Can 3 In 1 Oil Be Used On Sewing Machines


For many sewing tasks, lubrication and protection of the equipment is absolutely essential. While the use of specialized machines oil is recommended for some jobs, 3 in 1 oil can be a great alternative on a variety of sewing machines. 3 in 1 oil is a versatile lubricant that can provide protection, lubrication and cleaning to a sewing machine. It is a light-weight mineral-based oil that is also extremely cost-effective. In this article, we will explore the use of 3 in 1 oil on sewing machines, considering both its benefits and drawbacks.


One of the main advantages of 3 in 1 oil is its low cost, which makes it a great option for those on a budget. The oil is relatively easy to find at most hardware stores or online and can last for a relatively long time due to its low viscosity. Additionally, it is very runny, which makes it less likely to leave unsightly stains on your fabrics.
When used correctly, 3 in 1 oil can also provide excellent protection for your machine, helping to defend against wear and tear. The oil has excellent penetrating properties that allow it to seep into small, hard-to-reach areas which may otherwise be difficult to lubricate. Furthermore, 3 in 1 oil acts as a great rust inhibitor, helping to ensure that your machine is well-maintained and free of rust and corrosion.


One of the main disadvantages of using 3 in 1 oil is that it does not last as long as purpose-made sewing machine oil. As it is a light mineral oil, it has a tendency to evaporate more quickly, meaning that machines must be oiled more often. Furthermore, it is difficult to control the amount of oil being applied, as the oil is so runny, which could lead to unreliable lubrication and protection.
There may also be a build-up of residue if 3 in 1 oil is not wiped away completely after use. This residue can cause nasty stains on fabrics and even jam up small parts of the machine, reducing its efficiency. Therefore, it is important to be careful to ensure that all excess oil is removed once you are finished lubricating the machine.

Experts’ Perspectives

Recent studies by experts suggest that 3 in 1 oil can be a great option for those looking for a cost-effective lubricant for sewing machines. According to Dr. David Ivan, a professor at the University of Utah specializing in liquid lubricants, the oil is effective in providing both protection and lubrication. However, he recommends being careful when using the oil, as it is runny and difficult to control.
Similarly, sewing guru Abigail Smith recommends using 3 in 1 oil when working with budget machines, as it is cheap and relatively effective. However, she emphasizes the importance of taking extra care when using the oil, as it does not last as long as specialized sewing machine oil and can cause stains if not wiped away completely.

Suggested Use

The best way to use 3 in 1 oil on a sewing machine is to pour a small amount into a clean cloth, such as an old t-shirt or rag, and then apply the oil to the parts of the machine that need lubrication. Always be sure to wipe away any excess oil, as this can cause stains and jamming. For best results, it is recommended that you oil themachine every few weeks to ensure that it is free of rust and corrosion and runs smoothly.


In summary, 3 in 1 oil can be a great option for those looking for a cost-effective lubricant and rust inhibitor for sewing machines. While it is extremely versatile and can effectively protect and lubricate, it is important to remember that it does not last as long as specialized machine oil and needs to be applied more often. Additionally, extra care must be taken to ensure that no excess oil is left on the machine, as this could lead to staining and jamming.


There are several alternatives available to those looking for a suitable lubricant and rust inhibitor for their machines. High-grade sewing machine oil is one of the most popular options and is specially designed for use on sewing machines. This oil is specifically formulated to be non-toxic and non-staining and has a much slower evaporation rate, making it a longer-lasting and reliable solution.
Furthermore, special emulsifying oils, such as White Oil or Mineral Turpentine, can be used. These oils are specially designed to lubricate, penetrate and protect surfaces and are less likely to cause staining or residue build-up. Additionally, they are longer lasting and are often available in larger quantities than 3 in 1 oil.

DIY Solutions

Those looking for a more creative approach may want to consider creating their own DIY solutions. A homemade sewing machine oil can be made by combining 2 parts canola oil to 1 part lemon juice. This mixture can be applied directly to the machine before being wiped away with a clean cloth. Additionally, the oil can be stored in an airtight container for future use.
Honey can also be used to create a DIY sewing machine oil. Simply combine ¼ cup of honey with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and mix them together. The mixture should be applied to the machine and wiped away with a clean rag afterwards. It is also recommended to store the oil in a glass container and keep it away from heat and sunlight.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, 3 in 1 oil is a great alternative when lubricating and protecting sewing machines. However, it is important to take extra care when using it, as it can cause staining and residue build-up if not wiped away properly. Alternatives such as high-grade sewing machine oil and special emulsifying oils are generally a safer and longer-lasting option, though those looking for a more DIY approach can always create their own homemade solutions. With careful use, 3 in 1 oil can be a great choice for those on a budget looking to lubricate and protect their machines.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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