How To Oil A Sewing Machine

How To Oil A Sewing Machine

To improve the performance of your sewing machine and to make it last longer, you need to clean and lubricate it regularly. The best way of lubricating it is by the use of oil designed specifically for sewing machines.

Some of the oil is made from petroleum products, but there are lots of other sewing machines oil alternatives in the market today.

In this article, we will guide you on how to oil a sewing machine properly. Also included are steps by steps guide on lubricating different brands of the sewing machine. This article also includes the pros and cons of using a sewing machine.

How to Oil A Sewing Machine

Your sewing machine will run smoothly and quietly if you clean and oil it regularly. It will also help if you remove the fabric lint and threads first that accumulate before applying the oil.

Step 1 – Read the Instruction Manual

The first thing you need to do is to prepare the sewing machine and read the instructional manual. Each brand of the sewing machine has a specific direction on how to clean and oil the machine. As you continue reading the article you will see the difference in cleaning the Singer Sewing Machine and the Janome Sewing Machine.

Step 2 – Add Oil Gradually

Using too much oil is not a good idea. It is best to use the oil little by little and see how it works. Use more if needed. Do not forget to place a piece of newspaper under the machine so it will catch the excess oil.

Oil a small area first then another area until you have completed the task. It is best to familiarize yourself with the different parts of the sewing machine. Read and study the manual carefully.

Disassemble the parts and continue with the process of cleaning the parts, removing the dirt by brushing it out and then lubricate the area.

After cleaning each part of the sewing machine, put it back together then continue with the next part. Change needles frequently. It is best if you change the needle after completing one project.

Step 3 – Prepare the Machine

  • You should clean the machine before you oil it. Make sure the machine is off and you should unplug it.
  • Remove the parts that might block your way when cleaning.
  • Remove the stitch plate.
  • In case your sewing machine has bobbin hook, you need to remove it as lint could be accumulated there.
  • Remove the sewing machine’s needle for your safety

Step 4 – Brush Away The Lint

Using a stiff lint brush remove the lint. There are some brands that include the lint brush in the package.

Lint located on hard to reach areas, use tweezers to get rid of them. It is best that you clean the machine thoroughly before putting some oil.

In cleaning the bobbin hook, a soft cloth can help to wipe away any residue or lint. Others use clean pipe cleaners and mascara brushes or to do this.

Step 5 – Clean Different Parts with Compressed Air

Some components of the washing machine can be cleaned with the use of a can of compressed air. You need to be careful in using compressed air.

One of the drawbacks of using canned air is that it may tend to blow the lint deep into the machine. To resolve this, position the nozzle four inches away from the area being cleaned, and spray air at an angle so it will blow the lint out of the machine instead of blowing it deeper.

You can use the compressed air can in cleaning the bobbin case are and the bobbin case itself. The bobbins are loaded here.

You also need to clean the needle plate bottom. In cleaning, you need to unscrew the needle plate. Once you remove the plate, you will see the dust accumulated inside. Remove the dust with the compressed air. In cleaning the other parts, follow the instruction on the manual.

Step 6 – Choose The Best Sewing Machine Oil

Using car oil is not a good idea. You need to buy oil that is intended for sewing machines. The sewing machine oil is transparent and is enclosed in a small bottle.

  • Some brands include a sewing machine oil in their package.
  • You can purchase the oil in fabric and sewing shops. Using other oil is not a good idea as it may damage the sewing machine.
  • Sewing machine oil has different consistency as compared to WD-40 or Household oil. It is clear and light.

Step 7 – Drop Some Oil Into Sewing Machine Parts

Pouring a generous amount of oil is not the best way of doing it. You just need to put a few drops of oil. Consult the manual so you will have an idea as to where to drop the oil.

Step 8 – Remove Excess Oil

Place a piece of fabric under the presser foot to absorb any excess oil. You would not want to stain your next work with oil.

Also Read: How To Set Up a Sewing Machine

How to Oil a Janome Sewing Machine

If you want to lengthen the life of your Janome sewing machine, proper maintenance is required. This will also assure that the machine will operate efficiently for many years. For some sewing machine, regular cleaning is enough to make it last longer. With Janome, cleaning alone is not enough, it requires oiling the machine at least once a year. Make sure that you use a premium quality lubricant made specifically for sewing machines to avoid excessive lubrication or staining your sewing projects.

You don’t just pour the oil on your sewing machine. There are steps you need to follow on oiling your Janome Sewing Machine.

