In order to prolong the useful life of your sewing machine it is very important that you do a basic maintenance, and this will depend in large part on the use you are giving it; so the first thing you should know is how often you should do it:
- If you use your sewing machine regularly, that is, every day, or 3 to 5 times a week, you should do this basic maintenance at least once a week.
- If you are one of the people who uses your machine less frequently, for example, once a month, I recommend cleaning it when you use it.
We have written an article about the basic problems with your solutions, take a look.
Even if we stop using our machine for a long time, it will most likely accumulate dust, even if we protect it properly, the dust always finds a way to stay inside the machine.
What Do You Mean by “Basic Maintenance”?
When I mention this, it is imperative that you understand that I mean cleaning and lubricating your sewing machine.
When it comes to repairs, it is always a good idea to contact a specialized and recommended technician, who knows that you will treat your machine with as much or more affection than you.
If you are afraid of being the first maintainer of your machine, you can also take it to the technician and ask him to be present when he examines it. The idea of this is that you understand that it is not difficult to do it yourself.
Ask her kindly to explain everything she is doing. Most people are likely to help, so do not be ashamed to ask the technician for that favor, he will be happy to offer your help and show your knowledge.
What do I need to be able to start caring for my machine?
Most sewing machines come with the basic cleaning and care accessories, however, what we will need for our cleaning will be:
- A brush
- Flat screwdriver (or the one that brings your machine)
- A cleaning cloth
The oil you must buy. The specialized oils for sewing machines are usually lighter, so they do not allow the accumulation of dust or lint on them, that is, they make our lives a little easier than the oils that are housed in the different parts of our machine and then we must clean.
Please, do not buy an oil of poor quality, because you will not be achieving the final goal that is to make your machine more loose and smooth; in fact, you can harm it.
Do You Want a Recommendation From Me for Your Oil?
Buy this oil specialized in sewing machines Alfa brand.
It complies with all the two characteristics I mentioned above: it is light and of good quality. You already see that if something is good it does not necessarily mean that it is expensive.
This oil is not exclusive to Alfa sewing machines, so do not worry, you can use it with any model.
Now that you have the accessories, let’s start:
Step 1: Read the manual
What a fussy eater, right? Do not hate me yet! I just want that after you do the maintenance of your machine, you leave everything in its place.
Start to see your sewing machine like a puzzle, from which you must first know the figure to be able to put it together, otherwise, it will be difficult to place the pieces in the right place and position … And if you do not, goodbye sewing machine, goodbye sew, and goodbye those curtains, curtains, or bib for your nephew 🙂
Step 2: Treat your machine with care and clean your cover
Following the thought of the puzzle, what happens when one of the pieces lacks a path? When you arm it, is it as beautiful and perfect as when that piece was complete?
Well, this applies to your sewing machine too. Most of its removable pieces have small legs to fit the other pieces of the machine, so when you go to remove them, you must do it very delicately.
If you read the manual and you proposed to treat your machine with love, then now turn off, unplug, take out the coil and unravel your machine.
Pass a cloth through the cover of your machine to remove the dust. If your machine has a vent, try to remove the dust that accumulates there, very carefully so that it does not stagnate anymore.
Step 3: Clean the needle holder and the presser foot
Following the instructions in the manual, remove the needle and the presser foot. Check that the needle is not blunt or bent and set it aside.
Clean the presser foot, why? Because it accumulates a lot of waste, both oil and lint and dust, which can end up staining your fabric; The same goes for the needle holder, so you should clean it too.
Tip: Spread a clean cloth or brush (oil-free) through the presser footprints that you use most (universal, zipper, buttonhole) each time you maintain your sewing machine.
Now I’m going to show you how to clean two different models of machines. One explanation will be for plastic coil boxes and another one for metal coils.
Step 4.1: Clean the Metal Coil Case
This is where the instruction manual of your machine is going to be very useful; essential if you’ve never done this.
The procedure that I will explain works for almost all the machines that use metal coils (or at least, those that I know).
The first thing you should do is take out the spool holder, this has a small and flattened lever that helps us to insert or remove it, in this photo you can see what I mean.
Once outside, take out the bobbin (if you have not done it before), and clean the bobbin case with the brush. Apply a small drop of oil inside it and set it aside.
Now the part in which you must be more careful: firstly observe how everything is set and continue to move the legs that are on the sides, in this case, are the black ones that are similar to those of pinball games.
