How To Add Oil To Sewing Machine


Sewing machines are a common part of any seamstress’s toolkit, but keeping them running requires regular maintenance and upkeep. A key step in ensuring a well-maintained sewing machine is adding oil to the various parts and components. Not only does this process keep the machine running well, but it also reduces the wear and tear on the important internal parts.

Understanding When to Oil

When to add oil to a sewing machine varies on the machine and the manufacturer. Most machines should be oiled when they are purchased. After the initial oiling, oil will need to be added after consistent use or when the machine stops working correctly. It is easy to tell if a machine needs oiling; if it runs loud or starts and stops with each stitch, then it is likely time to add more oil.

Oil Type and Where to Place

When shopping for oil, it is important to select oil specifically meant for sewing machines. Other types of oils may cause damage to the important internal parts of the machine. It is important to know what type of machine is being used, as the oiling needs may vary between them. After selecting the correct oil, there are typically designated spots on the machine for pouring in the oil. On some machines, there may be a spout or hole marked for oiling. If there is not a designated spot, oil should be carefully added to the more wrinkled and moving parts.

Preparing the Machine

Before the oil is added, it is important to ensure the machine is free of dirt and lint. This can be done by using a small paintbrush or compressed air. Once the machine is clean, then it is time to oil.

Process of Oiling

The first step in adding oil to a sewing machine is to turn the machine off and unplug it. This will ensure no one gets shocked or hurt. After it is unplugged, the bobbin casing should be removed and oil added to the spot shown in the manual or where directed by the manufacturer. Care should be taken to not use too much oil, as this can cause a multitude of problems. To ensure the correct amount of oil is used, a dropper or dropper bottle can be filled with the oil. Once full, a few drops should be added to the desired spot.

Cleaning Up Excess Oil

Once the oil has been added, the excess oil should be wiped away with a cotton cloth or paper towel. This step is important to ensure the machine is free of excess oil and lubricants.

Aftercare and Maintenance

Once the oil has been added, it is important to inspect and maintain the machine. Any parts that are worn or frayed should be replaced, and the machine should be given a basic tuning and cleaning. This step is important to ensure the sewing machine is running as it should.


Adding oil to a sewing machine is a critical step in keeping it running well. Oiling the machine periodically will keep it running smoothly and should be done once a year at minimum. Proper care and maintenance of the machine will help it run longer and will provide better results in whatever it is being used for.

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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