How to Fix & Repair a Sewing Machine

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Things You'll Need

  • white lithium grease

  • sewing machine oil

  • replacement drive belt (if necessary)

  • screwdriver

  • eyeglasses cloth

Before You Bring it to the Repairman

A sewing machine is a mechanical sewing device that is made to withstand a large amount of sewing in short periods of time. Sewing machines are not indestructible, though. Depending on the problem you experience with your sewing machine, you may be able to fix it yourself without taking it to a repairman. Most likely, the machine is dirty or needs a small part replaced and the appropriate measures should be taken at home before bringing it in to a professional.


Step 1

Take off the machine covers to clean it. Remove the covers on the front of the hand wheel and on each side of the sewing machine with a screwdriver. You may need a standard screwdriver or a Phillips head, depending on the screws used to assemble your machine. Remove the small piece of metal that covers the thread bobbin with your screwdriver.

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Step 2

Carefully vacuum your machine with a small attachment. This will remove any dust or debris that has gotten caught in the sewing machine which may be the root of your operating problems. Take special care vacuuming the gears which gather dust and grease around them.

Step 3

Lubricate the gears of the sewing machine with white lithium grease. White lithium grease can be purchased at your local sewing store or hardware store, as well as purchased online. Using an eyeglasses cloth, carefully rub the gears with a generous amount of white lithium grease.


Step 4

Using the eyeglasses cloth, polish the rest of the machine using sewing machine oil. Sewing machine oil can be purchased online or at your local sewing supply store. Carefully rub the metal areas of the machine with a generous amount of the sewing machine oil.

Step 5

Replace the drive belt if needed. To determine if the drive belt needs replacement, find the long, black belt winding around the machine behind the metal panels on the sides and hand wheel. If the belt is weathered, cracked, or broken entirely, you need to replace the belt. You can purchase a new belt online at sewing specialty websites (see "Resources" below). To replace the drive belt, unscrew the screws fastening the motor to the machine and slide the belt out from underneath. Slide the new belt in and tighten the screws on the motor. Place all panels back on the sewing machine and screw them on tightly.


If your sewing machine still does not work after these home repairs, take your machine to a sewing machine repair shop or sewing store for help.


Turn off and unplug your sewing machine before performing any repairs.


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