10 Best Tips for Maintaining Sewing Machines

Maintaining your sewing machine is vital to ensuring its longevity and optimal performance. Whether you’re new to sewing or a seasoned professional, comprehending the details of sewing machine upkeep can greatly influence the quality of your work. Check out our detailed guide, crafted to offer practical advice and insights on keeping your sewing machine in perfect working order, so it functions effortlessly for years to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Consistent Cleaning: Regularly remove dust, lint, and stray threads to prevent performance issues.
  • Proper Lubrication: Use the recommended sewing machine oil to ensure smooth operation.
  • Needle Care: Replace your needle frequently to avoid stitch issues and fabric damage.
  • Bobbin Maintenance: Regularly check and replace bobbins to ensure balanced stitching.
  • Tension and Belts: Adjust thread tension as needed and inspect belts for wear and tear.
  • Gears and Power: Keep internal gears lubricated and ensure the power supply is secure and undamaged.

Make Sure Your Sewing Machine is Regularly Cleaned and Oiled

10 Best Tips for Maintaining Sewing Machines

Regular Cleaning and Oiling

Clean Regularly

One of the foundational aspects of sewing machine maintenance is regular cleaning. Dust, lint, and stray threads can accumulate in the bobbin area, under the throat plate, and around the feed dogs, potentially impeding your machine’s performance. A small brush and a soft cloth dampened with mild, soapy water can help keep your machine clean and functional. Remember to disconnect the power supply before starting the cleaning process.

Oil the Machine

Lubrication is key to a smoothly-running sewing machine. Specific oil ports require attention, and the frequency of oiling depends on your machine’s model and usage. Generally, a few drops of sewing machine oil are recommended every 6-8 hours of stitching time. Ensure you use only the oil recommended by your machine’s manufacturer to avoid damaging the internal mechanisms.

Sewing Needles Should be Changed Every Six to Eight Hours

Needle and Bobbin Maintenance

Replace the Needle

A dull or damaged needle can cause skipped stitches and fabric snags. Changing the needle after every 8-10 hours of sewing is advisable, ensuring it matches your machine’s specifications for optimal performance.

Check and Replace Bobbins

Bobbins are crucial for stitch formation. Regular inspection for lint buildup or damage is essential to ensure correct bobbin placement and tension for balanced stitching.

Tension Adjustment and Belts Inspection

Maintain Proper Tension

Proper thread tension is vital for quality stitches. Adjusting the tension dials according to your sewing machine manual can help prevent issues like tangled threads or puckered seams.

Inspect and Replace Belts

For machines with belts, periodic checks for wear and tear are necessary. Replacing stretched or worn belts can restore your sewing machine’s functionality.

Gears Lubrication and Power Supply Check

Keep Gears Lubricated

Internal gears also require lubrication to maintain smooth operation. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for applying gear oil to keep your machine running without a hitch.

Check Power Supply/Cord

Ensure the power cord and foot pedal are undamaged to avoid electrical hazards. To ensure an adequate power supply, it is best to directly connect your machine to a power source without using extension cords.

Maintaining Sewing Machines FAQs

How often should I clean and oil my sewing machine?

Cleaning and oiling frequencies vary depending on how often you use your machine. A general rule is to clean after every project and oil every 6-8 hours of sewing.

Can I use any oil for my sewing machine?

No. Using only the sewing machine oil or lubricant recommended by your manufacturer is crucial to avoid damaging the internal parts.

What should I do if my sewing machine starts skipping stitches?

First, check for dull or damaged needles and replace them if necessary. Also, ensure the bobbin is correctly inserted and the machine is properly threaded. If the problem persists, professional servicing might be needed.


Regular maintenance of your sewing machine is not just about keeping it clean and lubricated; it’s about ensuring its longevity and performance. Following these tips can prevent common sewing issues and help you enjoy a smoother experience. Whether working on a simple project or a complex creation, a well-maintained sewing machine is your best ally.

Now that you know how to maintain your sewing machine, you can focus on learning to sew! Of course, you should also check out our Beginner’s Guide to Embroidery Machines article.

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