What is Sewing Machine Maintenance?

Your sewing machine works hard for you and it's important to keep it in shape. Sewing Machine Maintenance between service appointments keeps it running well, ensures the stitches and tension are correct and can prolong your machine's life. Besides keeping your machine dusted off and ready for use, there are a few things you can do to keep it running smoothly. Your sewing machine manual will instruct you on the specifics, but in general:

  • Cover your machine when not in use to prevent it from getting dusty. Dust with a soft cloth.
  • Use good quality thread to limit lint build up.
  • Change your needle every 8 hours or every project. A bent or dull needle can cause damage.
  • Turn off your machine before beginning maintenance
  • Remove your needle plate and using a soft brush remove lint and bits of thread. Use a stiff brush near the feed dogs to clean.
  • Remove bobbin and clean around bobbin area.
  • Follow your machine's guide for oiling or lubricating and test stitch on scrap cloth to insure everything is working and there is no excess oil. 

Benefits of Sewing Machine Maintenance

  • Your sewing machine is an investment, Sewing Machine Maintenance will protect your investment.
  • Keeping it cleaned will allow it to run properly and stitch well. When lint and thread builds up under the feed dogs stitch quality can be compromised.
  • Replace sewing machine needles between projects. Bent needles can cause skipped stitches, loops and damage the interior workings of your machine.
  • Keeping your sewing machine properly lubricated will decrease wear , however, always follow your machine's instructions about lubrication, not all machines require oil or other lubricants.

Tools and Supplies - Sewing Machine Maintenance

Here are the basics for Sewing Machine Maintenance:

  • Sewing Machine Manual
  • Small soft brush
  • Small stiff brush, pipe cleaner or dental brushes for getting the lint out
  • Sewing Machine Oil - as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Screwdriver
  • Soft cloth for dusting
  • Tweezers - to remove threads as needed
What I wish I Knew When I Got Started - Sewing Machine Maintenance

Growing up I wasn't allowed to touch anything on my mother's sewing machine, not the tension dial, not anything past changing a needle or the bobbin. When I got my first machine I didn't think about cleaning it at all and the first time I did I was SHOCKED at the amount of lint and dust under the needle plate. Now I clean my machine on a regular basis, usually after 4 or 5 bobbins or at the end of every project.

Sewing Machine Maintenance Resources