  • Using a flathead screwdriver remove the screw found at the top of the Janome faceplate. You can find the face plate on the top of the sewing machine above the needle.
  • Slowly pull the faceplate up and detach it from the sewing machine.
  • Position in front of the sewing machine as if you are about to sew.
  • Find a small cylinder connected to the side of the sewing machine facing you that the faceplate has been covering. Put one or two drops of oil on top of the cylinder.
  • Above the needle of the machine, you will find a small square, this is also hidden by the faceplate. Place one or two drops of oil below and above this square.
  • Return the face plate and make sure you have tightened the screw.
  • Underneath the needle is a hook cover. Open this just like you do when you are changing the bobbin.
  • Take the bobbin case out by grasping the lever on the case and slowly pull the case out from the machine.
  • Remove the hook and the hook ring. These two parts are behind the bobbing case and must come out easily.
  • Put one drop of oil to the center hole of the bobbin where the bobbin was removed.
  • Once you are done, return all the parts you have removed from the sewing machine.

Keep in mind you don’t need to pour a big amount of oil, a small drop of it can help in keeping the sewing machine running at its best.

Also Read: Best upholstery sewing machine

How To Oil A Singer Sewing Machine

How To Oil A Singer Sewing Machine

One of the most popular brands when it comes to the sewing machine is Singer. 43% of the sewing machine sales belong to this brand. Singer provides different models with style and features designed for beginners to professional sewers. You can purchase the different models of Singer at specialty stores, mass merchants like Walmart, Target, Kmart and other popular retailers.

Just like Janome Sewing Machine, Singer also needs some cleaning and oiling so it will perform at its best and last longer. Below are steps on how to oil your Singer sewing machine properly:

  • Take out the needle plate.
  • To raise the needle, turn the handwheel on a direction towards yourself and then open the hinged front cover.
  • Loosen the needle plate screws, use the screwdriver included in the machine package.
  • Wipe the feed dog clean.
  • Take the bobbin out.
  • Included in the sewing machine package is a brush you can use in cleaning the area.
  • Take the bobbin case out.
  • Snap the 2 hooks retaining arms outwards.
  • Remove the hook cover and the hook.
  • Use a soft cloth to clean.
  • Put 1-2 drops of sewing machine oil on the parts indicated in the instructional manual to lubricate them.
  • To position, the hook race in the left, turn the handwheel.
  • Return the hook, and hook cover.
  • Replace the hook retaining arms.
  • Return the bobbin case in place and bobbin and return the stitch plate.

Also read: Best Sewing Machine For Children

How Often Should I Oil My Sewing Machine

This question should be given some importance. If your sewing machine instructional manual does not include steps on oiling it, it could be that your machine is pre-lubricated at the factory and does not require lubrication.

But, the usual amount of oil that you need to use is around two to three small drops in the bobbin case part and on the needle bar as this will not damage the machine. You can also put a few drops of oil on the handwheel where it meets the machine side.

For sewing machine that requires lubrication and you use it every day, it is best to do this at least once a week. If you use your machine once a week, you can lubricate it once a month. Lubricate your sewing machine every three months if you are using it once a month.

It is also best that you tune-up your machine by a qualified technician every three to four years to keep it in good running condition. If you haven’t used your machine for many years, it is best to tune-up your machine, just like you would do if you haven’t used it for many years.

Non-activity or movement will dry out the lubricant and if you use the machine at that time it may break that part.

Sewing Machine Pros and Cons

It does not matter if you are using a sewing machine to test your creative boundaries, quilts, home decor, and clothing it can be done in whatever type of fabric. The pros of having a sewing machine are as follows:

  • It is much faster in stitching than by doing it by hand.
  • Adjusting the stitches can be done easily depending on different types of seaming.
  • A zigzag stitch is helpful on various projects to make the seams very durable.
  • It produces consistent decorative stitching and buttonholes.
  • The marks on the plate under the sewing machine foot can guide you for accurate seaming.
  • Doing a homemade gift can be easy with using a sewing machine.
  • You can create garments that are tailored fit for you.
  • You can adjust the machine to hem pants and skirts.
  • You can repair old clothing to make it new that you will wear instead of throwing it away and buying a new one.
  • The machine can be portable and you can use it on a desk or dining room table.

Just like other items, there are some disadvantages:

  • One is the price. For a smaller sewing machine, the cost is around $100 and the handheld sewing machine is around thousands of dollars for bigger industrial machines. The maintenance needed may also cost you a lot.
  • The size could be a problem as some models make take up some spaces.
  • The learning process may take days before you can use them and produce a masterpiece.


After reading this guide, it is now clear that you don’t just put oil on the different parts of the sewing machine. It is important that you use oil with natural ingredients, minerals, and lubricants. The manner of cleaning a sewing machine will depend on the machine’s designed and age. Oiling your sewing machine is important to make sure your machine will perform at its best and will last longer.

Read the instruction manual included in the package carefully follow it to avoid damage on your machine and ruining your next project. Should you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

Related Resource:

How to Clean Sewing Machine

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top