Spring Clean your Sewing Machine

on April 20 | in Sewing + Quilting Tips | by | with 133 Comments

Bethany from Bitter Betty Blogs shows us how to Spring Clean your Sewing Machine in her latest video (let’s watch as we wear our Vintage Smocks from her last appearance on the blog!):

Spring Clean your Sewing Machine from bethany mann on Vimeo.

If you have a slow connection don’t despair! We’ll help you spring clean your entire creative space tomorrow with an article and a handy checklist.

Join us for Spring Sewing in April. Comment this week to win prizes from Fiskars/Gingher. This week you can win Softouch Scissors and a 12-in-1 Sewing Multi-Tool. We’re also giving away four $20 gift certificates to Sew,Mama,Sew!
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133 Responses to Spring Clean your Sewing Machine

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  2. Ellen B says:

    Great tutorial! Just an FYI, I have one machine that doesn’t get oiled…just check the manual!

  3. this is perfect! my machine could totally use a little love!

  4. Erin says:

    I was only yesterday thinking that my sewing machine is badly in need of a clean. This is perfect timing!

  5. Christina says:

    That’s the exact same sewing machine I just bought!

  6. tjesa says:

    I usually always clean my machine for lint between projects.. amazing how much is in there. Thanks for the visuals…

  7. Michelle says:

    Wonderful post. I’m always in a strange intermediate stage of sewing (knowing how to do some things fairly expertly, and other easier things not at all!), so it’s great to have resources like this to help. Wish it had been around the time I tried to clean black fuzz from a strip of feather trim out of my machine! Totally gross.

  8. Shelley C says:

    Thanks for this tute. I just finished painting my sewing room (except for the ceiling), and once I organize and clean everything before bringing it back in, I’ll also do my sewing machine. THen I can sew with a clear conscience!

  9. Tiffany says:

    You just saved me some serious money! My machine’s tension has been off and I couldn’t correct it. I decided to clean out the lint (which has never been done on the 10 year old machine) and now it works great! tension issue fixed! My instruction book didn’t say where to oil it, so I didn’t, but it works!!! Thanks!

  10. Tabitha says:

    I’m lazy–We have a local woman who only charges $50 for a complete inside and out spring cleaning, so I go with her.

  11. Alice S says:

    I love that Bitter Betty used the exact sewing machine that I own for her demo. Neat!

  12. Sara says:

    What a great resource. Thanks so much!

  13. Maria says:

    Awesome! Thanks so much! I really love watching you.

  14. Dawn says:

    Thanks for the tips. My machine is new but I hope to keep it working like new for a long time.

  15. Ariel says:

    Thank you for that awesome video. I really needed to do this and it’s just one of those things that you don’t always think about! I used a stiff bristle paintbrush and it worked great.

  16. Sonja says:

    That was great thank you so much. I realy do need to clean my sewing machine, thanks again.

  17. katie says:

    Sew necessary! I’ll be doing this soon.

  18. Kelli says:

    slow connection…that’s me. I will wait for tomorrow’s installment! My machine has been calling for a good spring cleaning, but I’ve been too busy enjoying sewing to slow down and do it. Maybe I’ll get it done tomorrow!

  19. Courtney says:

    Thanks for the reminder.

  20. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for all of the useful information, it reminds me that even my machine needs to be cleaned and maintained.

  21. Aimee says:

    Thank you, thank you! My machine could really use this but I’ve always been a little hesitant to do it. Thanks for the help.

  22. Barbara Sindlinger says:

    It’s always nice to be reminded about oiling and cleaning our machines. My Bernina 640 actually has a warning that tells you it’s time to clean and oil which I love.

  23. Deb V says:

    Thanks for all the great hints. I haven’t cleaned my machine in a while.

  24. Kristina says:

    I have never cleaned or oiled my machine after 7 years of owning it. I have a fear of messing something up but now I am more confident. Thanks for sharing!

