How To Clean Your Sewing Machine

Your trusty sewing machine likely sees a lot of work and a few tough jobs. But learning how to keep it clean is just as important as learning how to actually use it.

Think about it. Would you use a hand mixer, blender or slow cooker which had a load of dried on food and dirt leftover on it? Probably not, and your sewing machine is no different. To keep it working and giving the best results, it needs to be well maintained.

You probably already have the tools – most modern machines should come with these. If not, they will be available at any craft shop or online. This is a guide on how to look after modern sewing machines such as the ones we have reviewed – if yours is vintage, you may need to seek specialist advice.

Sewing Machine Maintenance And Cleaning

Sewing Machine Bobbin Case

The bobbin case is an important part of any sewing machine to keep in order


  • User manual
  • Lint brush
  • Tweezers
  • Machine oil
  • Cloth
  • Screwdriver


  1. Firstly, grab the user manual. This should have some basic care tips which are designed to suit your exact make and model – you don’t want to go in completely unaware of what to do and what is what
  2. Remove the slide plate and grab your lint brush. You’ll probably see a load of leftover threads under here, so a brush (and the tweezers if need be) should remove it. You may need the screwdriver to remove the plate
  3. The oil is for the bobbin hook, which allows the thread to flow seamlessly. The full instructions on how to use the oil and where to place it should be in the user manual. You don’t want to risk dropping it somewhere it shouldn’t go
  4. Take the cloth and wipe down the machine. Microfibre cloths are a great idea as they’ll attract the dust without spreading it about. Don’t forget about the buttons, levers and winders. You may need to grab a cotton bud to get as close as possible to the presser foot
  5. If there are any marks which aren’t removed with the cloth, slightly dampen a small section of it and wipe. Don’t get the water anywhere near the mechanics

Sewing Thread

Now To Keep It Looking This Way…

  • Cover your machine when it isn’t in use, first of all. Some models may come with specific hardcovers, or they are available to purchase separately. Or, grab a cloth cover – check dimensions, but most are universal. Some have handy pockets to store all the essentials in. Why not try making your own using an online guide?!
  • Service your machine. If it was an expensive purchase which you couldn’t afford to replace after a sudden breakdown, you might wish to get it serviced locally every year or so. You will be able to find somewhere with a quick Google search
  • Try to use new, strong threads especially designed for machines. Older threads can be more fragile, and therefore more prone to snapping or fraying. Which means a busy gathering of lint under your slide plate. Keep them for hand finishing
  • Keep on top of the cleaning! Do all the steps above at least every month, more frequently if you use the machine for work or heavier duty tasks

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Appliance Reviewer