How to Oil a Sewing Machine

Jean Chaney
Jean Chaney
Research Writer
Jean is the brains behind her fashion label. She's a whiz with a needle and thread, and has been sewing since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors. Jean has always read more
Reviewed By
Isabel Misner
Isabel Misner
Expert Consultant
A professional seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step read more
Last updated: August 25, 2023
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Whether you have a regular sewing machine or an industrial one, you must take good care of it. Taking good care of your machine may mean everything from oiling and cleaning it regularly to taking it to a professional to have it examined from time to time. If you ignore this, chances are, the overall performance of your machine will reduce dramatically. Even more, it may develop a fault or become a pain to use. All you got to do to prevent this from happening is to clean and oil your machine. But, let’s face it, sewing machines are complex and have lots of component parts. So, if you don’t know what you are doing, you are likely going to make a mistake that may affect the overall performance of your machine. To prevent that, you have to learn the right way to oil your sewing machine.

This article is dedicated to all the sewists looking to learn how to oil their machines in the comfort of their homes or offices. As you likely know, no two sewing machines are exactly the same. This means that each of them has their unique cleaning and oiling instructions. If for some reason, you can’t find the instruction manual that came with your machine, you are going benefit from this article as it contains detailed oiling instructions of some popular sewing machines on the market right now.

How often should you oil a sewing machine

As you can likely tell, regular sewing machines aren’t designed to be oiled every day or each time they are used. This may make it difficult for new users to narrow down how often to oil their sewing machine. Don’t despair if you are one of them because this section contains the intricate information you need to figure out when and how often to oil your sewing machine.

How to Oil a Sewing Machine
Below are two factors that determine how often you should oil your sewing machine.

  • The type of fabric you use
  • How much you use your machine

If you use your machine for endless hours each day, and you work on heavy fabric like velvet, then you need to oil it frequently (once a week)

However, if you are a moderate user, then you can limit your machine oiling to once every few months.

Here is a simple formula that can help you out.

  • If you use your machine every day, then you should oil it once a week
  • If you use your machine once or twice a week, then you should oil it once a month
  • If you use your machine two to three times a month, then you should lubricate it once every 3 months.

Pro tip- If you haven’t used your machine for a long time, we recommend you take it to a technician to help you oil and tune it up.

How to oil a sewing machine by brand

As previously mentioned, the various sewing machines on the market have unique oiling instructions. So, the one size fit- all -approach is inapplicable. Read on to find out how to oil some of the main sewing machine brands.

How to oil a Singer sewing machine

The Singer is a reputable sewing machine brand that has been around for a long time. Over the years, it has made premium quality sewing machines that have been lauded by greenhorn and expert sewists. Below is a step by step guide on how to oil a Singer simple sewing machine.

Step 1

Carefully remove the needle plate.

  • Turn the handwheel on the machine until the needle is fully raised.
  • Use a screwdriver to unscrew the needle plate.

Step 2

Clean the feed dog

  • Use a brush or a soft cloth to clean the area.

Step 3

Lubricate and clean the hook

  • Remove the hook cover and the hook, clean with a brush or a soft cloth. Next, apply a few drops (1 or 2 drops) of sewing machine oil in the area.

How to oil a Brother sewing machine

The Brother sewing machine is a top-notch sewing brand that has made a name for itself over the last couple of years. Their sewing machine models are sturdy and can withstand consistent use without the risk of them falling apart. If you have a Brother sewing machine, here is how you should oil it.

Step 1

Turn off the machine

Step 2

Remove the bobbin case

Step 3

Move the race by rotating the handwheel until the hook is in a position where it can be easily oiled.

Step 4

Put a drop of sewing machine oil into the hook

Step 5

Insert the bobbin case into the hook and close the hook cover.

How to oil a Kenmore sewing machine

How to Oil a Sewing MachineRegularly oiling your Kenmore sewing machine is a great way to enhance its usability and life span. The service manual or machine manual that comes with it usually contains step-by-step instructions on the area to oil. If you have a new Kenmore sewing machine, you may be able to find the oiling instruction online. But, if on the other hand, you are using an older model, you may have to dig deeper to find photocopies of the actual manuals as they may be out of print.
Here is what you should do if you have found it.

Step 1

Remove the case of the machine to access the moving parts in the oiling manual.

Step 2

Add 1 or 2 drops of premium quality sewing machine oil to the labeled area in the manual.

How to oil a Janome sewing machine

Just like any other sewing machine in the market, the Janome sewing machine needs to be oiled with a specifically designed lubricant to operate properly. If you have it, you are going to need two things to oil it.

  • A Screwdriver
  • High-quality sewing machine oil

If you have the above items, then you can follow the steps below.

Step 1

Use a flat head screwdriver to remove the screw from the top of the Janome faceplate.

Step 2

Carefully pull the plate away from the sewing machine.

Step 3

Find a small cylinder attached to the side of the machine. Next, apply two drops of sewing machine oil on top of the cylinder.

Step 4

Screw the faceplate back in place.

Step 5

Open the bobbin case and remove the hook and the hook ring.

Step 6

Apply a drop of oil to the hole the bobbin was removed from.

Step 7

Place back the parts you removed.

How to Oil a Sewing MachineHow to oil a Baby Lock sewing machine

Oiling a BabyLock sewing machine isn’t as difficult as you are probably thinking. All you got to do is to follow the easy steps below.

Step 1

Use a screwdriver to remove the cap and faceplate

Step 2

Apply one or two drops of high-quality sewing machine oil in the area indicated in the service manual that came with your machine.

How to oil a Bernina sewing machine

Over the last couple of years, Bernina, which is a reputable sewing machine brand, has flooded the market with high-quality sewing machines. Do you have one? If yes, then you should follow the steps below to oil it.

Step 1

Open the bobbin case door. You can do this by turning the handwheel towards you until you see a copper wire.

Step 2

Pour a few drops of sewing machine oil on the copper wire.

How to oil a Juki industrial sewing machine

How to Oil a Sewing MachineLearning how to clean and oil a sewing machine is as simple as ABC, a Juki industrial sewing machine is no exception. To oil it, all you got to do is to apply one or two drops of sewing machine oil into the oiling hole indicated in the service manual.

Final note

Regardless of the sewing machine, you want to oil, make sure you turn it off and clean it (wipe off oiling points and remove fabric threads and lint) before oiling it. Also, take it to a technician at least once a year to have it examined and serviced. Doing this will go a long way to improve the performance and lifespan of your sewing machine.

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