How To Clean Your Sewing Machine

Do you clean your sewing machine regularly? Yeah, I don’t either. Manufacturers recommend cleaning it after 10 hours or so of sewing (this is NOT a substitute for having it professionally cleaned and serviced about every two years). Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t track my sewing time like that, so I try to clean my machine before I start a new project. I’m cleaning a Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900 QCP today.

PIN_CleanYourSewingMachine Begin your cleaning adventure by gathering the tools you’ll need:

  • Lint brush
  • Screwdriver
  • Instruction manual
  • Compressed air or bulb blower (optional)
  • Lubricating oil (optional)

1. Unplug the machine and remove the needle and presser foot. Review the instructions in your manual.

2. Open bobbin area and remove the bobbin. Brush the lint and thread bits out of the bobbin area.

3. Remove the needle plate and lift out the bobbin case. This is usually where I find the mother lode of lint. Brush it out. Brush the lint out of the feed dogs, too.

4a. There is some debate about whether to use compressed air when cleaning your sewing machine. Some say that there is a risk of blowing lint further into the machine. Some say that any area you can access is a “closed” area, so there is nowhere else for the lint to go. I say to refer to your manual. If your machine’s manufacturer expressly states not to use compressed air, then don’t. If your manual doesn’t say anything about compressed air, use your best judgment.

4b. Now is the time to oil your machine, IF NECESSARY. Follow your manual’s instructions as to where to oil. Seriously, if you only read your sewing machine manual once, find out if you need to oil your machine. If it says that oil isn’t needed, then DO NOT oil your machine. Many newer machines do not need to be oiled or should only be oiled during a professional tune-up.

5. When everything is sparkly clean, replace the bobbin case, bobbin, needle plate, and presser foot. Follow your manual’s directions for lining the bobbin case up correctly.

6. Plug your machine back in, turn it on, and test your reassembly. Your machine should run smoothly and quietly.

7. Insert a new needle and thread your sewing machine.

8. Pat yourself on the back and start a new project. Also, promise yourself that you won’t wait so long to clean your machine next time.

Be honest…how often do you clean your sewing machine? Tell us in the comments below!


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