April 20, 2015

How to clean and maintain a sewing machine video

By Sears PartsDirect staff
How to clean and maintain a sewing machine.

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.

Symptoms common to all sewing machines

Choose a symptom to see related sewing machine repairs.

Main causes: machine needs lubrication, internal gear failure
Main causes: disengaged clutch, broken drive belt, internal drive gear failure
Main causes: problems with the feed dogs, setting stitch length to 0
Main causes: faulty foot pedal, locked drive gears, wiring failure, bad drive motor
Main causes: dirty shuttle race, wrong thread tension, bad needle timing, damaged needle, using the wrong type of needle
Main causes: power supply failure, bad power cord, faulty On/Off switch
Main causes: lack of lubrication, lint buildup, worn drive belt, faulty drive motor
Main causes: thread bunched up in the shuttle race, bad needle timing, internal drive gear failures
Main causes: dirty shuttle race, improper thread routing, incorrect thread tension
Repair guides common to all sewing machines

These step-by-step repair guides will help you safely fix what’s broken on your sewing machine.

April 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a sewing machine drive motor

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.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
April 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a sewing machine on/off switch

If the sewing machine is completely dead, replace the On/Off switch using these 6 steps.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 30 minutes or less
April 1, 2015
By Lyle Weischwill
How to replace a sewing machine drive belt

You can replace a broken sewing machine drive belt in about 15 minutes.

Repair difficulty
Time required
 15 minutes or less
Articles and videos common to all sewing machines

Use the advice and tips in these articles and videos to get the most out of your sewing machine.

January 18, 2016
How to use a multimeter to test electrical parts video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Learn how to use a multimeter to check for wiring problems in an appliance that's not working

April 20, 2015
How to clean and maintain a sewing machine video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

Discover the basics of cleaning and oiling your sewing machine, and how to protect it when not in use.

April 15, 2015
How to stop sewing machine thread from bunching under fabric video
By Sears PartsDirect staff

See what to check if the thread is bunching under the fabric as you sew.