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Basic Sewing Machine Maintenance

Protect Your Investment in a Sewing Machine


Are you someone who sews constantly or someone who pulls the machine out just occasionally? Either way, basic machine care is important to keep your machine ready when you are and protect your investment.

Sewing Machine Manual

  • The sewing machine manual to your machine is the best tool you can have to maintain your sewing machine. Sewing machine manuals can be found for almost any sewing machine.
Unplug Your Machine
  • For your own safety and to prevent damage to your machine always unplug the machine before you start cleaning and oiling your machine.
Remove Lint
  • Fabric and thread are a combination that is going to produce lint. Lint can build up in unseen areas of your machine leading to wear and tear that is preventable.

  • Open all areas that you can and clean the lint out of the machine. Use the brush that came with your sewing machine to remove lint in cracks and crevices and from under the bobbin case.

  • Try to get in the habit of cleaning the lint out of your machine every time you finish a project. That way the machine will be ready to sew when you are!
Sewing Machine Oil
  • Sewing machine oil is not something you borrow from the garage. It is clear white oil. Be sure to use the proper oil. Refer to your owner’s manual for the proper spots to oil. Some of the older machines have these areas marked.

  • After oiling your machine run stitches on some scrap fabric before you tackle your project. This allows oil to escape on to the scraps, if it's going to, instead of the project you are working on.
  • Oiling the machine not only lubricates your moving parts, to prevent wear, it reduces the risk of rust. Rust forms rapidly with any dampness, even just the humidity in the air. Surface rust can act just like loose sand granule in your machine, and create excess wear.

Loose Screws
  • As you clean and oil the machine you will find many screws and set-screws. As a general rule, tighten regular screws as you run across them. Set screws which usually require hex key wrenches, should only be adjusted by a repair person unless you have a complete understanding of the timing of your sewing machine.

  • If the set screws are missing or loose, take the machine to a repair shop. It may seem easy to just replace the screw or tighten it, but all of these details go in to the timing of the machine. If the timing is off you can do great damage and the repair bill will be much more then a tune up.
  • You should always be watching for wear signs on wires but while you’re cleaning your machine, take the time to honestly inspect the wires.

  • Check the entire length of the wire for abrasions to the plastic coating or for damage a pet may have done.

  • Check that all the electrical prongs are tight and secure.

  • Consult a repair person or electrician for any problems you may find.
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