When was the last time you cleaned your sewing space? Are you aware of how to clean your sewing machine and iron?
When you own a sewing machine, there is inevitably some maintenance that is required to keep her purring along.
Sewing machine cleaning sounds like such a daunting task. A total sewjo killer, right?
Well, it doesn’t have to be.
Just like you probably have a weekly beauty routine, the same applies to your sewing studio. A little weekly cleaning is the ticket to keeping your machine in tip-top stitching shape. And, once you make it part of your routine, it won’t feel like such sewjo killer anymore!
This is why I’m excited to share how to clean your sewing machine and iron!
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Establish a sewing machine and iron cleaning routine
All it entails is setting aside one day a week to check in with your beloved Bertha, Speed Demon, Daisy – or whatever moniker you’ve lovingly assigned your sewing machine 😉
And while you’re at it, why not clean your other essential piece of equipment – your iron? You know the metal piece you can’t get through a single quilting session without? Let’s show her some love and care too! If you own a Rowenta, it should be pretty easy.
Here’s how I approach my studio maintenance
The day I’ve selected is Sunday. It can be any day of the week, but for me, Sundays work perfectly. And the task is normally accompanied by a yummy hot cup of coffee, sounds good already, right?!
Ok, let’s get to how to clean your sewing machine and iron.
Start with your iron
Start by setting your iron to the self-cleaning settings. If you own a Rowenta, you’ll want to turn the dial ALL the way to this setting. And click over to this button on the steam setting.
While she’s heating away, turn your attention to your machine.
Gather your essential cleaning tools
Get your essential cleaning tools ready and lined up so you’re not getting up a gazillion times throughout. I’m speaking from experience here! And nothing kills a mood quicker than having to hunt everything down.
Here are my top sewing machine cleaning essentials that I can’t live without:
- Sewing Machine Oil
- Alba-5 Lubricant – Sewing Machine Oil Spray
- Lint Brush – one should have come with your machine, otherwise, you can find this nifty one here
- Pipe Cleaners – you can either go for soft or hard bristles (mine are hard). They’ve even got these fancy ones.
- Paper Towel or washable cloth
- Sewing Machine Needle
Open your sewing machine
With the iron heating away, get your screwdriver and start by removing the needle, the presser foot, and then the sewing plate.
Very delicately start gathering the lint with the small cleaning brush. Take your time here. You don’t want to push the lint further into your sewing machine. After every swipe, clean the brush on the paper towel you have at the ready.
For the tougher-to-reach nooks and crannies, my quilty friend Tiffany of Village Bound Quilts had the nifty idea to use a pipe cleaner. It works like a charm! The hubz picked up these pipe cleaners with a slight grip to them and they are perfect at catching ALL the fuzz. I’m sure a regular one works just fine too.
You’ll be amazed at how much lint you’ll have accumulated on your paper towel once you’ve thoroughly passed the brush and pipe cleaner over the entire inner workings of your sewing machine.
Don’t forget to also give the needle shaft a good wipe with the brush too. It’s amazing how the fuzz just gets everywhere!
You’ll want to give your presser foot and bobbin a good cleaning too.
Reassemble your sewing machine
Now, with all the fuzz gone, you can start putting things back together.
Start with putting the sewing plate back on, making sure to screw everything back in nicely and securely. Then, I take the opportunity to change my needle, before I put my presser foot back in place.
Oil your sewing machine
Once I have my bobbin back in, I then spray one shot of the sewing machine oil from the spray can right at the top of the bobbin case. This was a recommendation from the technician who sold me my Juki.
I’ve been using this since day one and I find it super easy to keep that area oiled. It can be a little finicky (and messy, I might add) trying to use the typical sewing machine oil bottle and this spray works like a charm. Since I use my machine regularly, I give it one spray at the beginning of each session.
Next, you’ll want to add a drop or two of the sewing machine oil in all the little oiling holes. For my Juki, I’ve got 3 spots on top and 2 in the throat area. Refer to your manual for your specific oiling spots. A drop or two in each should do the trick, but this will all depend on your make and model and the frequency you use your machine.
Turn your attention back to your iron
By this point, it’s been about 10 minutes, which is exactly how long the Rowenta takes for the first self-cleaning step.
I then turn everything off, unplug her and head to my sink. To show you just how much gunk accumulates with just a week’s use, I held the Rowenta over a bowl to accumulate the water that pours out while holding down the self-clean button. Do this for about a minute, and be amazed at the yucky water and particles that come out!
Once you’ve done that for a minute, refill your water reservoir back up.
Head back to your ironing board, this time with an old hand towel. Put the dials back to the self-cleaning setting and start passing the iron over the towel. You’ll see some additional debris and brown-stained water collect on the towel. Once you’ve passed it a few times, you can leave it to continue heating for another 10 minutes, and then you’re done.
15-minutes is all it takes!
You’ve now got a completely de-fuzzed and well-oiled sewing machine and an iron ready to press any wrinkle you throw at it without any worry of brown stains appearing.
And all it took was about 15 minutes of active time.
How easy is that?!
Now that you know how easy and painless it can be to clean your sewing machine and iron, be sure to show your tools some TLC. After all, you’ve invested a good chunk of money in your tools, so why not spend a little time to keep them running smoothly for years to come?
I would love to hear what your studio maintenance routine is! Share your tips and tricks in the comments below 😊
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