Author Topic: how often do you clean your machine & what exactly do you do for @ home maint?  (Read 2187 times)

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Offline the OTHER Mom to 5 aka Tee

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I have had 1 machine for 7 years and has NEVER done any kind of maintenance on it....   ( I dont get regular oil changes on my car either but its 2010 & Im all about change)

I was scared to take it apart thinking Id never get it back together.....  but now I refuse to be intimidated by a machine.....


Where do I start??  I bought a bottle of sewing machine oil @ Walmart last night but I wouldnt even know where to put it

Offline sewsanna

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Your manual should tell you what maintenance you need to perform. If you don't have your manual, you might be able to find a copy online.

Your dealer would be the next one to check with. Or if you don't have a dealer, you could call a shop where your brand of machine is sold.

Some machines are not supposed to be oiled. I am not supposed to oil my Babylock, for instance.

If you post the brand and model of your machine perhaps someone here will have same and can advise you better.

Offline Gigi Louis

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I remove the needle plate and hook after every project, blow out the lint and put in a drop of sewing machine oil.  I repeat this every 8 hours or so.  On my commercial machine, I add a drop of oil to the hook with every bobbin change and a couple of drops daily on the oiling points.  I have my home machines serviced once a year and my industrials every couple of years.  The industrials are made to be maintained more by the user than home machines so I don't find they need professional attention as often.  As sewsanna mentioned, you should check your manual to see what at-home maintenance the mfr. recommends.

Be sure you use the proper oil.  This week in my friend's shop we've already had two machines completely frozen up due to being lubricated with cooking oil and another from WD40. :-)
Gigi (who's going broke saving money sewing)

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Offline SuziQz

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I use a well-cleaned wand from a tube of mascara to fish out the lint around the bobbin - I have a top-loading bobbin - which works well.

Gigi - Cooking oil?!?   ???  I never would have thought of using that, which is a good thing, I suppose. 

Offline sewsanna

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I like the mascara wand idea. Think I'll save one and use it, although I do have a brush specifically for that purpose.

Before every project, I take out the bobbin case and make sure no lint is in it or caught in the hook. I was told by the shop to blow out the race with canned air, but to aim it outward.

Yesterday, I dusted the machine case.

When I left for a week, I turned off the surge protector I have my machine plugged into. That is, I "unplugged" my machine by turning off the surge protector.

But I am not supposed to oil my Babylock.

Offline Sew-Classic

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I agree with Gigi that you should first check your owners manual for cleaning and maintenance directions.  Be aware that even if there are no oiling directions in your manual doesn't automatically mean that your machine will never require lubrication.  What this does mean is that any oiling and lubrication required for that model is intended to be performed by a sewing machine tech when you take your machine in for periodic, professional service.

I do have a page on my blog, Resources for DIY Sewing Machine Repair & Maintenance that has links, book suggestions, and references for non model specific information about maintaining and repairing your own machine.
"Jenny"
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Offline marciae

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If you haven't had your machine cleaned in 7 years I highly recommend taking it to a dealer.  You have too much money invested to mess up the machine!!  And you don't regularly change your car oil?? :o :o :o
I refuse to tip toe cautiously thru life only to arrive safely at deaths door.
Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says...  'Oh darn ........ she's awake!!'
Age may wrinkle the face, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul

Offline granmomus

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I use a well-cleaned wand from a tube of mascara to fish out the lint around the bobbin - I have a top-loading bobbin - which works well.

You can buy new unused mascara wands at beauty supply stores, can't remember what I paid but very inexpensive.
I also clean & oil after each project, following the instructions in the manual. I think the machine thanks me by sounding so much smoother.

Offline granmomus

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aggh, I don't know how my reply ended up in the quote box on my previous reply, but at least I can clean & oil machines even if computers confuse me-LOL
Anyway what I was trying to say is: You can buy new unused mascara wands at beauty supply stores, can't remember what I paid but very inexpensive.
I also clean & oil after each project, following the instructions in the manual. I think the machine thanks me by sounding so much smoother.

Offline sewsanna

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Just to clarify. My manual says not to oil my machine.

If it says to oil, it should say how and where. (It's usually the bobbin case, if memory serves?)

Offline AnnRowley

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I too have a machine that doesn't require oil.
But I clean mine between every project.  I use a small,soft paintbrush for difficult areas.

The manual usually gives pretty good guidance.

