How to Oil a Sewing Machine

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Sewing with a gummed-up or squeaky sewing machine is no picnic, especially for those who sew often and need smooth-running equipment that won’t destroy fabric. Oiling your home sewing machine to prevent this is not as difficult as it seems, and it should simply be part of your overall machine cleaning and maintenance. Although sewing machines should be professionally serviced every one or two years, depending on how often the machine is used, oiling between visits can prolong the life of the machine and its parts.


Clean all lint and dust from your machine so that you have a clear starting point. Take a scrap piece of fabric and wipe down the tension disks, lifting the presser foot to release the tension while you work. Blow compressed air into the disk area.


Remove the needle, foot, throat plate, bobbin case and hook race, if your machine has a removable hook. Take a brush to the exposed feed dogs and bobbin area, clearing away all lint that may be gumming up your sewing machine. Blow compressed air into the bobbin area.


Place a drop of oil onto your scrap fabric and clean the hook race with it.


Add another drop of oil directly to the hook race, then place it back into the machine.


Reassemble the bobbin area, throat plate and foot. Place a threaded bobbin into the bobbin case and thread the sewing machine.


Run a piece of scrap fabric through the machine. Flip the fabric over to see if any oil has gotten into the bobbin case and leaked onto the thread or fabric. If so, continue sewing onto the scrap fabric until the oil residue disappears.


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