How to Lubricate a Sewing Machine: All You Need to Know!

To lubricate your sewing machine effectively, follow a procedure that includes cleaning the machine thoroughly before applying oil to designated points. Regular oiling, at least once a month or more often for frequent use, helps maintain all moving parts. Avoid common mistakes like over-oiling or neglecting to oil the bobbin case to ensure proper maintenance. 

There are a lot of things to follow when you are going to oil your sewing machine. To know the proper procedure of how to lubricate a sewing machine, go through the whole article.

Machine-Specific Oiling Instructions

Different sewing machines have varying oiling requirements and the instructions for oiling can differ from one brand to another. To know where to apply oil on your sewing machine, refer to the owner’s manual and strictly follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. 

Older sewing machines may need more oiling compared to newer computerized ones. And the number of oiling points can also vary between different machines. The operating instructions provided by your machine will specify the oiling points. 

BrandRecommended Oil
JukiC/SRE industrial sewing machine oil
BrotherC/SRE industrial sewing machine oil
SingerSinger All-Purpose Sewing Machine Oil 
JanomeAny oil designed for fine mechanisms, such as Super Lube 51004 Synthetic Oil 

Some sewing machine brands may even offer instructional videos on their website. It is crucial to use sewing machine oil, as it is clear and lighter than other oils. 

What Type of Oil to Use

Many different types of oil can be used to lubricate a sewing machine, but the best type is lightweight sewing machine oil. This oil will not gum up or collect dust and will help keep your sewing machine running smoothly.

How to Lubricate a Sewing Machine: A Step-By-Step Guide

Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to properly lubricate a sewing machine:

Step 1: Consult the Manual

Start by referring to the manual that came with your sewing machine. Each brand and model can have different oiling requirements, so the manual will provide essential directions on how to clean and oil your specific machine. 

It will indicate the precise locations where oil should be applied and the recommended frequency of oiling.

Step 2: Prepare the Machine

Before beginning the oiling process, ensure that your sewing machine is turned off and unplugged. This safety precaution prevents any accidental movement of the needle during maintenance. 

Additionally, remove any extra pieces such as the thread, bobbin casings, the needle, the presser foot, and the stitch plate. This step allows better access to the internal components for cleaning and oiling.

Step 3: Clean the Machine

Before applying oil, it’s crucial to clean the machine thoroughly. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the exterior surfaces of the machine, removing dust and debris. Unscrew the needle plate and clean out any dust inside. 

Follow any other cleaning instructions provided in the manual for specific components of your sewing machine.

Step 4: Identify the Oiling Points

The manual will guide you to the specific areas of your machine that require oiling. Some machines may have only one oiling point, while others could have multiple points that need lubrication. Take note of these oiling points for the next step.

Step 5: Apply sewing machine oil

It is essential to use sewing machine oil specifically designed for this purpose. Do not use car oil or other substitutes. The sewing machine oil is clear and comes in a small bottle with a precise applicator. 

Apply one or two drops of oil to each designated oiling point. For some machines, you may need to apply additional oil drops above the needle’s mechanism and under the bobbin case.

Step 6: Wipe Away Excess Oil

After applying oil, use a soft cloth to wipe away any excess oil from the machine. Excess oil can attract dust and lint, potentially causing clogs and affecting your machine’s performance.

Step 7: Reassemble the Machine

Once you have oiled and wiped away excess oil, reassemble the machine by putting back all the components you removed earlier. Make sure everything is securely in place.

By following these steps you’ll maintain your sewing machine in excellent condition. It will allow you to enjoy hassle-free sewing sessions for a long time.

How Often to Oil Your Machine

To keep your machine running smoothly, it’s important to oil it regularly. Depending on how often you use your machine, you should oil it at least once a month. If you use it frequently, you may need to oil it more often.

When lubricating your machine, be sure to use only sewing machine oil. Other oils, such as 3-in-1 or WD-40, can damage your machine.

To lubricate your machine, first, unplug it from the power source. Then locate the two spots where the main shaft enters the machine’s body. These spots are usually marked with an “oil” sign or symbol. Place a drop of oil on each of these spots. Do not put too much oil on the spots, as this can cause problems with your machine.

Once you have added oil to the two spots, turn on your machine and run it for a few minutes to spread the oil throughout the mechanism. Then turn off your machine and wipe away any excess oil with a clean cloth before storing it.

The Benefits of Oiling Your Machine

Oiling your sewing machine is important because it helps keep all the moving parts working smoothly and prevents rusting. It only takes a few minutes, and it will prolong the life of your machine. 