  25. knitteresq says:

    Thanks, my machine could use a little TLC!

  26. Amber says:

    Just watched this with my kids in the room. I’m pretty sure my six year old son is scheming in little brain about how to take my machine apart. Yikes! Great info, though!

  27. Cheryl says:

    Wow, this is fabulous. In the past I have taken my machine to get cleaned and oiled and it cost anywhere from $60-$80! And believe me, I shopped around for a good price. That was the cheapest. You saved me some money this year!
    Thanks so much for a great tutorial on this.

  28. Libby says:

    WooHoo! I need to make binding for my niece’s graduation quilt. My Viking is dusty! Great timing! I love this site! Libby

  29. Jessica T says:

    Very helpful, thanks!

  30. Cheryl says:

    This video is a great idea! We spend so much time using our machines, we hardly think to stop and give it some love and care!

  31. Ana says:

    I am new to sewing and I would have no clue how to clean my machine. I will look forward to the article tomorrow.

  32. Chris Worthy says:

    OK, who wants to come do this for me? I’ll serve you homemade bread and muscadine jelly I canned with my own two little hands. 🙂 I guess this tutorial makes it impossible for me to avoid the task. 🙂

  33. Jacqui says:

    Oh my goodness, the lint I found around the bobbin casing! Appalling and embarrassing. I’ve been meaning to do this for ages but it never seemed a priority – until I watched this video and the music was so funky and cool it made it seem exciting and hip. My husband came in and danced to it, luckily there isn’t a video of that 😉 Thanks for the push to take care of my machine properly!

  34. Shellyfish says:

    Great video – a good reminder to tidy up my machine!

  35. Dawn says:

    Thanks for the tutorial! Love the music!

  36. Tina Kay says:

    I was sitting down at my machine the other day wondering how to clean it! Thank you for posting the how to. I would not have been brave enough to do it myself. 🙂

  37. Lynda Taylor says:

    What a fab little video and so enjoyable to watch.
    Wish the chore was that much fun.
    Maybe I will have to play some funky music to get me through it. LOL.

  38. Shannon says:

    Thanks for the tips!

  39. Laura says:

    Thanks! I haven’t had my sewing machine long, but I’ve been feeling like I need to clea.n it recently

  40. Alissa says:

    Thanks! I’d been trying to get some feedback in the forum about this, so what a great compliment!

  41. Liz says:

    oh my gosh, i SOOOO need to do this! my poor machine has been limping along for a few years now, with only occasional brush cleaning around the bobbin mechanism.

  42. Alisson says:

    Were you reading my mind?? I was just thinking yesterday that I needed to figure out how to clean my machine and VOILA, my musings have been answered! Thanks so much.

  43. Lynn says:

    Thanks for the info – everything can use a good spring cleaning!

  44. liz says:

    my favorite part is the music 😉

  45. helena says:

    Great video. I sometimes skip the brush and grab the hand extension for the vacuum and suck the lint out. Thanks again..

  46. amylouwho says:

    I needed this! My machine has been sounding clunky lately.

  47. Mirza Marin says:

    Thanks for doing this. I always wonder if I am cleaning the bobbin case correctly. I do this after each one or two projects though, not just in the Spring!

  48. Kris says:

    Wow! I so need to do this! I’ll have to play some jazzy music while I’m cleaning my machine!

  49. Anne says:

    Thanks for the video! I guess oil just makes me nervous, but it is a must do!

  50. Rochelle says:

    Very helpful video! Love the Bitter Betty Blog too!

  51. hilary says:

    So useful – thanks!

  52. Carey says:

    Thanks for the hints!

  53. Liz says:

    Thanks for sharing! I know my mom’s machine hasn’t been cleaned in a very long time- maybe never. It is a Singer from the 70s and I love it, but I’m realizing that getting it cleaned up will probably be very good for the old girl.

  54. LittleA says:

    I really needed this! Thank you!

