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.
If the drive motor on your sewing machine runs roughly or doesn't run at all, you can replace it in about 30 minutes using these simple steps.
If the sewing machine is completely dead, replace the On/Off switch using these 6 steps.
Learn how to use a multimeter to check for wiring problems in an appliance that's not working
Discover the basics of cleaning and oiling your sewing machine, and how to protect it when not in use.
See what to check if the thread is bunching under the fabric as you sew.