Spring clean your sewing machine

Alright, ‘fess up now. When was the LAST time you cleaned your machine? Nope. I’m not talking about cleaning off that smudge on the digital display!

I will share with you how I do a clean-up (after an average 8 hrs of sewing) on my sewing machine. Basically, I have a 4-part system. 1) Remove accessories from machine, 2) remove dirt, 3) oil necessary part/s and 4) surface clean.

IMPORTANT: Refer to your machine’s user manual on maintenance/oiling instructions BEFORE you begin this clean-up act.

After some intensive sewing for my sister’s wedding and some home sewing, the sewing area is disaster zone. I cannot work like this! And I knew the machine needs some cleaning as it ‘sounded’ a little hoarse :p

Step 1) Power off your machine (I didn’t do this here, as I needed some lighting to take the shots)

Step 2) Remove the sewing foot

Step 3) Remove all threaded accessories: Thread cone, Bobbin (with casing) and needle.

Step 4) Remove the throat plate. Yep. it has gone all ‘linty’!

Step 5) Carefully, dislodge the lint from the throat plate area. I prefer to ‘sweep’ it up a bit at a time, and avoid the lint falling into the bobbin area.

Step 6) Remove the CB hook (BE GENTLE!). Check for burrs, scratches, etc. and give it a wipe with a micro-fiber towel. If your machine does not use a CB hook, check your manual to see how to clean your machine’s bobbin area.

Step 7) Here’s where the CB hook sits. I will check for lint/major chunk of gunk here.

Step 8 ) Gunk Removal time! I use compressed air as I was advised against ‘blowing’ into the machine. The moisture from your breath may cause the internal bits to rust/degenerate over time. A couple of spritz of the compressed air removes gunk easily. Then pick up the lint/gunk with the cotton buds and also clean away any old oil residue from previous oiling.


Cleaning the throat plate area

The CB hook area. Take care not to scratch this area.

Step 9) Refer to your manual on where to OIL your machine. On my Bernina, I only need to oil 1 drop at the CB hook recessed groove.

Step 10) Replace your CB hook and close the bobbin door, insert the OLD needle and your sewing foot. WITHOUT threading any threads yet, take about 10-20 stitches on a scrap piece of fabric to make sure that the oil is distributed and that the excess oil is removed. Do this till your fabric is ‘clean’.

Step 11) CHANGE your needle. A needle costs only a few tens of cents and make a world of difference to your sewing and quality of stitches. I change my needle about every 6-8 hours of sewing. Old needles can be saved to sew materials like paper (to make a scrap pad).

ALL done now. Just give your machine a quick wipe down (dry cloth!) and replace your thread cone & bobbin into the machine. You are ready to go now.

Here are 2 handy tools that are always close to me when I sew. The handy Dyson sucks up all the threads, clippings, etc around the sewing area. The motor-head is especially great for pet fur! And the Ikea sticky roller is really economical and great for removing all the thread lint from my clothing when I leave the sewing machine 😀

Hope your machine is purring like new now!

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