While it is definitely important to keep your equipment clean, knowing what to clean and how (or how NOT) to clean is equally important. One “tool” that seems to rear it’s ugly head every few months or so is “canned air”. While canned air has its uses and its place in the world, blowing into you sewing machine is NOT one of them. Canned air, or compressed air from your home air compressor, has moisture in it, as does your breath. When you blow into the machine, the moisture goes with it into places where moisture shouldn’t go. In technical terms, moisture in sewing machine parts and electronics is called a BAD thing!
To make matters worse, when you blow into your machine, much of the lint and dust doesn’t blow out of the machine, it goes further in! Unless you have all the covers removed (and I hope none of you are attempting that on your own!) the debris has nowhere to go but inside, causing problems in other areas of your machine. Moisture in those areas can cause rust and corrosion to form from continual use. So, with all due respect to the makers of canned air products, Mr Fixit recommends that you do not use it!
So what should you do? The procedure varies a bit for different models, but essentially, you should remove the needle plate and clean beneath it and between the feed dogs (those little “teeth” that move the fabric) regularly. For those with drop-in bobbins, remove the bobbin case and clean it, as well as the area beneath it. Use your vacuum cleaner and lint brush to pull the lint and dust out. You’ll find holes through which you can see lint and thread inside, and by rotating the hook slowly as you vacuum, you can remove the worst of it. Even a Q-Tip works pretty well.
For those with front-loading machines, remove the bobbin case, and then the hook cover (the round silver thing usually held on by two “ears” on either side of it. This will allow you to remove and clean the hook as well. Don’t feel comfortable doing that? Stop in at your dealer’s store and ask him to show you how – it’s easy and will save a lot of aggravation later!
Just doing this much cleaning after a project can make your sewing more enjoyable, with fewer “issues” like those we’ll talk about in articles to follow. If you’re in our area, check out the class offerings and sign up for my Sewing Machine Maintenance Class, offered regularly at the store.