- Salvaging Sewing Machines and Similar Equipment does an excellent job of explaining how water and rust are your worst enemies even if a machine has not been submerged.
- The first step to recovering any electronic or electrical devise from a flood is patience. The very worst thing anyone can do is to immediately plug anything in that could have any moisture. Time and patience! I poured as much water from each machine and set them in sunlight to dry. FEMA: Ensure your safety shows that safety issues are even more important then risking shorting out the electrical components.
Once you have read all the safety issues and the precautions you must take, it's time to get started. Even if you are taking the machine to a dealer for restoration, you can help the effort by doing as much as possible to lubricate the machine. In most cases, a dealer will have a back log when an entire area has been hit with flooding.
Use these same steps to restore a garage sale find or a deserted sewing machine.
- Allow the machines to TOTALLY dry before attempting any salvaging operation. Set them in a dry location until they are totally dried out. Do not rush this step!
- Find an electrician who will check the electrical components. This is worth while for your safety and preventing a short to electrical components. As a rust preventive, gently spray metal parts with WD40 or a similar lubricant. DO NOT get the lubricant on electronic and electrical components!
- Remove any bobbins or thread from the machine. They will hold the moisture. Remove the thread from the bobbin and immerse them in oil.
- While they are drying collect the following items.
- WD40 or a similar spray lubricant
- White oil or sewing machine oil
- Screw drivers
- Fine steel wool
- Alcohol or kerosene - Although Salvaging Sewing Machines and Similar Equipmentlists gasoline for cleaning, I strongly recommend using the other alternatives. Gasoline is highly combustible and it does not make sense to risk a fire. One disaster is enough! The main concern is to not use a water based product for cleaning.
- Once the machines are totally dry, oil every moving part. You can clean the oil off later but the oil will preserve the metal and prevent rust. Do not oil electrical and electronic components.
- Open covers and as much of the machine as you can to check for water and damage.
- Remove any rust stains or surface rust with steel wool. Do not use sand paper or emery cloth. If the rust does not remove with steel wool replace the effected part. Sanding them with anything rougher then steel wool will effect precise measurements that make up machine parts and possibly create metal silvers which can cause problems elsewhere in the machine.
- Have an electrician examine all electrical components of the machine.
- Clean the oil from areas that the thread will travel and bobbins using a soft clean cloth such as flannel. Follow Basic Sewing Machine Maintenance for more information.
- Use scrap material to test your stitch and allow any remaining oil to be run through, before you work on a real project or garment.
Salvaging Water-damaged Textiles - Provides step by step procedures for salvaging your fabric stash.
Flood Recovery Page - National Weather Service - Gives you all kinds of basic information for flood recovery procedures.
Salvaging Sewing Machines and Similar Equipment - An excellent page to learn how water and rust are your worst enemies even if that machine has not been submerged.