Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sew, Sew Saturday...How To Clean Your Sewing Machine

Hello everyone!! Welcome to another Sew, Sew Saturday. I thought I would change things up and not share a sewing project, but a sewing "machine" it!!

We all have different machines, but basic steps are the same, just might look different on your machine... My machine is a Bernina aurora 440QE.

The best thing to do is read your manual first.

Ok...let's get started...

First few steps...unplug it.

Remove your presser foot...

needle and thread.

On my machine, there is a little circle area in the back right corner...

Press on that and it will pop open.

To be completely honest, I usually stick that little screw driver they give you with the machine in the hole near the feed dogs and pop it up. I know that can't be good, so I'll use that little thing in the back from now on lol

Oh, good Lord.

I won't say any more. I'm hanging my head in shame!!

Now take that little brush they give you and get ready!!

We're going in!!!

It looks frightened doesn't it?

Sweep away the dust bunnies...

Wow...there has to be a Tool Time Tuesday project with this. Lol

Can you hear it breathing a sigh of relief? Actually, it's probably cursing at me.

Now to the inside.

Gets dusty in there too.

Remove your bobbin casing.

On my machine, there is a clip on the left. Push that and pop it open to clean the hook.

A door will drop...

It drops all the way down, but doesn't come off.

See...dust bunnies.

Now just reach in and pop out the hook. It should just fall out.


Clean, clean, clean...

This is where I would put a drop of machine oil right on the bottom of the hook casing (according to my book)

Run the machine on scrap fabric, so you don't ruin any fabric with the oil.

Hope this helps and gives you a little push to clean your machine. I need to set up a routine to do this regularly.

 Have a great Sew, Sew Saturday!!

Pin It


  1. When I worked for Bernina Karen a lady came in to the shop with her machine and wanted to know if we had a felt pad to replace the one she had on her machine---it looked very much like your little pile of fluff.
    Needless to say we explained to her that it was not a felt pad and she walked out very sheepishly.
    Which reminds me I must checkup on what the dust bunnies have been up to on my machine.

    1. LOL That story made me laugh. I loved that.

      Thanks for the cleaning tutorial! Very appreciated. I'm kind of a new sewer still & knew mine had to be ready for cleaning, but was scared to really get in there (afraid of messing something up). I get on Pinterest a minute ago and here's your tutorial. Hmm... Think that's a sign! Lol. Thank you. It was really helpful to me. I'll be getting my little brush out in a few minutes. :)

  2. I have a Bernina to but a different model. We clean them the same. My biggest problem is getting that dang hook in the right spot and getting it to stay while I shut the case. Do you have any secrets to make that part easier?

    1. I just tip the machine back a little with my left hand and the put the hook back in. Takes a couple times for the hook to get back in place, but tipping really helps me. Just close the hook latch while it's tipped

  3. Thanks, Karen! I'm very good about cleaning my machine (after every bobbin change), but think I've only cleaned the hook once or twice - I kind of forgot about that part. So, thanks for the reminder!!

  4. This is a great reminder Karen - thank you. I do clean mine fairly regularly but I know I should do it more often.

  5. Recently I was complaining to my mom that my sewing machine just sounded awful. I blamed the ridiculous amount of sewing I had just finished to complete a play at the local theater. She asked me when the last time I cleaned it was **insert sound of crickets here** if you have dust bunnies I had dust elephants!

  6. Thanks for the photos - I must do this soon!

  7. Just like a car, it's important to maintain and oil your machine regularly. I try to remember to do this whenever I change the bobbin. My machine kind of "tells" me when it needs cleaning as it makes a different sound.

  8. I have a QE440 too! LOVE IT. I saw a you tube where a lady took the casing out and rubbed the oil around the edge of it and then inserted it back in. Don't overdo the amount of oil, a little will do. That's pretty easy. This is for the Bernina machine. ALSO, I just learned this from a class by Sharon Schamber this year....She's one of the reigning queens of quilting right now....but don't use the machine oil that shops sell or give you with the machine. It actually has a small amount of paraffin in it and can clog your machine. Never use oil that has turned yellow. She suggests emptying out your oil container and putting mineral oil in it instead. (Or just keep mineral oil in your sewing room) Whatever. She owned a sewing shop with 200 workers and only used mineral oil. Now here's the last advice she gave'll flip out...but it does work. Dip all your threads, including embroidery thread, into mineral oil, let it drip and dry out. Just drop the spool of thread into some mineral oil. Yes, it will take a while. But even putting a spool back on your machine that has just been dipped and not completely dry will not hurt it.Dab off as much as possible with a paper towel. That's because all industrial machines have a casing on them filled with mineral oil that the thread routes through to the machine. Home machines do not. She told us if we did this with all our thread, that our threads would last forever and we would not have to oil our machines all the time. You can also dip those bobbins that still have the thread on them into mineral oil. You talk to anyone who has taken classes from Sharon and they will know this! She also told us that the only needle you ever need to use is a Schmetz Embroidery needle. On anything. They are stronger and will outlast any other needle. But that is another lesson. She worked in the bridal industry before quilting. If you are afraid to try this, check with someone who has taken one of her classes.