  55. Mary says:

    That was entertaining! I can’t believe how dusty her machine was! Maybe I will try to oil my machine. Looking forward to the checklist tomorrow.

  56. Jenni says:

    A video for my husband to watch! Together, we can clean anything – now including our sewing machine!

  57. melissa leavitt says:

    Wow! I was thinking yesterday about taking a stab at cleaning my old singer sewing machine. Thanks for the video 🙂


  58. Kristin says:

    Thanks Bethany. You are awesome for making this video.

  59. Emily says:

    Thanks for the video! I was wondering how to clean my machine….

  60. Daria says:

    Thanks for the video, but that soundtrack was terrible! Nice music for listening, but I could barely make out what the presenter was saying – it was too loud and distracting. It would have been a much better video without the music at all.

  61. Tina Mackey says:

    Does anyone ever use canned air to clean their machine? I wonder if it’s ok to use or if it might be bad for your machine.

  62. SuBoo says:

    Another thing to go onto my to-do list! Thanks muchly!

  63. Carla says:

    Can’t clean mine. Can’t get into it. I thought the music was too loud.

  64. Julia in MI says:

    I can’t download the video yet, but I’m sure the tips will be handy. My machine thanks you.

  65. Debbie says:

    I had my machine cleaned last month. Its a 23 year old Bernina and works like a dream.

  66. JD says:

    Wow… I didn’t know that I needed to clean my sewing machine!

  67. Mary on Lake Pulaski says:

    Great information and reminder to all of us to keep that machine clean!

  68. Esther says:

    Thank you! I cleaned out round the bobbin casing about a month ago, and thought that was about all I could do (I didn’t get a little hook/brush combo with my machine… I used a child sized cheapy paint brush, and then remembered the computer keyboard mini vac that hubby got for Christmas a couple of years ago – it worked a treat!) I’ve never oiled the machine though, and the light bulb has gone – I have to see if my machine front flips out like that – what a revelation!

  69. Mrs. Pear says:

    Thank you so much!

    I don’t know why this is one task that always seems SO overwhelming to me!

  70. Marissa says:

    Thanks for the video on cleaning your machine. Its always a good idea to clean it really good before starting a new project.

  71. Joy says:

    tTank you; this video is exactly what I needed!

  72. MaryAnn says:

    Perfect little video to get me spring cleaning my machine!

  73. Tasha says:

    I just cleaned my sewing machine a couple of months ago! I dug out the manual and the little tools and sat on my floor. It was easier than I thought it would be, which made me kind of ashamed I hadn’t done it before…

  74. sewinggirljen says:

    I know this needs done – it just never seems to make it to the top of this list. Thank you for the video – so helpful and a great reminder!

  75. Becca Doherty says:

    Thx, I just changed my needle and cleaned out some misc fuzz, but I obviously should go back and do a little bit more!!!

  76. kate says:

    Perfect timing! I noticed just yesterday bits of lint mysteriously sewn into the underside of what I was sewing. I’d say that’s a sign that it’s time to clean!

  77. Ruthie says:

    Great video. I have a Janome and am not supposed to oil. It is a noisy machine and doesn’t sound any different after service. Even so, I usually put a drop of oil in the bobbin when I clean out the lint.

  78. chelsea a says:

    I wish the music were just a TAD quieter! I had THE hardest time hearing Bethany. Great reminder to keep equipment in tip top shape, though!

  79. Samantha says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I know my machine needs oiling. I clean the bobbin case area at least once per project, so that area is doing OK. But oiling would be a good thing!

  80. Francis C. Moore says:

    I plan on watching the video later today. Thanks. Francis

  81. Krista says:

    Clean sewing machine – check! Thanks!

  82. Melissa says:

    I REALLY need to clean and oil my machine. Alas, I have a slow connection. I might take the laptop to the coffee shop for the WiFi. But I will still wait patiently for the checklist! Thanks so much!