I have a lot invested in my machine - I suspect it gets better care than my car, but I do have the oil changed... :)

Offline BetsyV

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I take the bobbin case out (a top-loading type) and dust it and where it came from and as far inside that area as I can reach with a natural bristle makeup brush that hadn't been used for anything else. I find it gets into dusty places better and attracts lint better than the plastic-bristled brush that came with my machine. I also try to get the dust out of every nook and cranny I can reach above the needle. I do this between every garment unless I have two similar and fast projects back to back, like 2 knit tops. Some projects require interim dusting, such as velvet or cotton flannel. I also dust the entire outside of the machine. It's my "start a new sewing project" ritual.

I bought mine used 4 years ago and have never had it serviced. It's an entry level computer-based Viking manufactured in 1995, and I have no idea what the previous owner did for maintenance, if anything. She didn't use it much. It does not require regular oiling.

My original sewing machine, a Singer Creative Touch 1036, was the first no-oil machine that Singer made, I think. The gears under the bobbin are plastic. I got it for Christmas in 1979, my senior year of college. I only ever had that machine in for service when something no longer worked. Until I busted the upper tension module 4 years ago. I haven't had it repaired. I found this Viking on Craigs List instead.

Offline Sew-Classic

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Even for machines that specifically state in the manual that the user is not to oil the machine, it may still require periodic, supplemental lubrication.  The intent on such machines is for the sewing machine tech do take care of this when the machine comes in for periodic maintenance.

On very low end machines, not only will there often be no oiling instructions for the user, but the manufacturer doesn't expect people to invest $50 to $100 per shot getting any service or maintenance services performed on a $99 machine.  Essentially, it's intended to be disposable.
"Jenny"
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Offline Quilt Queen

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I'm with Gigi- my mechanic recommends domestic machines be serviced every 12 months, or more often if you sew ALOT (commercially or home business- more than the hobby sewer).
Even machine that are sitting around not in use will have their lubricated parts dry out over time so its reallly worthwhile keeping up with the servicing.  You might find you won't believe how nicely the machine sews if you do service as recommended by the technicians.
Also do consult your manual for the machine- there should be specific information there and if there isn't, ask the dealership technician or informed staff.

Also when it comes to brushing out around the bobbin housing- I wouldn't recommend you use mascara wands either old or new , because often inside the want there is metal- and often the disposable wands intended for single use are very poorly made and have rough bits of metal on them-  last thing you want to go doing is to inadvertently scratch your bobbin casing or housing!  If they are plastic in the core then they might work well- I haven't tried it.
Whilst small cosmetic or paint brushes do attract lint nicely, just be careful that none of the hairs break off when cleaning- I have an old Singer manual that specifically recommends not using makeup brushes or similar because the fibres can get caught in tight spaces, break off and be very difficult to remove- because they are not strong fibres unlike nylon.  Do look around for other nylon brushes if you don't like the one supplied with your machine- some are stiff and useless but others have strong but flexible nylon bristles that do the job really well.
I have sometimes wondered about those little vacuum devices designed for the computer keyboards-if they don't have metal ends they might do a wonderful job of sucking out excess lint left behind from brushing.

I quilt professionally, and clean out my machine after every bobbin or two- quilts produce lint from batting, fabric and thread- and I'm always amazed at how much lint there is after a bobbin's worth of sewing.  It keeps the stitching spot on (as does changing the needle often)  Oiling varies across my models in the herd.
I often joke to my students that the only objects in the house I can guarantee are clean at all times are my sewing machines!!

Offline Gigi Louis

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I do have one of those little vacuum attachments but have little patience for how long it takes and the lack of suction.  I have a small compressor on wheels and use that to blow out my machines really well (that's how it's done when you have your machine serviced so don't worry that you're harming anything).  In between I use canned air and a stiff nylon brush (which attracts balls of lint like a magnet).  You don't have to be that delicate about it with most machines. 
Gigi (who's going broke saving money sewing)

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Offline theresa in tucson

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Another thing you must never, never do is blow into the machine.  That's spitting in your machine.  That was the hardest habit to break once my mechanic told me I must not do it and why (your breath has moisture and is not good for the metal parts of the machine).  He also said that with my multiples of machines (I have five) to run each one through its paces, unthreaded, for several minutes once a month or so.  He said with proper care, cleaning and oiling my oldest machine, a Singer 15-91, should last another 50 years.  As stated in other posts, follow the manual.

 

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