A good quality sewing machine earns its keep through evening saving repairs, as a creative outlet, or even as a professional tool. Finding the right sewing machine for you can often seem a little overwhelming, but with such a variety available, there is definitely something for everyone. An important consideration when purchasing a sewing machine is maintenance made easy.
All sewing machines, especially heavily used units, will require regular maintenance to keep them at their optimal performance. Sewing machines require the utmost care too, as a single small fault could lead to devastating consequences for your garments.
For these reasons, we have compiled a guide that will help you clean and maintain your sewing machine. Following our tips below, you can rest assured that you will enjoy uninterrupted sessions of creativity for many years.
Cleaning a Sewing Machine
For starters, let us begin by learning how to clean a sewing machine. Here is a step-by-step guide on how you can go about it:
Step 1 – Prepare the Machine
Prepare the machine for cleaning by switching it off and unplugging it. Remove machine pieces, such as bobbin cases, thread, stitch plate, presser foot, and plates that might get in the way of thorough cleaning. Aside from that, you should also remove the sewing machine needle for safety purposes.
Step 2 – Brush Away Lint
Using a stiff lint brush, brush away all the lint from the machine. If you find it difficult to clean the lint from hard-to-reach places using a lint brush, you can use tweezers to remove them. In order to get rid of residue or lint on the bobbin hook, use a soft cloth or clean mascara brush.
Step 3 – Clean the Bobbin Case
For a thorough sewing machine cleaning, use compressed air to clean the bobbin case and the bobbin case area itself. Using compressed air beneath the needle plate is another great way to clean this part of the sewing machine.
How to Maintain a Sewing Machine
Aside from cleaning it, you can also ensure its long lifespan if you maintain it regularly. Thus, here are some tips and tricks on how you can do it:
- Invest in a good sewing machine cover
Covering your sewing machine with a good quality case will prevent dust from accumulating on various parts of the sewing machine. Using a sewing machine cover is one of the best and easiest ways to help your machine stay clean and dust-free.
- Oil your sewing machine regularly
Oiling your sewing machine can play an essential role in helping your machine run smoothly and last longer. For good results, add one or two drops of sewing machine oil in the moving parts of the machine every 30 days.
- Change your needles
A damaged or dull needle can tear or pull at your fabric. For sewers who use their machine continuously, experts recommend changing the needle every after four hours. Some also suggest changing the needle whenever you’re using a different material.
However, for the hobbyist who doesn’t use their equipment constantly, you need to pay close attention to the sound of the needle piercing the fabric. As time goes by, you will recognize when it’s time to replace the needle.
- Check the cords
Ensure that you check the cords on your machine regularly. If you find any tears, replace them as soon as possible in order to prevent any electrical problems and dangers.
- Use sewing machine properly
Using your sewing machine properly by following the guidelines instructed in the manual, using the proper thread, and the right needle size according to your sewing project, as well as not forcing parts on your sewing machine, all play an important role in helping you maintain your machine and make it last for years.
Tips for Cleaning and Maintaining a Sewing Machine
Here are some more tricks on how you can clean and maintain your sewing machine to make it function at its best at all times.
- Always oil your machine after cleaning it thoroughly.
- To prevent lint from getting deeper in the machine when using compressed air, keep the nozzle at least four inches away from the part of the machine. Additionally, take an angle that will help blow the lint out of the machine than inside it.
- Clean one area at a time. This will help save you from the confusion of using the removed screws to where they actually belong.
- Use a damp towel to remove any lint or dust immediately after each project. This will ensure that you start your next project with a clean and happy machine.
- Use small vacuum attachments to clean out the lint.
Common Sewing Machine Problems and Its Fixes
A sewing machine is a device that is composed of many moving parts. As such, there are times that you will encounter problems while using it. For this reason, it is imperative that you educate yourself on some of the most common sewing machine problems and how to fix them.
Why is my thread bunching up underneath my fabric?
Commonly referred to as “birds nests,” these excess loops of thread can occur through incorrectly threading through your tension discs. First of all, you want to remove your fabric from the machine.
You will most likely have to cut through the extra thread in order to free it. Attempting to pull it free may not simply damage the mechanism but perhaps your fabric too.
Once your fabric is safely removed from the machine along with the build-up of thread, re-thread both your top thread and bobbin. Additionally, make sure to use threads of the same weight in order to prevent the machine from drawing them at different rates. This will also help to prevent knotting. Finally, ensure that you adjust your tension setting to the appropriate fabric type.
My machine is continuously skipping stitches.
When you notice your sewing machine is skipping stitches, your first step is to check if the needle is in working order, not bent or damaged, and also installed correctly. It is also important to make sure that the needle you are using appropriately matches the fabric you are working with.
If the needle is not long enough, it won’t reach the bobbin, and the threads won’t lock properly. This directly leads to skipped stitches. Re-thread your machine.
Is your machine making strange noises?
If you notice your sewing machine making strange noises, immediately stop sewing to prevent any damage to yourself, the machine, or the fabric. The chances are that your machine just needs a good cleaning and to be oiled up again.
After following your machine’s manuals, always test it on a piece of throw-away fabric before starting on your actual pieces. If the noises persist, then you will most likely need to visit a repair shop for a professional service.
Keeping your sewing machine clean and maintained is one of the best ways to increase its durability and performance. A well-maintained sewing machine not only helps you get the most out of it and enjoy your sewing projects but also reduces the need for tune-ups and repairs, saving both your time and money.