  83. Johanna says:

    Wow, I can’t believe how little dust she had after a year! I dust mine out at least monthly and have more than that! (I guess it just shows how much use my machine gets!)

    I’ve never oiled though, I didn’t think that most machines needed it. I’ll check my manual again, but I thought it said not to oil. Possible?

  84. Michelle says:

    Great tutorial. I clean my machines all the time, and I do things that the manual does NOT tell us to do. These things are what the service people do, but are very easy for anyone to do. Lay your machine on it’s back, and unscrew the bottom part of your machine just under the bobbin area that comes off. You will see lots of lint down there too. You will also see white grease on the gears. You can oil moving parts down there too, but do NOT put oil on any nylon gears, as oil will disintegrate them. There is a white sewing machine grease for the gears. Also, someone mentioned blowing air into the machine. I used to do that, but I do not anymore, as all it does is blow the lint into the gears. Little cosmetic brushes work well for pulling out lint, especially used, clean, mascara brushes.

    Be blessed!

  85. Leah says:

    Thanks so much for posting this– my machine is in desparate need of some spring cleaning and I did not know where to start. thank you!

  86. Ticia says:

    Great video, but one important piece to remember. Different brands have different things that need cleaning and different rules on opening up the case. With my Bernina I’m not supposed to open up the top part but leave that to the dealer to clean. But, I’m supposed to regularly clean and oil the bobbin area. GO canned air for the win!

  87. Kara says:

    Thanks – I need to spring clean my machine. I’m afraid it has been a little neglected.

  88. Isa says:

    What a great tutorial, also a good as a reminder to be good to your sewing machine 🙂

  89. Christine says:

    Thanks! I was a little wary about taking about my machine to clean it but this helped a lot to see how it could be done. It truly is amazing how much gets stuck in there.

  90. Amy says:

    I really needed this! Thank you for sharing!

  91. Kerneknop says:

    One should perhaps get a grip of one self and do the cleaning thing… Bah, I’d rather just sew somthing, eventhough I know it needs doing…

  92. Kate M. says:

    Thanks! I’ve been wondering about how to clean my machine. The black and white pictures in the manual were entirely un-helpful.

  93. katie says:

    GREAT informative video! I also love the music…

  94. Brooke says:

    thanks for the tips – this is something I really need to do!

  95. Bethany says:

    Great Video! I needed a reminder to clean out my machines!

  96. Ellen Ban says:

    Can’t wait to go home and watch the video so I can clean my machines for spring!!

  97. Edris says:

    I’ve always been very intimidated by cleaning my machine even though I know it needs to be done. Thanks and my machine thanks you too.

  98. Sara R. says:

    Groan…I’ve been using my Mom’s machine (while living with her)…I know she’d appreciate me cleaning it! I can’t remember if I cleaned my own machine before storing it…that makes me nervous!

  99. Christen says:

    I guess this is one more thing I need to add to the list of spring chores. I know it gets dirty, thanks for the tips on how to get it clean!

  100. Annette W says:

    Hmmm. I have had my machine for over ten years. This video taught me how to clean it, so I guess I never have! haha! But for the first 5 years I didn’t sew more than a few minutes a year…and have just recently started sewing. 🙂

    Thank you!

  101. Stefanie says:

    I cant wait to watch this. My machine needs some loving in terms of cleaning!!

  102. anja says:

    cute video, thanks!

  103. Ananda says:

    Thanks for the great video. My machine needs to be oiled and cleaned, but I’ve always been scared to do it. Much appreciated!

  104. Alice S says:

    Great reminder to do some cleaning on my machine. I conveniently forget that job.

  105. Lorene says:

    Oh my sewing machine could certainly use a good cleaning!

  106. Sarah Richer says:

    What perfect timing for a spring clean of my machine! My new Singer machine has just decided to stop working properly and it was suggested that I try cleaning it – I’ve been doing a lot of sewing lately with flannel and terry towelling preparing for my new baby’s arrival so it would make sense that it could be clogged with dust and fluff! I’m off to watch the video!


