Ashley Hough

How to Clean Your Sewing Machine

Ashley Hough
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Duration:   8  mins

Purchasing a sewing machine can be a wonderful investment. As with all tools, it is wise to learn about sewing machine cleaning. Whether you sew daily or once a month, we have valuable suggestions on where and how to remove the lint and threads that can be hiding near the bobbin area of your machine.

Join Ashley Hough, our knowledgeable quilter, as she provides the basics you need on how to clean sewing machine parts. This includes how to clean bobbin case areas. The anatomy of a sewing machine can vary from brand to brand, but the concept remains the same. Dust and lint build-up around the tension disks, feed dogs, and the bobbin case can create issues with balanced tension and proper stitch creation—all things we as quilters and crafters would rather avoid. There are times when qualified technicians need to do sewing machine cleaning, but in between those deep cleanings, we can do much to keep them working smoothly.

Ashley introduces you to a few simple, inexpensive tools that can be used to remove dust and lint clusters. She demonstrates how to maintain sewing machine areas that are exposed to excessive lint and are places we can successfully clean ourselves. The first thing she demonstrates is cleaning tension discs. As thread is guided through the discs at high speeds, dust is produced that can build up and cause issues with even stitch production. This “flossing” of the discs can easily remove tiny threads and excess lint.

Next, we walk you through how to clean bobbin case areas. This process can be intimidating, but becomes a necessary part of maintaining your sewing machine. A lint-free, clean bobbin case is the goal. As you remove the bobbin cover, bobbin, and throat plate to reveal the lower working of your machine you will encounter dust that clings to the working parts of the bobbin area. Gently remove all lint and thread pieces. The bobbin case can also be removed to reveal any lint that builds up in the shuttle area. Care should always be taken to lift lint out of the machine. Using compressed air can drive lint deeper into the machine, causing more issues.

After cleaning, replace all parts in the order removed. Cleaning between projects can extend the life of your machine.

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5 Responses to “How to Clean Your Sewing Machine”

  1. Pat Eaton

    I have a pfaff 1471. How do I remove the bobbin casing?

  2. Shari Finfrock

    I've always had machines that had screws holding down the plate. I don't know why but the screwdrivers that came with the machines don't fit in the slots on the screws. The slots are too wide. I found out that using a dime or penny works better. BTW, my machine is a 20 year old Brother.

  3. Sallie Schmidt

    Thank you for the cleaning the sewing machine demonstration. It was very helpful!

  4. Sandra Cohen

    Thank you for the cleaning review. When I clean my machine and remove the bobbin casings, I always push the soft (short) brush down into the machine through the oval hole on the side of the part that encases the bobbin casing. I find lots of dust etc is trapped down there even though I am very good about regular cleaning. Am I running a risk of hurting some part of the machine when I do this (I have an Viking Epic 95q)? Any thoughts?

  5. Mary Craveiro

    You forgot to mention oiling.

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