Where to Oil Sewing Machine? – (Guide)

Last Updated on December 25, 2023

Maintaining and cleaning your sewing machine is crucial for its longevity and optimal performance. Many sewing machine owners have requested information on the basics of sewing machine maintenance, particularly where to oil sewing machine.

Here, we will guide you through basic cleaning, oiling, and maintenance steps that you can easily perform at home.

Where to Oil Sewing Machine


  • Always turn off your sewing machine before performing any maintenance tasks to ensure your safety.
  • Use lint brushes to gently remove surface lint before delving into oiling to avoid potential damage.
  • Keep tension disks clean using a pipe cleaner to ensure smooth thread tension and prevent sewing issues.
  • Thoroughly clean the bobbin case area, remove lint, and apply a drop of oil for optimal machine lubrication.
  • Change your needle regularly to maintain high sewing quality and prevent potential fabric and thread issues.

Safety First

Before engaging in any sewing machine maintenance tasks, prioritize your safety by following these essential precautions:

  • Power Off: Ensure that the sewing machine is completely powered off before beginning any maintenance procedures. This precaution is crucial, especially when handling needles, to avoid any accidental injuries.
  • Needle Safety: When working with the machine, particularly during needle-related tasks, exercise caution to prevent injuries. Take care while removing or replacing the needle to avoid accidental pricks.

Dusting Before Oiling

Proper dusting is a crucial preliminary step in sewing machine maintenance, laying the foundation for effective cleaning and oiling.

Follow these steps to ensure your sewing machine is free from surface debris before applying any lubricants:

  • Lint Brushes: Utilize lint brushes with nylon bristles for effective dusting. These brushes are designed to capture and remove lint without causing damage to the machine’s components.
  • Avoid Canned Air: Refrain from using canned air for dusting, as it can introduce moisture and mud into the machine, potentially causing damage to internal components. Stick to lint brushes for a safer and more controlled cleaning process.
  • Thorough Surface Cleaning: Systematically dust off all lint from the top of the machine using the lint brushes. Pay attention to intricate areas, ensuring no debris remains on the surface.
  • Regular Dusting Routine: Incorporate dusting into your regular sewing machine maintenance routine. Frequent dusting helps prevent lint buildup, ensuring that subsequent cleaning and oiling procedures are more effective.

Where to oil sewing machine?

To oil your sewing machine, focus on key areas such as the bobbin case, feed dogs, and any designated oiling points mentioned in your machine’s manual for optimal performance.

Avoid over-oiling and always prioritize safety by powering off the machine during maintenance. So, let’s get started on the journey to keeping your sewing machine in top-notch condition!

1. Tension Discs

Tension Discs
Tension Discs

Tension discs often accumulate lint and thread balls, affecting your sewing machine’s performance. Thread and unthread your machine with the presser foot in the up position to open the tension discs.

Use a pipe cleaner to clean between the tension discs gently, ensuring proper functioning.

2. Cleaning the Needle Bar and Threader

Cleaning the Needle Bar and Threader
Cleaning the Needle Bar and Threader

Lint buildup can occur on the needle bar system and in the needle threaders, especially after applique quilting. Use a lint brush to clean these areas thoroughly, ensuring smooth operation.

3. Removing Presser Foot and Stitch Plate

Removing Presser Foot and Stitch Plate
Removing Presser Foot and Stitch Plate

To access deeper areas, remove the presser foot and stitch plate. Clean in and around the feed dogs, ensuring that no lint affects the fabric feeding. Take extra care not to damage the check spring, a crucial component for maintaining thread tension.

4. Cleaning the Bobbin Case Area

Cleaning the Bobbin Case Area
Cleaning the Bobbin Case Area

Remove the drop-in bobbin case and clean out any lint or fuzz. Pay attention to any wicks in the area that may require cleaning. Ensure you clean the back and top edges of the bobbin case and any felt pads present.

Additional Resources – Sewing Machine Oil Substitute?

Lubrication and Oiling

Lubrication and Oiling
Lubrication and Oiling

Indicate between lubricant and oil. While lubricant is rarely used in modern machines, sewing machine oil is essential.

Use a sewing machine oil with a clear appearance and a long spout to apply a drop of oil in specific areas.

Focus on the bobbin case area and, if applicable, other designated oiling points mentioned in your machine’s manual.

Avoid Over-Oiling

Resist the temptation to over-oil your machine. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and use only a drop or two in designated areas. Avoid putting oil in screw holes or on top covers to prevent mess and potential damage.

Final Checks

Before powering on the machine, ensure all components are properly reassembled.

  • Verify that all lint and debris have been thoroughly removed from the machine’s various parts.
  • Perform a visual inspection to confirm that no loose screws or components are left behind.
  • Check that the presser foot is securely attached, and the needle is correctly installed.
  • Confirm that the bobbin case is properly seated, and there are no obstructions in the bobbin area.
  • Run a test stitch on a scrap fabric to ensure the machine is functioning smoothly.

Additional Resources – Baby Oil as Lubricant for Sewing Machine

Additional Tips

  • Consult the Manual: Refer to your sewing machine manual for manufacturer-specific cleaning, oiling, and maintenance guidelines. The manual often provides valuable insights into the specific needs of your machine.
  • Professional Assistance: If you need help with certain maintenance tasks, consider contacting your local dealership for professional assistance. They can provide expert guidance and service if needed.
  • Avoid Over-Oiling: Resist the temptation to over-oil your sewing machine. Follow the recommended oiling points outlined in your manual to prevent unnecessary mess and potential damage.
  • Document Your Maintenance: Keep a log of your sewing machine maintenance activities, including the last cleaning and oiling date. This can help you stay organized and ensure timely care for your machine.


Taking the time to perform basic cleaning, oiling, and maintenance on your sewing machine can prolong its life and ensure consistent performance.

Remember to refer to your machine’s manual for specific guidelines and, if in doubt, consult your local dealership for professional assistance.

By incorporating these practices into your routine, you’ll be well on your way to a seamless and enjoyable sewing experience.

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