    1. I want the others to know that I am not the Karen of this blog, I am Karen from Alabama....just so it's not confusing.
      Barbara below asked about changing the needle....we are taught to change the needle after 5 hours of sewing or if the needle gets a burr on it or we encounter problems with our stitching. The other thing that our friend told us was that this is not necessary (every 5 hours), we have been told that by the sewing machine industry. She shared with us how she had 3 machine repairman hired full time before all her factory machines were changed to only use the embroidery needles. Because the sewing machines performed so much better with these, she was able to drop two of those repairman. I have heard this from other quilting teachers as well, that you only need to replace your needles, if they are burred or you begin having problems with your stitches. Don't sew over pins so that your needle is occasionally nicking those pins, as that will eventually hurt your sewing stitches. I would use a different needle for delicate heirloom sewing.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Hi Karen!
      Thanks for the post! Great pics! Such a necessary part of sewing! Amazing how fast it gets "fuzzy!"
      (Removed my comment b/c of typos! hehe)

  10. I laughed when I read Doreen's reply. When I first started to sew, I had a simple straight/ zig zag machine. I asked my mom if I could borrow her machine, a Singer 401 with the drop-in cams for decorative stitches, as I was sewing a baby layette. My dad bought the machine for my mom back in the very early '60's and my mom was not a sewist! She made a few flannel nightgowns but that was about it. When I was done using the machine, I changed the needle, cleaned it and removed mom's 'felt' pad (see Doreen's post). When I returned the machine and told my mom I had cleaned it and replaced the needle, she asked me "did you break the needle?" I told her no, but I did not want to return the machine with a dull needle. She looked at me and said, "well that's the second needle the machine's ever had and I've never oiled it"..... The machine was over 20 years old! To this day, I am still pretty meticulous about maintaining my machines (I have a 'few')

  11. This is the best blog entry ever! I never have (after 40 years of sewing) read my machine book on how to clean my machine. I just did it the way they showed me when I bought my latest machine. They totally left out the part about cleaning the hook! Thanks for sharing this! You are awesome!

    Cheery wave from

  12. Thanks for the reminder! :D I get focused on finishing a project and forget that large projects last longer than my undercasing wants to go between cleanings.

  13. Just do it every time you take a new needle!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this. I don't sew much and I didn't really think about cleaning my machine. I should probably get on it! :)

  15. Hey Karen, Thanks for the reminder. Just wanted to let you know there's a vacuum attachment that I think is used mostly for electronics. It makes your regular sized hose tiny enough to get lint out of the small places in your machine and has different brushes and sizes. I got mine at Harbor Frieght for about 6 bucks. Thanks for all your helpful hints- I always look forward to your blog!

  16. I try to keep my Bernina 820 cleaned too. Recently they went through the whole thing. The same for my Pfaff. I had a broken part so my husband cleaned and fixed all of it. I have a old Singer 221 that I bought and never used it. Now that is going to be a winter project for my husband. There are so many oil places according to the little book. I'm looking forward to sewing on it someday. Thanks for all the reminders. Your humor really adds to your blog.

  17. Thanks for a great post! I have tried to ask dealers about cleaning and oiling my machine, and they always told me their technicians could tell me but they didn't know. This is perfect!

  18. Great post, Karen! This is the way I clean my Bernina 1260 also, and try to do it with each new bobbin. The dealer showed me to just put a drop of oil on my little finger and run it around the hook casing. I've been sewing on this machine for so long now, I can actually here the difference when it needs cleaning!

  19. They showed me how to do this when I got my Bernina, so I try to do it occasionally. =) Great reminder too!

  20. Oh, don't you just love your Bernina?!! It is so important to keep the cleaning and oiling on a regular basis. I can usually tell by the sound it makes as I sew when it's time to do a little housekeeping.
    Thank you for sharing this most helpful tutorial and reminder.
    Blessings and happy sewing, my friend!

  21. I heard about dipping the thread in oil also. I have a Juki that loves a good oiling. They recommend cleaning after every bobbin change, and I do try to follow that.... But I have no idea how often we are supposed to change the needle... Ladies??

  22. Last year for Christmas my sister and I cleaned my Mom's 1948 Singer Featherweight. She had never cleaned the feed dogs or looked under or inside. It was gross. For maintenance my mom merely squirted ONE drop of oil in every hole. We cleaned up lint and dried on oil, then we oiled everything that moved. Once we were done Mom said it ran like it did when she got it new. Then she said she wouldn't have bought a new machine if she knew it ran like that. Mom sewed EVERYTHING on that little Featherweight - EVERYTHING.She made her wedding dress out of a silk parachute, she sewed everybody's clothes, all curtains, re-upholstered the couch and a few chairs, patched tents, you name it.

    I buy and sell old sewing machines. A lot of the time I'll buy a machine and it will have the felt caked on. Some times I wonder if that isn't why they got rid of the machine - they didn't know how to clean it. I'll get it clean and it runs as good as new. I change the needle when it hits something it should not hit, if it makes noise, if it seems dull, some times I just change it if has been a while.

  23. My Bernina technician also says to clear out any lint or threads in the groove of the bobbin case base. To do that, run an old sewing machine needle along that edge. I also use spray air to remove any teeny bits I might have missed with my brush. To remember to oil your machine, just do so every time you fill a bobbin. That's what I do!

  24. Thank you for sharing this (and the reminder)! I just got a new machine and definitely will need to remember to clean it.

  25. Karen tienes un blog muy util, esta limpieza esta muy bien explicada, pero yo la hago pocas veces y con susto de no saber poner las piezas, gracias por enseƱarnos todo lo que sabes. Besos.

  26. Very nice and helpful information has been given in this post. I like the way you explain the things. Keep posting. Thanks!
    Sewing Machines

  27. Nice post having good information about Road sweeper machine and Cleaning machines.
    . Thanks for sharing this post.

  28. Your site is very informative and your articles are wonderful.
    Carpet Cleaning

  29. I touch really precise version these articles I stingy there are writers that can create moral stuff.


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment...I just love hearing from you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Related Posts with Thumbnails