How to Take Care of a Sewing Machine

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Sewing machines have become more sophisticated and expensive, but they also offer many functions and include hundreds of stitches that sewers value. Take care of a machine and protect your investment in it by regularly cleaning it after completing a project. Clean it more often if a project produces a lot of lint and thread remnants that can get trapped inside the machine’s components. Storing a sewing machine properly also is important.

  • Store a sewing machine in a place that’s not damp. Basements and laundry rooms are notorious for having a lot of moisture in the air. Storing a machine in such places will expose its metal components to moisture that can cause them to rust. Additionally, keep the machine’s dust cover on when it’s not in use.

  • Use a can of compressed air, a small nozzle attached to a vacuum cleaner, or a small brush with soft bristles to remove dust and lint from a sewing machine and its parts. Compressed air is particularly useful for cleaning remnants of thread out of the bobbin case.

  • Clean lint out of the machine’s feed dogs to prevent them from getting stuck. Lint-filled feed dogs also can cause the machine to miss stitches as you’re sewing. Take off the presser foot, lower the feed dogs and detach the throat plate. Return the feed dogs to a raised position and remove the lint trapped under them.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for oiling a sewing machine to keep its metal parts running smoothly. Be sure not to slather the machine’s components with oil, and only put the oil in the areas listed by the manufacturer. A machine that’s over oiled can leave a greasy residue on sewing projects. A drop of oil on machine parts is typically sufficient.

  • Get accessories made exclusively for your machine rather than using generic ones. For example, a generic bobbin can be marketed for use with a certain brand of sewing machine, but it may not be suitable for an upgraded version, even if it’s the same brand.

  • Take your sewing machine to an authorized dealer if it needs repairs. While the services of authorized dealers may seem more expensive, they can help protect the investment you’ve already made in your machine. Authorized dealers are already familiar with particular models and how they work, and they can get the parts specifically made for those models.

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