Cleaning Your Sewing Machine

Cleaning Your Sewing Machine

Clean Machine Lead

Keeping your sewing machine clean is an important part of producing beautiful things with fabric and thread. After enough projects, there will be an accumulation of fluff from thread and fabric in the inner workings of your machine. If you leave that to accumulate for too long, your machine will start to perform poorly.

Anytime I start to get skipped stitches or a sluggish machine I think back and ask myself when the last time was I cleaned it; it was usually too long ago.

Read the manual

I talk a lot about getting to know your manual. I’ve put little sticky notes all over mine so I can quickly find what I’m looking for. Get your out manual (or locate a PDF online) and go to the section on ‘How to clean your machine.’


Some machines will tell you to oil certain parts. Others won’t. My top advice is to always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on cleaning.

For my Brother cs6000i I need to remove the bobbin cover on the needle plate cover.


Then I follow the instructions to remove the needle plate cover itself.


Next I remove the bobbin case.


Vacuums and cotton swabs

Now I have unfettered access and can get to cleaning. Step one, vacuum!


I also use cotton swabs to gather up the fuzz that my vacuum can’t reach.


Look at all that fabric and thread fuzz!


Once the inside of the machine is clean, you need to also clean the parts you removed.


After you’ve reassembled the parts you’ve removed, I also suggest changing out to a new needle. It’s better to start fresh and new after a cleaning.


Re-thread in your desired color.


Now do some practice stitches. Here you can see how clean my embroidery stitch looks after cleaning my machine and switching out to a new needle.


With a clean machine I was able to do some beautiful embroidery for a friendship quilt I’m making.


Happy cleaning and happy sewing!

Charlotte Kaufman is a writer and sewist in Mammoth Lakes, California. She specializes in marine and home interiors and continues to fall more and more in love with quilting. You can follow her at