Sewing Machine Cleaning and Maintenance

Last week I directed you to some very smart people with tips on buying your first sewing machine, so it only seems right that this week more smart people fill you in on how to keep it clean and running smoothly.

My sewing machine could be called a little old.  It’s not passed-down-through-generations old, or doesn’t-plug-into-the-wall old, but it’s getting up there.  A year or two ago, I realized it might be a good idea to have it checked out and serviced.  I wasn’t having any problems with it, but I take my car in for routine maintenance, so it seemed like the smart thing to do. 

sewing light 1

I called a sewing machine shop close to me, where I was given a quote of $200 to clean it and make sure everything was working correctly.  That was after the discount offered in the local paper of $50.  If it actually needed any parts, I was told they would probably be expensive because they would have to be shipped from Germany because my machine is a Pfaff.  What?  Umm, pass.

More recently, I got a quote from another shop of $100.  While definitely more reasonable, I’m going to continue to clean her up regularly myself.  As you can see, it’s time.


Make it and Love it has comprehensive instructions with great photos to walk you through the process.


Craft Nectar makes a good point about the use of compressed air.


Threads Magazine gets into some of the other aspects of keeping your machine humming along in addition to cleaning.


Tarilyn’s Show ‘n Tell has some good tips on how to apply the oil and what to do after.

Fig 11

If video is your thing, here’s a video guide from Sew Mama Sew.

I noticed some of these bloggers refer to this as spring cleaning, but I find this is the perfect time of year to get my machine in tip-top shape so it’s ready to go for the holiday madness.  I went shopping yesterday, and I’m here to tell you – Christmas is coming!