  107. Annie says:

    Thankyou for this video! Always wanted to know how to do this!

  108. Joanna says:

    She’s so funny! I got my machine 2 1/2 years ago and have yet to oil it- yikes! This was the kick in the pants I needed. Thanks!

  109. Wendy says:

    Great, much needed info!!! I’m going to clean my machine today.

  110. Mrs. JP says:

    Thank you so much for that tutorial. The content was good and easy to follow and the music was great! Happy spring

  111. Grand dad says:

    Very informative and most likely I’ll save money by not going so often to the repair shop!

  112. lesley says:

    awesome. my machine needs a bit of a tune-up!

  113. Trina says:

    I had to do this to my machine for the first time last week. I was so scared, since I had never done it before (my machine is new to me), but it was easy as pie with the instruction manual.

  114. What a great video! Thanks for the timely reminder to spring clean our sewing machines!

    I’m not sure if I should be thankful or grumbling… another thing to add to the what seems like a never ending Spring-Cleanup List. *grin*


  115. Debra says:

    Great Video. Very Helpful!

  116. brandy says:

    I was just wondering this morning if I needed to send my machine off to be “refreshed.” I am a new sewer and this is a very timely post. Thanks!

  117. I’m so excited to see this! I hate shelling out so much money for a simple cleaning each year and since I sew a LOT it will be a life saver. Thanks!!

  118. Kendall Manwill says:

    This is perfect timing. I’ve been putting this off. Thank you!

  119. June says:

    Thanks for this helpful video! I just cleaned my bobbin case on Saturday but didn’t oil my machine. I will do so soon.

    I loved the snappy music too!

  120. Christine B says:

    Thanks for the video – it was very helpful

  121. susan says:

    Does blowing into my sewing machine count as cleaning?! I better get serious about machine maintenance. Thanks for the great video!

  122. Kari says:

    I so need to do this! Thanks for sharing.

  123. allyson turner says:

    Wow! I need to do this. I am too embarrassed to put in writing how long it has been for my machine. I wonder when you hit that point where your machine needs to go to a professional to get cleaned? I have a vintage Singer, and it could probably use an all-over tune-up. Thanks for the reminder!

  124. Stacy says:

    Thanks for this video! To think that this must be what the sewing machine shop does and charges me $60 for! You have saved me a bundle!

  125. Nisa S. says:

    I’d never thought about cleaning my sewing machine before. Then again, I’m not much of a sewing person, but I’ve been using it a lot more lately and hopefully a well-oiled and spring-cleaned machine will encourage me to sew more!

  126. April says:

    I am definitely going to watch this video at home tonight and can’t wait for the article and checklist. My machine is 7 years old and I am embarrassed to say I have never fully cleaned it… I didn’t know it needed that yearly. Guess what I will be doing this weekend! Thanks!

  127. Carrie P. says:

    Always a good thing to clean your machine. It will definitely work much better. Love the music on the video. Thanks for sharing.

  128. Great video, thanks! I’m pretty good about the dusting and cleaning part but I have not tried oiling it yet.

  129. Jodieth says:

    Thank you for the Spring Cleaning tip for your sewing machine. I forget the oiling part.
    I take mine into the dealer to be cleaned because the side doesn’t open. I usually clean
    my bobbin case area after everything I sew and always when changing bobbins.

  130. Jennifer says:

    my sewing machine really needs cleaning. Thanks for the reminder.

  131. Emily S. says:

    This is fantastic!! I always mean to clean my machine, but never seem to get around to actually doing it.

  132. molly says:

    This is great, I was just thinking how I should find my machines manual to figure out how to clean it properly.

  133. Annalee says:

    Thanks! I know my sewing machine could use a good cleaning, but I didn’t know how to go about it. This is just what I needed.

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