Tips for Cleaning Your Sewing Machine

Tips for Cleaning Your Sewing Machine

Since your sewing machine is your best friend, why not take excellent care of it? There are several things you can do for your favorite companion to keep it healthy and happy. Here are a few easy steps to clean, maintain, and keep your sewing machine in tip-top shape!


After every few uses, it’s a good idea to open up all the parts of the machine that are accessible (meaning you don’t need a screwdriver to open them) and get out all that thread and fuzz that tend to accumulate with use. There are tiny little vacuum attachments available just for this purpose—they fit onto the end of your vacuum hose and can reach inside the little nooks of your sewing machine to suck all the gunk out. Such a great little invention!

For a deeper clean, break out your tools (your machine will often come with a special screwdriver) so you can carefully remove the more permanent panels to vacuum out the interior areas. Refer to your manual for specifics for your individual machine.


Most of the newer machines on the market today are self-oiling, but be sure to read your manual to make sure. Some machines have 3 to 5 points that need to be lubed with a drop of oil every few uses. If your machine came with a little tube of oil, chances are you need to oil that guy to keep him happy.

Professional cleaning

Once a year, I like to take my machine to a professional to have it cleaned. Cleanings can run anywhere from $80 to $150 depending on the machine. Yes, I know that’s a pretty price to pay, but here’s why it’s important: The lubricants used in the larger joints of the machine dry out over time and lose their viscosity. Left without maintenance for years upon years, this stuff essentially turns to glue! Ick!

You will notice when you have left your machine too long without a professional cleaning. Symptoms include a stiff handwheel, changes in stitch length, skipped stitches, loose tension, and groaning noises. This is especially important if you live in a dry climate, as the lubricant dries out even faster. Be kind and keep your machine hydrated! (Did you know your thread can dry out too? Here are some tips on how to deal with that.)

Do a combination of these things for your buddy, and you will both have a long, happy relationship and MANY years of sewing to enjoy together! Happy sewing (and cleaning)!

Related Links:

Sewing Machine Maintenance Tips

How to Prepare a Sewing Machine

Choosing the Right Sewing Machine Needles

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Sewing Machine

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33 Responses to “Tips for Cleaning Your Sewing Machine”

  1. James Walter

    Taking care of your sewing machine is crucial, and your tips here make it feel like a true friend indeed! Regular cleaning is key to keeping it in prime condition, and your advice on clearing out accumulated fuzz and thread after every few uses is spot on. Those vacuum attachments designed for sewing machines are indeed lifesavers!


    "Maintaining a clean sewing machine is essential for optimal performance and longevity. These tips provide clear, step-by-step instructions for effective cleaning. Take the time to clean your machine regularly to prevent buildup and ensure smooth stitching.

  3. Best Coverstitch Machine

    This post on cleaning your sewing machine is a game-changer! I had no idea that such simple maintenance could make such a big difference in the performance of my machine. I particularly appreciate the step-by-step guide and the use of easily accessible materials. I'll definitely be incorporating these tips into my regular sewing machine maintenance routine. Thank you for the great advice!

  4. Ava Murphy

    I liked that you suggested referring to the manual of your sewing machine to find out how can you open up all its parts. This is something that I will share with my mother so she can be convinced to shop for the manual specific to her sewing machine.

  5. Shammy Peterson

    It caught my attention when you said that symptoms such as a stiff handwheel, changes in stitch length, skipped stitches, and many more are caused when you have left your machine for too long. This could have been the reason why my late grandfather's sewing machine feels too heavy to use. We never had the chance to have it serviced in the past, so I will make sure that it will be repaired by a professional. Your tips will surely allow us to care for it for a long time.


    Here’s another tip: The quickest way to clean your machine when you are in the middle of sewing is canned air! A quick blast of air clears out everything without having to unscrew everything.

  7. Rosemary

    Bought my first machine when I was 12 years old. I am eighty this year so have lots of sewing in my lifetime as we had four daughters. I still do craft shows & make over 1000 pr of recycled woollen mittens each year so I am continually cleaning my machines. (Have three) I taped a plastic drinking straw to the end of one of the vacuum parts & it works great for places you can't reach. Happy sewing everyone!!

  8. Linda Rogers

    This was very interesting and informative.

  9. Diane Martens

    maintenance tips

  10. Lori G Barron

    A good reminder. Thanks for the information, very helpful.