How to Clean Your Sewing Machine

Aug 16, 2021

Cleaning and Maintenance Tips for Sewing Machines

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

Is your sewing machine beginning to “act up”?


When was the last time you had your machine cleaned or serviced?


Better yet, when you took it to get cleaned did you have to wait weeks or months to have it returned to your sewing space?


Stitchin’ Heaven is proud to be a supplier of the greatest sewing machine for quilters, we are an authorized Bernina Dealership. We also provide quality service and cleanings for most sewing machines.


Do you know the steps you need to take to maintain your sewing machine’s optimal running condition?


1. Do not use canned or compressed air!

Using canned air may seem like a logical and effective way to clean your sewing machine. I promise you it is not.


After hours and hours of usage your sewing machine begins to build up lent within your machine.


When you use compressed air or canned air to clean your sewing machine, where do you think all the lint goes? When you use compressed air you blow lint into sections of your sewing machine where lint is usually never exposed.


Accumulated lint over time begins to become an issue and begins to cause your machine to perform negatively. While your hook area may be visibly clean underneath you have compacted lint making it more difficult to clean.


2. How To Get Rid of Lint In Your Sewing Machine


When your machine begins to get filled with lint you will begin to notice its poor sewing performance, slower speed, or at worst it stops sewing all together.


Quick Recommendation: Clean your machine regularly and before use.

  1. Make sure that your machine is turned off and unplugged

  2. Gather your cleaning tools such as a small paintbrush, long and skinny tweezers and a soft lambswool tool.

  3. Remove the needle plate and with your handy dandy tweezers, remove any of the big pieces of lint. any of the big pieces of lint with your handy dandy tweezers.

  4. Remove any loose thread(s) that may be in your machine as well.

  5. You will then use your lambswool tool to gently back and forth clean the surface. The lambswool will act as a magnet for the dust and lint.

  6. Remove your bobbin case and take out the bobbin as well.

  7. Use the soft paintbrush to remove any lint from within the bobbin case and the bobbin casing.

  8. Replace all your components and begin sewing on your project.

You may think it may now be ok to use pressured air, but we will caution and advise you to not use compressed or pressurized air.


3. Having Thread Tension Problems


It is important to have and maintain proper tensions so that your stitches look the same.


Using a small paint brush clean under the needle plate and your bobbin case to again remove any build up of lint. Once you have done that you may want to oil the area if necessary.


It is recommended to replace your needle even if you have just recently placed a new one on the machine. Once you have replaced your needle try re-threading your machine. Make sure that the bobbin is turning in the correct direction as specified by the sewing machine manufacturer's recommendations


After re-threading your machine make sure that your needle thread and your bobbin thread is the same weight of thread.


4. Tools you should always carry to clean your sewing machine


As mentioned above there are a handful of tools every sewing machine owner should have on hand.

  1. A soft clean cloth - used to wipe down your machine inside and out. Use a soft cloth so as to not scratch your machine. Do not add moisture to your cloth, it should always be dry.

  2. Small paint or makeup brush

  3. Small brush with stiff bristles - your machine should have come with one for cleaning

  4. Small screwdriver - the screwdriver will be used for removing the needle and stitch plate screws - your sewing machine may not even require a screwdriver for simple cleanings

  5. A mini-vacuum - a mini-vacuum will help you get into those super hard to reach areas underneath your stitch plate. Plus it helps suck up all the lint you have just cleaned up.

  6. Lambs wool brush - acts as a magnet for attracting lint and dust. Be sure to knock off any dust you have accumulated on the brush before going in for another swipe.



If you're able to do the above quick cleanings you should be fine, however with today’s technology driven sewing machines its probably a great idea for you to keep that local quilt shops number handy.


As another good note, always keep your sewing machine manual handy. Maintain your sewing machines user manual. It will usually provide excellent direction for cleaning and maintaining your sewing machine.