Move them out, without fear, and notice that they fit right where there are two marks on the sides, which will then help guide us when it is time to put the pieces back in place. These little legs are only there to hold the parts that we will draw next.
Clean them and the second apply a drop of oil. Also, clean where the pieces were placed.
Not only pass a brush, if possible, passes a cloth, since the brush does not remove all the waste and if they stay for a long time, it is easier for all these mechanisms to begin to rust.
Move the side wheel, or steering wheel, and look at the moving parts, because that’s where you’ll apply the oil. With two drops it is enough: apply one, move the side wheel, then apply the other and turn it again.
What remains now is to put the pieces back in place, move the pinball poles inwards to hold the pieces and that’s it!
Step 4.2: Clean the plastic coil box
Remove the plastic cap that brings the cover plate of the coil, then proceed to remove the screws that hold the plate; place them in a place where you can get them later, and they will not be lost.
Remove the metal plate, clean it, place it next to the screws and start removing the garbage from the bobbin case. Do it very carefully, but exhaustively. Move the side wheel to clean the places you could not see before. Tip: Many brushes are not very useful when cleaning this part of the machine, so if you want a more complete cleaning, I advise you to use a clip, yes, a clip.
Pull it out, and bend one of the ends to make a small hook. Now use it to clean the sides of the coil box, carefully. Do not use it right where the coil goes, because it is not necessary and you can damage something.
Once you have left everything free of dust, put a drop of oil where the coil goes and one in the piece that, when moving the side wheel, you see that it turns.
Just replace the plate and screw it.
Three more steps for which we are a little more elaborate
Keep in mind that these steps are aimed at those who no longer have the guarantee that brought the machine at the time of purchase. If you follow any of these steps, and your machine is still under warranty, you can lose it.
For the first two steps you can follow the advice I said at the beginning of the article: go to a technician, ask him cordially to be present and explain these procedures, so that you can then do them yourself.
Step 5: Remove the Front Cover
In general, homemade sewing machines allow the front plate to be removed, that is, this piece:
Find the screw (s) that hold it and remove it (many manuals indicate where they are and how they should be done). Do it very carefully, do you remember the puzzle? Well, these pieces are what we should take care of the most.
Clean with the brush and a cloth in places where possible. Roll the wheel and see which are the places that are moving and then put a drop of oil.
Replace the front cover and you’re done!
That your cleaning wishes are still not met? Well, keep reading.
Step 6: Clean the bobbin case completely
Here I will refer to the boxes that use plastic coils, specifically Singer models.
Before reattaching the metal plate to cover the bobbin case, loosen these two screws:
It is not necessary to remove the screws. Once the piece that they hold is loose, you can take this black piece:
If you already cleaned it before, do it to one side and you will see that we will be what appears in the photo, clean it, move the wheel or side wheel and apply one or two drops of oil where the piece turns.
Replace the black piece, which is this mark right where it was. To check that you have put it well, try to make it turn with your finger; if it does not rotate, it is set correctly. Tighten the screws, put the metal plate and you’re done!
Many machines of this brand allow us to remove a lid that is on the bottom of the machine and covers the box of the coil.
Remove the screws, cover and clean. You will see that from this point it is easier to remove the dust. Return everything to its place and you will have finished.
If you have another model or brand that does not allow you to do this, but you are as or more curious than me, you will want to try it, so my recommendation if you are going to do it is: study your machine well and make sure you know what to do before do what.
Find the sense of the pieces, how precise they are adjusted, do you need to remove only a lid, a larger piece or the entire front? The bigger the piece, the more careful you must be.
Step 7: Clean the automatic threader and lever to make eyelets
And the last and shortest step is to find these two pieces, take them out as if you are going to use them and clean them. If you think they need oil, put a drop in each one and that’s it.
These last three steps can be done at least once a month if you use your machine frequently.
Should I lubricate my machine every time I maintain it?
No, over time you will learn to feel when your machine asks for a little oil. If you notice that it is harder, or that when you make a lot of noise, then most likely you need oil.
Once a month, or once every two weeks if you use it frequently, it’s fine for caring for your machine.
Latest tips for caring for your machine
- Cover your sewing machine when you are not using it, if you do not bring your own lining, you can buy it or do it yourself with … with your own machine!
- There will be times when you want to move your machine from one place to another. If you are driving, place your machine behind a seat, where it is tight, so that it does not move much during the trip. The continuous babies with the movement of the car, as well as the tapping, will be fatal for your poor and happy little machine.
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