How To Clean Old Oil From Sewing Machine

How to Clean Old Oil from a Sewing Machine

Sewing machines need to be well maintained and oiled in order to run smoothly and effectively. Old, dried up oil can cause problems with stitching as well as damage to the machine. It is important to take the time to properly clean old oil off of a sewing machine in order to keep it running at its best. Here are some steps to help you clean an old oil from your sewing machine.


The most important thing when it comes to cleaning your old oil from your sewing machine is to be prepared. You will need a few supplies to get the job done right. First, you will need a clean rag to wipe off any excess oil. You will also need some isopropyl alcohol to help loosen the old oil. Finally, you may wish to have some clean oil on hand to replenish the machine’s internal workings.

Remove the Cover

The first step in cleaning old oil from a sewing machine is to remove the cover. This can be done by unclipping the Fastening or Beginner’s Guide from the machine. Once this has been done, the entire cover should come away from the machine. Be sure to keep the cover somewhere safe and away from the machine while you are working.

Wipe Down the Machine

Once the cover has been removed, it is time to begin wiping down the machine. Use a soft cotton rag and isopropyl alcohol to begin loosening the old oil. Don’t forget to focus on sections like the base of needle, loopers, bobbins, tensioners, and the shuttle hook. Once all of the old gunk has been wiped away, use the clean rag to wipe down the machine again, focusing on any remaining oil residue.

Oil the Machine

Now that the old, dried up oil has been removed, it is time to oil the machine. Be sure to use a light oil that is designed for lubricating sewing machines, or use the oil that came with your machine. Use your clean rag to apply oil to the main parts of the machine, such as the needle, loopers, and tensioners. Also, be sure to oil the areas where the cover connects to the machine.

Replace the Cover

Finally, you should replace the cover, fastening it back on to the machine. This will help keep the oiled, lubricated parts safe. Be sure to double check all the connections around the cover to ensure that everything is secure.

Regular Maintenance

Cleaning old oil from a sewing machine is an important step in regular maintenance. Be sure to check for oil residue every few months and clean it off when necessary. Doing this will help ensure that your machine is running smoothly and efficiently.

Wear and Tear Inspections

In addition to cleaning off the old oil, be sure to check your machine regularly to make sure that no parts are wearing down. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as frayed threads or holes in the fabric. If necessary, take the time to replace any worn parts before continuing to use your machine.

Knowledge of Various Sewing Machine Parts

One of the most important things to remember when it comes to cleaning old oil from a sewing machine is to know the various parts of the machine. Knowing where each part is located can help you clean more effectively and ensure that the old oil is completely removed.


Finally, it is important to remember to be safe when cleaning your machine. Be sure to unplug the machine before you begin cleaning, and keep all rags and cleaning supplies away from the machine while you work. Proper safety precautions can help ensure that your machine remains in good condition for years to come.

Knowledge of Proper Oiling Techniques

In addition to understanding the various parts of the machine, it is also important to understand the proper technique for oiling. Knowing how much (and where) to apply the oil can help ensure that your machine runs efficiently and that you don’t end up with a messy, oily mess. Make sure to read the instructions of your machine carefully before adding oil.

Tools for Cleaning

Aside from the supplies listed above, there are also several tools that can be used to help clean the machine. These include needle-nosed pliers, a small brush, and a pair of tweezers. These tools can help you target hard-to-reach areas and remove any stubborn bits of oil. Be sure to use these tools carefully and responsibly in order to avoid any damage to the machine.

Practice Makes Perfect

Cleaning off old oil from a sewing machine is not an overly complicated process, but it is important to take the time to do it properly. With a little practice and patience, you can quickly become an expert at cleaning and oiling your machine. Don’t forget to read the instructions on your machine carefully before you get started.

Be Prepared with Extra Supplies

It is always a good idea to have some extra cleaning supplies on hand in case of an emergency. This can include extra oil, cleaning rags, and isopropyl alcohol. Having these items ready can ensure that you are prepared for any situation and can clean off the old oil quickly and effectively.

Research Different Cleaning Techniques

There are a variety of techniques for cleaning the old oil off of a sewing machine. Some techniques may be more effective than others, so it is a good idea to research the different methods before deciding on a cleaning technique. Doing this can help ensure that your machine is clean and well maintained.

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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