how to clean and maintain your sewing machine

I use to take my machine to a tiny little vacuum repair shop.  The man had a friend that fixed sewing machines.  I would drop it off & pick it up 3 weeks & $85 later.  I did this religiously because my machine usually sounded like a freight train & that’s when I knew it was time for a cleaning.  I would get it back 3 weeks & $85 later humming along & I felt like it was money well spent.


I was sewing up orders & couldn’t wait 3 weeks & $85.


That’s when I decided to take a thing or two apart on my machine & try to repair & oil a few things.  To my surprise I found so much lint & fabric fibers under the plate on my dog feed.  I took my needle nose tweezers & one picked it all out.  Then I looked underneath & found more.  About an hour & a pile of lint later my sewing machine was humming along like new.  And it cost me 1 hour & I saved 3 weeks & $85.

I clean my machine often.  I sew several hours a week.  You may not have to clean yours as often.  But I encourage you to get to know your machine & how it threads, what comes off with screws, where lint may gather for a small party etc.  It will empower you when you come across a small thread that may be stuck somewhere & it’s making the most awful noise & you claim it’s broke.  If you know your machine, you will be able to dig around & hunt down that tiny thread & save yourself time & money.

Let’s get started.


I keep a box of swifter clothes in my sewing room & a box of q-tips.  Also you will need a brush, I use a child’s paint brush. Needle nose tweezers or something that can grab threads & lint piles.  Oil, that comes with your machine. Screw driver, mine came with my machine as well.

Remove spool of thread from machine before cleaning.


1. Take the plate off & expose the feed dog.  This is where the lint hides.  All types of fabric runs over this plate & so it adds up over time.  Take your needle nose tweezers & pick it out from the feed.  Today, mine wasn’t so bad, I had just cleaned the lint out in December. Once it’s clean place plate back on.


2. Underneath is the bobbin case & bobbin.  This is where the loose threads like to party. Remove the bobbin & bobbin case & set it aside.  Remove the shuttle race case. Take the paint brush & q-tips and begin cleaning. Once clean put it back together.  If your machine is similar to mine, I tip my machine slightly back to hold the shuttle race cover in place until I have it latched in with the hooks.

3. On the top side of the machine where it’s threaded, take a paint brush & q-tips & clean out that area too.


4. I removed the top of my machine & oiled it.  Refer to your machine manual for oiling points.  All machines are different.

**Please note that all of this information & tips are my own & how I clean my machine according to my manual. All machines are different, but some of these tips may be helpful for most machines!**

anything you want me to teach or address next week? let me know if the comment section :)

Sewing Contributor
I am a wife, married 14 years, a mom of two boys, ages 12 & 9. I am a woman after God’s own heart! I started sewing aprons and posting my pics on FB and it ended up turning into a business for me. I love to sew, it’s simply relaxing. [Read more]

Speak Your Mind