Thursday, February 18, 2010

Machine Fridays - Cleaning More Than Just Your House

I wish the sun would come out and stay out. I need bright sunshiny days. These gray overcast days have gotten me into a funk. There is not much I can do on these days except stay indoors and sew. I have been doing a lot more sewing. Woohoo! With more sewing you have got to remember to clean out the lint in your bobbin area to keep it sewing like it was a new machine. Cleaning is a great habit to get into. You should clean your machine at lest every eight hours of sewing if not more. I clean my machine every time I change my bobbin. It may sound anal, but my machine does sew better. If you notice that your stitching is off; change your needle, clean out the bobbin area and re thread your machine. Lint will adversely affect your stitching.

I was talking with a good friend of mine, that I have known for years and she was having trouble with her machine. I told her to bring it in and I would take a look at it. She brought it to me a few days later and I sat the machine up to check it out and sure enough the stitch was was off. I opened up the bobbin area of her machine and boy did I get a surprise. I found that the bobbin area was just caked in lint. I turned to her and said, “Girl, when was the last time you cleaned your machine?”

She replied, “A year ago when I brought it in for a cleaning.”

“No, No, No. You should be cleaning your machine everyday since you are sewing six to eight hours a day,” I told her.

I sat her down and showed her the proper way to clean out her machine. No one had ever told her she had to clean it. We went ahead and sent her machine in to be professionally cleaned. She now cleans out her machine everyday, thanks to me getting on my soap box.

Cleaning your machine is one of the simplest and cheapest things you can do to keep it running for a long time. You will need to check with your owner's manual or your dealer to see the right way to clean your machine. It is advisable to have it professionally cleaned at least once a year, more for avid sewers. A great time to have this done is while you are on vacation so as to avoid the dreaded sewing withdraw.

With most machines though, you take off the stitch plate cover and then take out the bobbin case. Second, take your lint brush and clean out the inside of the bobbin casing. You NEVER want to blow into or use a can of air on your machine because all you are doing is blowing the little bits of lint, that are in your bobbin area, further back into your machine. Which will get caked in and cause you more problems. They do make a mini vacuum cleaner attachment that will hook up to your vacuum and get right in there and suck up all that lint. Not only is it good for your sewing machine, but your car, keyboard, stereo or any other tight spot.

Remember to only take the bobbin case out and not the entire case off the machine as doing so will void your warranty.

It's important to remember to clean your machine at lest every eight hours, if not more often, to keep it running like a new machine.

Until next time,

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  1. Thanks for the good reminder!

  2. Great advice Charlie! I do clean mine with every bobbin change too, and I can hear the motor change pitch when my Juki is ready for oiling too! Runs like a dream!

  3. Amen Brother! I have an artist paintbrush that I use to gently coax bits of lint out. My house may not be "that clean" but my machine is cleaned regularly. It is a fact, it sews better. (new needles on a regular basis too!)

  4. Charlie...thanks for reminding folks to clean their machines....we preach it all the time, some listen some don't....

  5. My machine gets cleaned every bobbin change. And the vacuum treatment every 2 weeks. Thanks for the reminder!!

  6. great post charlie. i clean my machine daily, but then i sew 4 to 6 hours a day. i just got mine back from the shop after a check up and my tech showed me where i wasn't cleaning enough. needle changing is something folks don't do often enough either.

  7. Thanks for the link! I do try to clean daily too, but admit there are times when I quickly pop the next bobbin in and keep going :)

    That picture was taken shortly after a cleaning - actually!! The batting adds an extra layer of lint fast!

  8. I work in a sewing repair shop and I see that many people never remove the bobbin case to remove the lint. After a while a felt pad builds up under the bobbin case and under the feed dogs. Amazingly, some of the felt pads have so much lint, and have been compacted so much, they are just like a piece of felt.

    And yes, this lint and lack of oiling can cause your machine to make noises when sewing, cause your stitches to not look as nice, and taken to an extreme, cause the premature failure and even death of your machine. The sewing machine motor has to work harder and harder to sew with all that lint, and the newer computerized sewing machines will give more power to the motor to compensate for the slowdown from all the lint. So it's also bad for your electric bill if you sew alot, because the wattage of your machine can easily double as the motor tries to compensate to drive the mechanism with all that lint.

  9. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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