How to Clean and Maintain a Sewing Machine Video


Lint is an inevitable result of every sewing project. Leaving the lint to accumulate inside your machine will cause diminished performance and premature wear of the sewing machine's intricate parts. Keeping your sewing machine clean will help avoid expensive repairs and can even help keep your sewing projects free from aggravating annoyances like skipped stitches, bunched thread and broken needles.

Clean your sewing machine after every project or every 8 hours of sewing. Remember to have your machine professionally serviced once a year to have the tension and timing checked and adjusted, and to have it cleaned in areas that are normally out of reach.

  • Remove the presser foot, needle and throat plate, and use a small lint brush to clean lint and debris up and away from the feed dogs, bobbin and bobbin case, being careful not to flick the lint deeper into the machine. If the lint buildup is thick, use a pair of tweezers to remove it.
  • It's a good idea to replace the needle at the same time you clean the sewing machine. The needle does a lot of work, and will wear out. Better to change the needle before it breaks in the middle of a big sewing project.
  • Oil the sewing machine after cleaning. Add oil only to the areas as listed in your owner's manual, and remember to wipe away any spills.
  • Clean exterior surfaces with a soft, dampened cloth and then wipe dry. Never use abrasive cleaners on the sewing machine that could damage the surface.
  • Protect your sewing machine from dust and lint by keeping it covered when not in use. Some machines come with a cover, but if yours didn’t, try making one as a fun sewing project.

This great video from Spool School provides an informative tutorial for cleaning and oiling a sewing machine. Remember to check your owner's manual for cleaning and oiling instructions specific to your model.

Check out our DIY Sewing Machine Repair section for useful repair and troubleshooting tips.

How to clean and oil your sewing machine.