Sewing Machine Care: Oiling Parts

Sewing machine care: it needs to be oiled approximately every 20 hours of operation. Covers choosing the correct oil, the importance of reading the manual and basic cleaning of the machine.

A sewing machine is a precision instrument whether it is a ninety-nine dollar Brother from Wal-mart or a several thousand dollar New Home or Pfaff from an upscale dealer. Every sewing machine, even the new computerized machines, needs to be cleaned and oiled from time to time to keep it in prime running condition. The good news is that if you can operate your sewing machine, you have enough mechanical ability to oil your sewing machine. Doing so will help your investment to sew smoothly for many years to come.

The first step to oiling your sewing machine is to choose the proper kind of oil. Some new machines come with a small container of sewing machine oil. Some do not. Do not use other kinds of household oil: no cooking oil, no automotive oil... Use only oil that is formulated for high speed precision machinery like your sewing machine. Three-in-one oil is a good choice and can be purchased at your local hardware store or you can buy specially formulated sewing machine oil at your sewing machine dealer or at fabric stores. If you own a really expensive brand of machine, like Pfaff, New Home or Bernina, you may want to spring for the more expensive oil that you'd buy at the dealer. It is not that the oil is any better, but it doesn't hurt to have that tiny bit of insurance.

The next step to oiling your sewing machine is to clean off your sewing table. You do not ant to chance getting any oil on your sewing projects. Next, gather the correct tools. You'll need: a small screw driver, a clean paper towel, a few cotton swabs, some absorbent scrap fabric and your sewing machine's manual. Yes, that's right, you will need your manual. Sorry. If you've misplaced it, go order a new one. You need it anyway.



Though sewing machine has certain common attributes, each machine is slightly different in how it is constructed. Some machines have front loading bobbins, some have top loading bobbins. Some machines require a tiny bit of oil in a hole on the top of the machine, some do not. Some machines have to be opened to get at the innards. Other machines cannot be opened. It is vitally important that you read your sewing machine's manual to learn the oiling points. Do not oil the machine at any point except where the manual directs, even if it looks like it needs oil there.

While you are oiling the machine, feel free to dust the machine as well. Use the cotton swab with a tiny drop of oil on it (to make the dust stick) to clean the metal surfaces. Wipe the plastic surfaces with the corner of the paper towel. Make sure that you keep your hands clean and oil free as much as possible, you do not want to leave oil on the surface of your machine where it might get on your subsequent projects. When you finish oiling the machine, put it back together and wipe the outside thoroughly with a paper towel.

The final step is to sew with the machine through the scrap fabric several times to make sure that the oil is distributed throughout the moving parts of the machine and to make sure that any residual oil on the feed dogs of needle housing gets on the scrap instead of your next project.

Now, you're all done. You have successfully oiled your sewing machine. You have another twenty or so hours of blissful creating time before it is time to do it again. Enjoy!

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