Here are a few tips on taking care of your machine. Remember that each machine is different. Check the manual or check with the shop before doing maintenance on your own machine.
- Change the needle regularly and use a needle appropriate for the fabric.
- Clean the lint out regularly. I clean mine before and after I FMQ or work on any large project. I also clean it whenever it starts acting up, or when I know it's simply been a while.
- Cover the machine when not in use. (This tip is a bit pointless for me since I sew nearly every day, but for those who aren't as crazy as me, keep it covered. That keeps out the excess dust.)
- Learn which threads work in your machine and which don't. If you have frequent breakage with a particular thread, throw it out. Even if another quilter raves about a certain thread brand, but your machine hates it, don't use it.
Here is my bobbin case after it's been a while. It's not terrible, but definitely ready for a cleaning.
These are my tools for cleaning my machine.
First lift out all visible lint while vacuuming with a small vacuum. Don't blow into the machine as this simply blows the dust and lint in deeper.
I use canned air to blow out the thread track. Notice how the nozzle is pointing down. I only want to blow the dust out, not inside the machine. When I'm doing a very thorough cleaning, I will take the side cover off to remove even more dust.
Oil the machine (if recommended for your model). I bought this bottle approximately 10 years ago. I oil my machine regularly and have only used this small amount. Use 1-2 drops. No more.
For my machine the oil goes in that metal ring to lubricate the bobbin mechanism. Before adding more oil, I always wipe that area with a microfiber, lint-free cloth to remove any sticky fibers or old oil.
After wiping the needle stem, I also add one drop at the very top and move the needle up and down a few times with the hand wheel.
Put everything back together, and you're good to go!
Make sure to discard of needles and broken pins appropriately. Don't simply throw them in the garbage. Years ago, I got into the habit of sticking them in an old baby food jar. This is my collection over the years. One of these days I'll discard this and begin a new collection.
Have a great day!