How Often Should a Sewing Machine Be Serviced?


If you love to sew, you probably already know that your sewing machine means everything to your sewing. You need to do everything you can to keep it in the best working condition at all times. It is an important investment on your part that deserves to be taken good care of.

Your sewing machine needs to be professionally serviced at least once a year. You should also conduct regular maintenance and cleaning on it. Doing this will add years to its sewing life.

You have to deep-clean your sewing machine regularly, oil its moving parts, replace any broken ones. There is so much more that goes into keeping your sewing machine in tip-top condition, which will be covered here.

How to take care of your sewing machine

  • Properly store it after every use:

Make sure you store your sewing machine under a dust cover in a cool, dry room.

  • Regularly get rid of lint in the machine:

To reduce interior lint build-up, use only new, high-quality thread. It is important to know that all fabrics are linty. Over time, the build-up of lint in a sewing machine will cause its moving parts not to move so freely. Uncleaned machines skip stitches, stitch unevenly or even break threads in the middle of a seam. So, if you sew, you must regularly clean your machine also. Wiping down the machine with a clean rag after each use will do the trick.


Regularly unplug the machine and dust inside the bobbin case preferably with a soft, cosmetic brush.


You can also use compressed air to remove lint. Thorough clean your machine any time you complete a project. Compressed air will remove lint and thread from tension discs, feed dogs, and the from the bobbin area. When doing this, make sure the nozzle is at least four inches away from the machine. Keeping the nozzle at a fair distance away will help to ensure you don’t introduce any moisture into the system.

  • Oil the machine regularly:

A sewing machine has many moving parts. And whatever moves, needs lubrication to do so freely and effectively.

Always keep the bobbin case lubricated with sewing-machine oil. Check the instruction manual beforehand and afterward, run a piece of fabric scrap through the machine to remove residual oil.

Most of the oiling can be done yourself. However, some of the more hidden parts need professional attention. These days, many of the moving parts in electric sewing machines are surrounded by delicate circuit boards and wires. Sewing machine technicians are well trained and equipped to maintain and service these kinds of sewing machines.

Remember to use nothing but special sewing machine oil on your machine.

  • Change needles often:

Your needle does a lot of work overtime, it will become dull. This will lead to looped threads, pull in the fabric, skipped stitches, and eventual damage to the machine. It is recommended that you change the needle eight hours after heavy usage or every time you complete a sewing project. Needles should also be changed to match the weight and weave of the fabric in use.

When Should Your Machine Be Professionally Serviced?

Take the machine to be serviced at least once annually. Make a point to professionally service your machine every year. Annual servicing is a good idea, whether you have a cheap or expensive model.

It is important to have an experienced, trusted professional on-call especially if you use your machine regularly. Fortunately, most manufactures have teams of trained technicians to handle repair and servicing issues.

The Steps Involved In Servicing a Sewing Machine

  1. The first step is to remove all the covers to get to the main components of the machine.
  2. The dust, old oil and lint are then cleaned off the machine. Special emphasis is made for top tension disks.
  3. The take-up lever and the handwheel are checked and any threads found are removed.
  4. The timing belt/motor belt is checked for tightness. Any excess wear spots are identified too.
  5. Motor brushes are also inspected, especially for older machines. Motor turning is also checked for.
  6. The shafts should be checked for any play or wobble.
  7. All bearings are also checked for wear.
  8. The mechanism that drives the feed dogs is also checked for any play.
  9. Feed dog height and alignment is also inspected for. A slight change in height will affect the way fabric is pulled through the machine. They should also be aligned i.e. should be straight and not rubbing on the stitch plate.
  10. The needles are centered from side to side and also from front to back. Even the slightest of misalignment can cause needle breakage when sewing extra-wide stitches or even heavier fabrics.
  11. The needle and hook timing are then checked for.
  12. The bobbin is cleaned and calibrated. 
  13. After every item on the checklist has been inspected and corrected, the machine’s moving parts are oiled and finally, it is closed up.
  14. The sewing machine is tested to see whether everything is working as it should and if anything was missed. What the technician is looking for at this stage is if the machine has a smooth running sound, even needle swing, balanced tension, centered needled position and proper feed dog movement and balance.

Apart from your sewing machine, you should also bring the foot control, power cord, standard zigzag presser foot & throat plate, bobbin case and correct bobbin to be tested. 

A yearly service is enough to keep your machine in tip-top shape. Any heavily worn parts will be caught and will be prevented from causing worse problems down the line. This annual service will save you lots of money in terms of having to replace damaged machine parts.

If you haven’t taken your machine for a spa day in over two years, you need to do so as soon as you can. Otherwise, you’re going to have to start saving up to get a new one. You may need one sooner than you think.

Final thoughts

Taking care of your sewing machine is easy. All the instructions are provided by the manufacturer and if you follow them, your machine should serve you well for quite a while. However, if you want to keep using it for a really long time, be sure to get it professionally serviced at least once a year.

Melanie Asiba

Melanie is an author. She enjoys traveling, reading and trying out new things. In addition to writing for Apartment ABC. Connect with her at [email protected]

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