May 13, 2010

Basics Tutorial: Cleaning a Sewing Machine

If you sew lots (chances are you do) you need to take a few minutes to clean your machine.  With every bobbin change, (if you can take the time to stop) and in between piecing and quilting - those are my usual intervals between cleaning.

I recently mentioned needing to have my machine serviced, but decided to figure a few things out on my own! After a reading my manual and a bit of research online, I learned that my Janome should not be oiled.  Huh?  Ya, that's what I thought!  There's one little oil wick beneath the bobbin that needs a teeny bit (not very often), otherwise just clean it.  Check your manual for specifics for your machine!  It makes a difference.  I also switched thread, which has made a huge difference in the amount of lint generated - who knew!?

Here's the basics for regular cleaning --

 See your face plate - take it off.

 Undo the screw(s) to get to the inner workings of you bobbin case.
 Remove the bobbin case too.
 Take your little lint brush, and brush everything clean.
 In and behind the bobbin case.
 Take some spray air, or a mini vacuum if you have one, and clean out all the lint.
 Also clean the inside of the bobbin case.
 And the outside.  You want everything to be smooth and clean.
That way your thread runs over everything easily and smooth :)

Now you are ready to quilt!
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momto2wasd said...

Wow...I've never done such thorough cleaning in the 10 years I've had my machine. I guess I'd better get to it!!

Amy said...

I just wanted to mention to you that my Viking/Bernina/Babylock/Janome dealer says you should never use the spray air on your machine because it tends to force lint down into your machine where it will build up and be hard to get out and cause all sorts of trouble. I stick with just the little brush, but a mini vacuum attachment would be nice!

Amy - Park City Girl said...

I can see that being a problem. I was super gentle with the air and not a lot - I did notice a little fluff ball come out a small hole in my free arm. When in doubt us it sparingly :)

Gerry said...

Thanks for the reminder.
I have a new Bernina and am getting used to the difference between it and my previous machine [Viking]/
Thread, I know, does make a difference -

live a colorful life said...

Thread makes so much difference. I LOVE Superior thread. Masterpiece rocks. I have even taken Bob's (from Superior) course in threadology. I found learning about thread fascinating. Yep, pretty geeky when it comes to stuff like that.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow thanks for the tutorial. I've used the special attachment for my vacuum cleaner and that really helps to get some of the fluff out. I know I really should do it more often.

Sara said...

You forgot to say, "Put it back together!"

My machine is going in for maintenance at the end of the month, I'm going to ask them about taking out the bobbin case. I never heard of doing that before.

Angie said...

it is amazing what a difference cleaning your machine does!! Do you oil your machine too?

Melanie said...

Hmmm mine has been cranky lately, maybe I should clean it up!
I totally know about the thread though... whenever I use my cheap thread, there is lint everywhere!!

laurenaphelps said...

Should we be worried about the other mechanics of the machine? Thanks for the post! I've always wondered how I should be cleaning my machine.

audrey said...

I do this after each project and it helps! One other thing to consider with the canned air is that if you have a computerized machine you want to be extra careful with the canned air, when it gets cold enough liquid will come out and can rust the innards of your machine.

Annelies Dease said...

My husband is a photographer and has this cool thing for cleaning lenses. It looks like a turkey baster, gives puff of air for gentle cleaning and works like magic on my sewing machine too. So no more canned air....and a very inexpensive thing to pick up in a camera shop.

Leah S said...

I used canned air on my modern singer machine and it blew out the wick under the bobbin that has oil in it. It was a MESS trying to get that wick back in!!

Now I have front-loading Berninas, no more wick worries. Just a drop of oil in the bobbin area after you clean out the lint. :)

Terriaw said...

I often neglect cleaning out my machine, but this is exactly what I do when I make the effort. The manual really is becoming my friend too!

Suedio said...

I find that a cotton bud (q-tip) is really handy for grabbing the lint from in and around the bobbin compartment. I've been using my Janome for 22 years and have only had to add to the tiniest drop of oil to a belt wheel last year as it developed an annoying squeak. I usually give it a good clean around the bobbin and change the needle after I've finished a quilt, as well as a bit of a vacuum about once a year. That seems to keep everything ticking along nicely.

Thanks for sharing your tips.

Regards, Sue

OliveStreetStudio said...

oooo my machine is so overdue for a good is on my morning "to-do" list. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

When I purchased my big Janome a few weeks ago, the repair guy at the store said to use a Q-tip to lightly remove the lint in and around the bobbin case. the q-tip is like lint and will pick up lint. The dealer also stressed using good thread.

Kari said...

What thread do you like best? I just started using some Presencia to see how much lint it makes. I just had some bad luck with Valdani.