Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

I finished up a sewing project Saturday afternoon with the sunshine streaming in through the sewing room windows. It was so nice to see the sun!

But holy cow - it showed all the dust and dirt in the room AND all over my machines! Yuck! I spent all afternoon on Sunday cleaning off (and out) the machines and giving the whole room a good dusting.

A clean sewing machine is a happy sewing machine. No, really! The best resource for cleaning, oiling, and adjusting tension on your machine is your trusty sewing machine manual. And, I have some tips to share with you, too, along with some wonderful information I found on the web.
Take a look at some of these:

Sewing Machine Maintenance an informative how-to by Susan Wright and Jewell M. Limacher
Tension Settings from
Machine Cleaning Tips from John Gass
Preventive Maintenance from Threads Magazine

And for those of you that have antique machines:
The Care of Machines from ISMACS
Cleaning Antique Machines from

There's so much good information on cleaning, oiling, and adjusting your tension in the above links (and in your manual), but I've got some great tips on cleaning the outside of your machine!

First, NEVER use cleaners that contain abrasives (cleansers), ammonia (Windex and 409), or petrolium products to clean the outside of your machine. These products may harm the plastic or painted finish and can damage or totally remove any decals.

Make sure you know what materials the case of your sewing machine is made from before attempting to clean them, and always test a cleaner first on a small area. Always use a soft, non abrasive cloth when cleaning, like 100% cotton diapers or soft cotton cloth for polishing cars.

Plastics - use an ammonia free cleaner like Purple Sparkle, or an abrasive free cleaner made for plastics or plexiglas. For polishing plastics, I've used some of the Meguiar's products with GREAT results (but keep this stuff away from stickers or decals on plastic!).

Painted Metal - Purple Sparkle works great or try some mild detergent mixed with water. For polishing, I've used a quick detailing spray from Meguiar's that worked excellent! (Can you tell I also have an antique car?)

Antique Finish/Japanned Metal - Jappanning is the process that was used to coat antique machines with that beautuful and shiny black enamel finish. Be VERY CAREFUL if you are cleaning an antique machine with this kind of finish! Read the recommendations in the ISMACS article, The Care of Machines .

Chromed Metal - use a product specific to cleaning and polishing chrome. I've used Never-Dull on rusty chrome with great results, and Mother's is equally good. My husband swears by a two-step chrome polish, but I can't remember the name and he's out cold on the couch. I'll post a comment with the name when I find it!

As you can tell, I love not only a cleaned and oiled machine but a SHINY machine! Ohhh, shiny shiny! Okay, so what great tips do you have for keeping your sewing machine spit shined and ready to sew?


Ladybird said...

These are some great tips. I was recently given a beautiful old Singer from the 1940's that is covered in dusty oldness....but I know it's a beauty under all that grime! I need to get in there on a free afternoon and clean it up and take some pictures (that will make for a fun blog post on LadybirdSewsHerNest!)

Kris said...

Hi Erika! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I have a daughter with the same name, spelled the same way too!
Come on back and visit, and I shall be doing the same!

Kris said...

Me again. Just went a few pages back to see more of your blog, and came to your sewing studio. What a fantastic place to create!!!! I love it. I would love to see all of your sewing machines in a more close up photo post. In fact, I think I will be doing a sewing machine post soon too. I have several I use regularly.
Have a nice day.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Hi Erika, thanks for the visit, helped me find your lovely blog! I will have to head over and clean my sewing machine now!
Love the aprons and the swifter cover is fabulous! Tracey