It’s lovely to know HOW to clean your machine(s), but it’s equally important to know WHEN to clean them, in order to make sure you get the most out of them and catch any issues before they become problems. Today, a sample schedule for maintaining and servicing your sewing machine and serger.
Sewing Machine cleaning and service schedule
Every new project: replace needle
Every time you sew: dust outside and tidy up beneath the machine; keep machine covered when not in use to decrease dust settling
Once a month: clean the interior of the bobbin assembly and case, the tension disks, and under the throat plate; oil all necessary parts
Once every two years: take your machine to the dealership or service center for a standard check-up and maintenance (should run you around $55-$65, depending on where you live, and is totally worth it)
Serger/Overlock cleaning and service schedule
Every time you sew: clean beneath the machine, dust off any lint, and keep the serger covered between uses
Once every two weeks: clean the interior of the machine, removing all lint and particles
Once a month: run a length of thread soaked in alcohol through the tension disks to collect any bits of fluff that your cleaning missed
Once every four months: take your machine to the dealership or service center for regular maintenance; replace cutting blades at this time, especially if you’re a heavy user
Obviously, this might not be the schedule you choose to regularly follow–I know folks who clean their machine(s) every single time they use them, either because they sew infrequently (and so the machine will be stored afterward and they want to store it in a clean and oiled state) or because they sew very often (and there is a greater accumulation of lint and dust). Either way, taking the best care of your machine that you can will help it to last longer–and that’s true of less expensive models as much as it is of fancier machines.
Last tip: use the best thread you can afford. Cheaper threads have bits of microscopic lint that come off them, which sheds all over your machine–both where you can see it and where you can’t. I used to get tons of bits of thread on my throat plate, and assumed it was fluff from the cut edge of my fabric. Turns out, it was from the thread rubbing against the thread guides, and bits of it were flying off–imagine what was inside my machine! Better-quality threads have vastly less fluff and breakage, and will not only treat the interior of your machine better, but will last longer in your sewn projects, too.
*As always, this advice is a recommendation only, and you are strongly urged to consult your owner’s manual and your service provider to learn what service schedule and maintenance techniques will work best for your machine.