How to Oil a Sewing Machine?

It is frustrating when your sewing machine stops working in the middle of sewing. Cleaning and oiling your machine regularly will let you enjoy break less and smooth performance out of your machine. No matter what brand your sewing machine comes from, you have to clean and maintain the machine regularly with the right kind of oil. However, the way to oil the sewing machine for home use and industrial use might differ from brand to brand. In this article, we are going to share how to oil a sewing machine so that you can work non-stop. Moreover, we will also share some basics to make sure that you do not make mistakes in choosing the right lubricant and oiling the right way. Let’s dive in:

How Often Should You Oil Your Sewing Machine? 

It is a no-brainer that you do not need to oil your sewing machine every day. How frequently you should use the lubricant on your sewing machine depends largely on the two factors: 

  • Fabric-type you use 
  • How frequently you use your machine. 

If you use heavy fabrics like velvets, it is recommended to oil your machine at least once a week. On the contrary, in the case of light fabrics, you can clean your machine once a month. 

The frequency of using your machine is another important factor to take into consideration. If you are a regular user, you are supposed to oil your sewing machine once a week. If you are a moderate user, oiling your machine once a month is fine. 

However, if you are hardly using your sewing machine but want to keep your machine smooth and ready to work, you should consider using the lubricant once in three months. Note that, if your machine is not used for years, we recommend you take professional help to oil and tune your sewing machine to work again as a new one. 

Types of Oil for the Sewing Machine

Though Petroleum is the most common kind of oil used as a lubricant for your sewing machine, you have a bunch of other alternatives as well. There are a few natural and artificial alternatives that can safely be used to oil your sewing machine. For example, many use coconut oil as a natural lubricant for their home-use sewing machines.

Theoretically speaking, there are two types of machine oil: 

  • Mineral Oil
  • Synthetic Oil

Both types of oil are very effective when it comes to cleaning and making your sewing machine smooth. However, still, there are some core differences between them. 

Produced from the petroleum-based substance, mineral oil is comparatively cheaper. You can use mineral oil on any machine. Though mineral oil does not have any adverse effect on the machine, your clothes will get stained if come in touch with this kind of oil. 

For lubricating both the plastic and steel parts of your sewing machine, synthetic oil is a good alternative. Along with protecting your machine from the oxidation, synthetic oil helps to prevent the thread breakage as it polishes the plastic parts of your sewing machine. However, when it comes to price, synthetic oil is way more costly than mineral oil. 

Now that you know the difference between mineral oil and synthetic oil, it is up to you to choose the right kind of oil for your machine as per your budget and preference. 

How to Oil a Sewing Machine: Step by Step 

Before you start oiling your sewing machine, you need to manage some equipment required for the oiling process. These include a compressed air can, a brush, a piece of clean cloth and most importantly the oil of your choice. When you have gathered all the required tools, it is time to oil your sewing machine step by step. Go ahead and start from the first step: 

Step–1: Read the manual of your machine and prepare your machine accordingly

Due to the difference in brand, it is a wise decision to check the instruction manual first to know the process of lubricating your sewing machine. However, one thing is common for machines of all kinds. And that’s unplugging of your sewing machine first.  

Follow the instruction prescribed in the user manual to get your sewing machine unplugged by removing the parts separately. If you are lucky, you might get the required screwdriver with the machine provided by the manufacturer for opening the parts. 

Step–2: Clean the sewing machine. 

Before you oil your sewing machine, you have to clean the parts first. Disassemble the small units and clean those with a nylon brush or paintbrush as per to the size of the units. Make sure that there is no dust left between the crannies and nooks and other small parts. 

For smaller parts, using a compressed air can is a good idea. A nozzle can help you here to go deeper and clean the internal parts. 

Use the end of the screwdriver to clean between the feed dogs. Also do not forget the bobbin case to remove and clean. 

To ensure that the big parts of the machine are covered, use a soft and clean cloth. 

Step–3: Lubricate and oil the machine 

After cleaning the sewing machine completely, you can now think of oiling the machine. With most of the machines, the manufacturers supply with one or two bottles of oil for free. 

In case you have spent the provided oil by your manufacturer, you can opt to buy oil from the market, or you can also use coconut oil or car oil. 

Squeeze a few drops of water first on hook race. It will help to moisturize the shuttle hook. 

Pour a few drops of oil into the housing unit and then into the silver ring where bobbin hook sits. 

Next, put some oil also in the outer ring of the bobbin hook. 

Complete the oiling process by oiling the moving parts of the sewing machine. Check if the machine is getting friction or not. 

Step–4: Wipe the excess oil away 

When the oiling is completed, you have to take back the excess oil out of your sewing machine. If you do not do so, your machine will not output the performance it is ought to do. Use soft fabrics so that you can get your machine free from the unnecessary oil. 

You can set a piece of clean cloth under the presser foot so that any oil that drops can be absorbed by this cloth. To clean the tension disk from excessive oil, you can use a tissue or piece of paper. The needle pin and bobbin case should also be cleared carefully. 

Step–5: Re-install the parts of the sewing machine in the right place

When you are done with oiling and wiping away the excess oil, it is time to reinstall the small parts in the right place. At first, install the throat plate and then the bobbin case. And then install the needles and all the other small parts one by one. 

If you are facing any problem in reinstalling the parts, read the user manual carefully and follow the instructions given there.

Final Thoughts

Oiling a sewing machine is not a very difficult task. You can do it at your home if you have the right tools and oil with you. We hope that this article has helped you to know the kinds of oil and how to oil a sewing machine properly.

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