Caring for Your Sewing Machine


A broken needle halts the whole project

Every needle worker’s nightmare is having their fabric stuck midway of a crucial project or the aching snap of a needle in between threads. Of course there are ways to prevent these horrific scenarios from happening (ever again). Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your sewing machine running smoothly and even quietly. Usually, an odd noise much like a grinding sound is a manifestation of a mechanical problem. Of course with computerized machines, there is a higher risk of a short circuited mother board. But for the basics, here are a few steps to keep your sewing experience a more pleasurable one.

1. Prevent unwanted impurities

Dust and grime can easily enter the inner workings of your beloved machine and can inflict heavy damage over time. It is then vital for every owner to have a cover whether it is a soft wrapping or a hard casing every time the sewing machine is not in use. Also keep the storage and work area spic and span to lessen the chances of dirt trapped within its nuts and bolts.


A cover prevents dust from entering crevices in your machine

 2. Clean your machine regularly

Apart from keeping your sewing machine safe from dust, it is also important to actually clean the contraption. Many experts advise to clean after every use or depending on how often you use the machine. First make sure that the bobbin system is free from any leftover lint from fabrics. These can accumulate and jam the machine after prolonged use. Use a can of compressed air to blow out the lint.

  • Be sure you angle properly so that the lint doesn’t blow further into the machine. A distance of 4 inches from the bobbin is recommended to prevent the formation of moisture.
  • Don’t blow into the machine either. Your breath has enough moisture at one puff to corrode the inside.

Another necessary step in clearing up the crevices of the machine is with a piece of muslin cloth. A dab of sewing machine oil on the cloth is enough to clean between tension disks, race hooks (if removable), and other areas that need oiling. Use a small brush for dusting the feed dog and the around the bobbin system.


Clean crevices with a dab of sewing machine oil on muslin cloth

3. Keep an eye out for your needle

The reason that needles bend and break is because they are either:

  • The wrong type of needle for the project

There are different types of needles compatible with the threads of certain fabrics. Thinner needles are needed to glide through lightweight threads like lace or silk while thicker and sharper needles are required for heavyweight natural fibers such as linen and wool.

  • Have been overused

Seasoned needle workers will recommend changing your needle after every project to prevent them from bending or breaking which can cause worse damage to the fabric.


Make sure you use the right type of needle for your fabric

 4. Use the right bobbin

Wind your bobbin correctly making sure the thread is snugly placed. Any loose or rogue thread can get stuck in the bobbin system and ruin an idealistic project or worse, harm your machine. Also use a bobbin compatible to your machine or one under the same brand that is recommended for your unit’s model. Not all bobbins are universal.


A bit of effort goes a long way. Your sewing machine is your responsibility so it is up to you to keep it running like new with just a few steps before and after use. Oiling, cleaning and protecting your machine from any damage is all part of preventive maintenance. And the better you care for your machine, the less likely it will end up in the repair shop.

  • Note: Always unplug any electrical sewing machines after use, especially with computerized versions as this may lead to some short circuits in the motherboard.



  1. […] way we learn about the parts of a machine is by having to remedy sewing related problems yourself. In fact many of the mistakes we make in sewing can be prevented with regular maintenance. But for those setbacks, a proper knowledge of your sewing machine will save time troubleshooting […]