Most sewing machines come with a small oil can that contains the proper type of oil for your machine. Check your owner’s manual for instructions on where to oil your particular machine.

The Risks of Not Oiling Your Machine

If you don’t oil your sewing machine, it will eventually break down and need costly repairs. In addition, not oiling your machine can cause premature wear and tear on the parts, which will shorten its lifespan.

It’s important to oil your machine regularly to keep it running smoothly and prevent problems down the road. How often you need to oil it depends on how often you use it, but as a general rule, it’s a good idea to oil it after every few hours of sewing.

Troubleshooting Oiling Problems

If your machine isn’t running as smoothly as it should be, one of the first things you should check is whether it needs to be oiled. Oiling a sewing machine is a relatively simple process. Still, if it’s not done properly, it can lead to more severe problems.

Here are some tips for troubleshooting oiling problems:

  • First, ensure that you use the correct oil type for your machine. Different machines require different oil types, so check your owner’s manual before you start.
  • If your machine is making noise or sewing unevenly, it may be because there is too much oil on the moving parts. In this case, you will need to clean off the excess oil before proceeding.
  • If your machine seems to be running smoothly but leaves marks on the fabric, it may be because there is not enough oil on the moving parts. In this case, you will need to add more oil until the problem is resolved

Common Sewing Machine Oiling Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes of sewing machines is not oiling the machine. Sewing machines are built to last, but they need some TLC to keep them running smoothly. Oiling your machine regularly will help prevent rust and wear and tear.

Another common mistake is over-oiling the machine. This can cause build-up and actually damage the machine. Just a few drops of oil in each spot is all you need.

Lastly, people often forget to oil the bobbin case. This diminutive component plays a significant role in keeping your stitches even and consistent. A few drops of oil on a cotton swab and a quick wipe-down of the bobbin case will keep it running smoothly.

How to Clean a Sewing Machine

A sewing machine is used to sew fabric and other materials together with Thread. Sewing machines were invented during the First Industrial Revolution to decrease the amount of manual sewing work performed in clothing and textile factories.

The main parts of a sewing machine are:

  • The needle
  • The presser foot
  • The feed dogs
  • The bobbin case
  • The throat plate

To clean a sewing machine, you will need:

  • A soft cloth
  • A can of compressed air (optional)
  • Sewing machine oil
  • A seam ripper (optional)

The process involves:

  1. Unplug the sewing machine from the power source. Remove any thread or fabric from the machine. Discard any loose thread clippings.
  2. Use a soft cloth to dust off the surface of the sewing machine. Pay special attention to the area around the needle and inside the throat plate. If lint or Thread is jammed inside the throat plate, use a seam ripper to remove it.
  3. Use a can of compressed air to blow away any dust or lint that is hard to reach with a cloth. Be sure to hold the can upright so that no moisture condenses on or inside the sewing machine.
  4. Apply 2 or 3 drops of sewing machine oil to all moving parts of the sewing machine, including -The needle bar -The Bobbin case -All gears are visible through an opening in the bottom of the housing 5. Wipe away any excess oil with a soft cloth. Sewing machines should be oiled every time they are used for the best performance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What Can I Use to Lubricate My Sewing Machine?

For mechanical sewing machines, we recommend using two specific brands of sewing machine oil. That is Sailrite® Sewing Machine Oil and Super Lube® Multiuse Synthetic Oil With Syncolon® (PTFE). Sailrite Oil is a non-detergent mineral oil that is highly refined with a narrow cut. 

Can I Use Petrol to Clean Sewing Machine?

Yes. If your sewing machine becomes gummed and dirty with oil, you can use a drop of kerosene or petrol. You can put it in each oil hole and at joints to clean it. After applying the kerosene or petrol, run the machine rapidly for 1-2 minutes.

Can I Use Cooking Oil As Machine Lubricant?

No. Using cooking oil, particularly vegetable oil, as a machine lubricant is strongly discouraged. It should never be used to lubricate mechanical parts because it tends to leave solid deposits behind.

What Is Best Sewing Machine Grease?

The ideal choice for lubricating gears in a sewing machine is Tri-flow grease or white lithium grease. It’s important to avoid Singer oil and grease as they can lead to gear decay. To keep your machine’s gears in top-notch condition, opt for a silicon-based product like Tri-flow grease.


Now you know how to lubricate a sewing machine. 

Lubricating a sewing machine is necessary to maintain its proper functioning and extend its lifespan. Without proper lubrication, sewing machine mechanical components can experience friction and wear.

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