How Do You Know If Your Sewing Machine Needs Oil

Making sure you keep your sewing machine in working order is essential if you want to continue sewing garments and projects without interruption. One of the most important maintenance tasks is to keep your machine lubricated; this is normally done by putting oil in the right places. But how do you know if your sewing machine needs oil?

Many sewing machines require periodic oiling. Knowing when your sewing machine requires oil is not difficult, if you follow the instructions in the manual carefully. The manufacture of the machine will provide specific instructions regarding the lubrication and oil requirements. It will also tell you what type of oil is reccomended for your sewing machine.

Some people try to guess when does their machine need oil, but this isn’t reliable. Generally, it’s best to adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions and lubricate according to the schedule indicated. It’s also important to note that some parts of the machine don’t need to be oiled, so make sure that you follow the instructions carefully and don’t over oil the machine.

Other indications that your sewing machine needs oil can be found beyond the instruction manual. Listen for the machine’s sound. If it starts to sound like a loud humming or it becomes louder than usual this might be a sign that something is not right. It could be a sign that oil is needed.

Another sign that your machine needs lubrication is when the machine is moving at a slower speed than what is normal and also when it begins to make strange noises when you stitch. If your machine starts to sound like it needs to “catch its breath” it could mean that it needs to be oiled. Lastly, if the stitched come out with a different color than usual or have a different texture, it also could mean that your machine needs to be oiled.

How to lubricate the sewing machine

To do the job right, it’s best to unplug the machine before adding the oil. This will prevent any risks of electric shock. Begin with cleaning the machine. This involves taking off the faceplate, unthreading the needle, and removing all of the lint and dust from the area. This can be done with a brush and/or a lint roller. Then, carefully apply a few drops of machine oil to the oiling points, which are usually located on the bar that moves the needle up and down. Do not add oil to the upper part of the machine or any other place that does not have an oiling hole or a spot marked for oiling.

Once the oil is applied, run the machine for a few minutes to ensure the oil is evenly distributed. When you are finished, wipe away any excess oil with a dry cloth. It’s also a good idea to check the thread tension as well, to make sure the machine is working correctly. Finally, carefully re-attach the faceplate and thread the needle before you begin stitching again.

Where to buy sewing machine oil

Machine oil can be purchased from many craft stores, sewing machine dealers, and online stores. There are many types of oil available and it should be noted that some oils are not suitable for all machines. Make sure to read the label and check with the manufacturer of sewing machine if you’re still unsure. It’s important to buy high-quality oil that won’t harm the machine and that is suitable for the specific machines it is intended for.

Some machines require specialized oil and if you’re unsure of what type to buy, it’s best to consult a sewing machine specialist who can advise you on what type and how much oil you need for your machine. If the oil is not properly distributed or is the wrong type, it can do more harm than good and cause further damage.

Maintaining your machine

Maintaining your machine is essential for its long-term performance. In addition to lubricating the machine, make sure you keep the machine clean and free from dirt and dust. Regularly change the needle and check for other signs of wear and tear. Make sure the power cord and plug connections are clean and secure, and never leave the machine plugged in. If you use your machine often, it’s recommended that you take it to a qualified service person at least once a year to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Being proactive and attentive to your machine’s needs will greatly help in extending its life. To get the best performance and finish, it’s important to lubricate your machine and use the right oil according to manufacturer’s instructions. By following these guidelines, you can make sure your machine runs smoothly with as few problems as possible.

Clean up correctly

It is also important to do a proper clean-up after each use to ensure the longevity of your machine. Unplug the machine each time you finish sewing. Clean the area around the machine and remove dust and lint from the machine itself. Make sure to clean and brush away the dust from the bobbin area and check for any loose thread or fabric pieces. Inspect for any parts which look bent or worn, and replace them if necessary. Lastly, run the machine for a few minutes to ensure that everything is running properly.

Tips for regular maintenance

Make it a habit to check the machine, oil it and clean it regularly. It’s best to regulate the different parts of the machine, like checking and adjusting the tension, and cleaning and lubricating the needle, feed dogs, bobbin and bobbin case. If you notice any signs of tension, noise or funny smells, then make sure you take your machine in for servicing. Performing regular maintenance and paying attention to your machine’s signs will help you to keep it in optimal condition and extend its life.


Knowing when to oil your sewing machine is crucial in keeping it in good condition. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions, any unusual noises and check the tension of the machine. If you need to lubricant the sewing machine, make sure to perform the proper steps, using the right oil and cleaning the machine quickly afterwards. And always remember to unplug the machine when you’re not using it.

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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