How to Oil a Kenmore Sewing Machine

Things You'll Need

  • User manual or service manual

  • Sewing machine oil

  • Rag

  • Q-tip

Properly maintaining your Kenmore sewing machine will enhance its usability and extend its longevity. One of the foundational steps for maintaining a Kenmore sewing machine is regularly oiling your sewing machine. The best resource for oiling a Kenmore sewing machine will be the original sewing machine manual or a service manual for a step-by-step diagram or an image with all the locations that need oil usually marked by arrows.

Step 1

Check your Kenmore sewing machine user manual for a diagram of the parts to oil for your make and model. If you do not have a manual, search for either a user manual or a service manual online and purchase one. You can buy user manuals even for retired Kenmore sewing machines or older Kenmore sewing machine. Sometimes the manuals are photocopies because the actual manual has been out of print.

Step 2

Add one or two small drops of oil to the parts labeled in the diagram specific to your Kenmore sewing machine. Moving parts, both metal and plastic, will need maintenance oiling. The humidity levels in your home, amount of salt in the air and how your sewing machine is stored will affect the oiling needs and locations. Low humidity, high salt content or bright sunlight on a Kenmore sewing machine will warrant more oiling on moving parts that are more exposed.

Step 3

The parts on a Kenmore sewing machine that usually need to be oiled more regularly include the moving parts where the bobbin is spun--on older models this is located near the thread spool--the base of the moving part that pulls the thread up and down after it leaves the tension dial, the moving part that controls the needle and the moving parts near the bobbin case. Remove any lint or threads that can build up in or around the bobbin case before oiling.

Step 4

You will need to remove the case to access some moving parts listed in your Kenmore sewing machine manual oiling diagram. You also will need to tilt the head to the underside to get to a few other important moving parts. The parts that remain covered tend to need oiling less regularly.

Step 5

If you don't feel comfortable oiling your machine for the first time or oiling the parts that require you to take apart your machine, then take your Kenmore sewing machine to a local sewing machine service repair shop. Have the sewing machine technician walk you through the basics of oiling and maintaining your machine.


You can use a dropper to oil your sewing machine. Keep a Q-tip or a rag handy to catch or wipe away excess oil drops.

There is a difference in a user manual and a service manual, but either will include the directions for oiling your Kenmore sewing machine.


In addition to oiling your Kenmore sewing machine, you should consider taking it in to be serviced--this will keep it running better and longer.

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