Sewing machine

Today we gonna talk about how to unfreeze a sewing machine. 

It’s easy to take our sewing machines for granted. We use them for sewing clothing, quilts, and mending. Moreover, the types of fabrics can range from thick denim to thready flannel and finally to delicate silks.

As you can see our sewing machines take a lot of abuse. The funny thing is, we may do the dishes or sweep the living room floor before we start our sewing session, but do we ever clean our machines?

A sewing machine that is not cleaned regularly can potentially become clogged with fibers from fabric and thread. In addition, the gears need to be oiled periodically. Eventually, the situation can become so bad that the machine will freeze.

There are a few things you will need to collect before we start working on your frozen sewing machine. Most may have come in the machines tool kit, but they are easily found at a local sewing store or online.

  • A small brush with short, stubby bristles. You may substitute a small artist’s paintbrush.
  • Either a flathead or Phillips head screwdriver. Check your machine to see which is needed.
  • A vacuum or canned air to blow dust out of the machine.
  • A container of sewing machine oil or grease. You should check the user manual to make sure you have the right kind for your machine.
  • A bottle of solvent to remove grease. Most brands would be okay.
  • A copy of the sewing machines user manual.  You can download it from the internet if you don’t have one.

Time to get started!

The first step is to clean the machine. Depending on how dirty your sewing machine is this step could take a few minutes to a few hours.

  • Use the brush to reach in and clean the shuttle race and the feed dogs. Burley Sews has a good video on how this is done.
  • Give the machine a deeper clean. Use the screwdriver to remove all the covers. You may need the user manual to make sure you find all of them. Now, use the vacuum or canned air to either suck or blow all the dust out of the sewing machine. You can use the brush if you see any bits that are stuck.
  • Check for any grease build-up and wipe it away.
  • If the grease is being stubborn you may have to work a little harder to remove it. Use some solvent if necessary. You may need to dab some on and leave it for several hours so it can dissolve the grease. For a video of the process view this video.
  • Use the oil to lubricate the machine. Generally, you need to oil any piece that moves. Don’t add too much, a little goes a long way. Try to move the wheel again. If it is still frozen, move on to the next step. Niler Taylor demonstrates in this video.
  • Check again in the areas around the drive system, pulley, tension and other gears. Especially any that are metal on metal. If you see any dirt you missed earlier, use the brush to remove it.

The sewing machine is now working again. In order to keep it in top condition, remember to clean out the lint and dust after every project. Running the brush through the thread dogs and shuttle chase takes only a couple minutes but can save you hours of lost time later on.

You may also consider having a periodic overhaul done on your sewing machine every year or two. A trained technician will do a deeper dive into the mechanics of your machine to find and replace worn parts.

Hope I gave you a full answer to question how to unfreeze a sewing machine.

Stephanie Green

Stephanie Green

I fell in love with sewing eight years ago after stumbling on Etsy and being fascinated by seeing all the creative projects hobbyists were able to make in their spare time. I think part of my interest is that sewing seemed like such an old-fashioned activity, and yet so many young people enjoyed it.

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