than you need to, i.e. don’t over oil. You might think applying a hefty amount of oil will keep your machine smooth and help it run better, but that’s not entirely true.

Your machine will only need a few drops of oil every now and then to make it run perfectly. So, follow the instruction and only apply the required amount of oil and not more than that. 

4. give your machine a wipe down

Apart from cleaning the intricate parts with an anti-static brush, you need to wipe the body with a damp towel occasionally.

This is to remove any dust particles accumulated on the body or any pieces of lint that have been caught on the body. All though a little dust on the body of the sewing machine isn’t going to cause it much harm, it is nevertheless an integral part of keeping your machine clean

Remember to be careful with your damp cloth if you are using an electric or computerized sewing machine.

You can handle a manual sewing machine almost any way you want to, but you’ll have to be extra careful with the more sophisticated machines. A single drop of water or cleaning agent can completely damage your sewing machine beyond repair. 

5. just take apart more than one part of the machine

Some parts of your sewing machine require you to take a part apart, but doing this can be difficult the first few times.

An important point to remember is that you should only take apart one part of the machine to repair, clean or oil it, and then fix it before you start working on another part. Even simple manual sewing can prove to be complicated to someone who isn’t familiar with the build. Before you know it, you can be stuck with unfamiliar pieces of machinery you don’t know where to put back. 

So, to back it all up, these are the points you should remember: 



Always read the instruction manual

Never over oil your machine

Brush the machine regularly

Don’t oil a machine that doesn’t need oiling

Apply oil to your machine regularly

Don’t clean machine with a dripping wet cloth

Only take apart a single part of the machine

Don’t clean machine when plugged in

Wipe body of the machine with damp cloth

Don’t blow into your machine to clean it

Keeping your sewing machine clean and oiled is crucial for your machine. A good sewing machine isn’t inexpensive; if you’ve spent your money on one, you need to keep it well and functioning.

Especially if you are using your sewing machine frequently for your business, you will need it to be always in its best shape.

Cleaning your machine regularly, repairing and oiling it should be an important part of your daily regime. A well-maintained sewing machine is what you need in your business, so be careful with your machine. 

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