How To Oil A Sewing Machine? (Brother, Janome, Singer…) 

It is essential to clean and lubricate your sewing machine. However, the intervals will depend on the fabric you sew and how much you use it. For instance, you should do it regularly if you sew often and use materials that leave a lot of residues, like velvet. On the other hand, you can do it once every few months if you are a light to moderate user. 

This article will show you how to oil a sewing machine, different sewing machine lubes, and much more. 

Do you have a particular question about how to oil a sewing machine? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

What is a sewing machine lubricating oil made of?

In most cases, sewing machine oil is derived from a petroleum product known as petrochemicals. These are natural lubricants that contain crude oil ingredients and minerals. Although they are used widely, we advise you against excessive exposure. In fact, when oiling a sewing machine, avoid contact with eyes and skin. 

There are other safe alternatives besides the petroleum sewing machine oils. For example, you can use kitchen products like coconut, silicone, and olive oils individually or combine them to create a lubricating solution. 

What oil can I use on my sewing machine?

Since this is a mechanical device with moving parts, lubricating it helps make it operate smoothly and extend its life. So, which is the best oil for your sewing machine? Below are some of the available options. 

Synthetic oil 

These are artificial lubricants that you can use instead of natural oils. Fortunately, they can be applied on plastic, rubber, or painted surfaces. A good example is the clock oil that you can also use on your sewing machine. But, sadly, they are a bit costlier than petrochemical oils. 

Clipper oil 

Another great alternative sewing machine lubricant is clipper oil. It has low viscosity and is mainly used on hair trimmers to extend the life of the blades. 


This is one of the best oil you can use on your sewing machine. It is made from petroleum byproducts and has Teflon particles that make it slippery, which is a good characteristic for lubricating. The best thing about this oil is that it will enable the moving parts to run smoothly even under high heat and pressure. Also, it can be applied to metal, rubber, plastic, and wood. While it is slightly more expensive than mineral oils, the quality is worth it. 

How to oil a sewing machine?

The lubricating of a sewing machine may differ from one brand to another. You can refer to your machine’s manual for a specific guide on how to do it. However, the manufacturer may prefer to take your sewing machine to a professional if you cannot follow the manual. Here are general instructions on how to do sewing machine lubrication. 

  1. Switch it off and unplug it from the power source for safety 
  2. Remove machine parts that may hinder the process, like the presser foot, thread, etc. 
  3. First, begin by cleaning it with a brush to eliminate dust and other residues. Don’t forget the bobbin area and case and other parts that have lint. Besides the brush, you can also use compressed air to clean the machine. However, hold the device at an angle and maintain a distance of about 5 inches to avoid burying the lint into the machine. 
  4. Apply the oil once you clean the machine thoroughly. Consult the manual to see which parts to lubricate. 

How to oil Kenmore sewing machine?

Check your machine user manual. 

Refer to your specific Kenmore sewing machine user manual to which parts to lubricate. If you don’t have a physical copy, you can search online. 


Use a paintbrush or compressed air to remove dirt in the bobbin area, under the needle plate, and other necessary parts. 

Apply oil 

Adding one or two drops of oil is enough to lubricate the moving parts prone to friction. However, how you store your machine, the amount of salt in the air, and your home’s humidity levels will determine the oiling needs. Follow the manual guide on the parts you need to disseminate to reach and lubricate them comfortably. 

How to oil Janome sewing machine? 

Remove the faceplate 

Use a small flathead screwdriver to remove the faceplate directly above the needle. 

Apply oil 

  • Locate and apply one or two drops to the small cylinder on the side of the machine that was covered by the faceplate. 
  • There is also a small square above the needle covered by the faceplate. Put one or two drops of oil above and below the square.
  • Remove the bobbin case and apply one or two oil drops to the area. 

Replace the parts 

Put back the bobbin case and other parts you had removed and screw back the faceplate. 

How to oil a Brother sewing machine?

Step 1: Remove the sewing machine from the power source 

Step 2: Remove the need plate and open the faceplate that covers the bobbin case 

Step 3: Apply two or three oil drops above the needle’s mechanism. Also, add two or three oil drops to the mechanism under the bobbin case. In addition, lubricate the thread guides and take-up lever as well. 

Step 4: Wipe if the excess oil and replace the parts you had removed 

How to oil a Singer sewing machine? 

Some of the mistakes people make while oiling their sewing machines include using the wrong oil type, applying too much or little oil, and forgetting crucial parts. Use the following tips to oil your singer machine. 

  • Switch off the power source 
  • Clean the parts that require lubrication 
  • Put small amounts of oil (one or two drops) on each spool pin shaft 
  • Lubricate the tension knob while rotating to ensure you get all the areas 
  • Apply two or three oil drops on each needle plate and slide it back and forth to work it in 
  • Put a few oil drops on each bobbin case hook and inside the stitching area 
  • Apply oil on areas where metals meet like feed dog, free arm, thread tension disks, etc. 
  • Use the handwheel to run the machine for a few minutes for the oil to distribute evenly. 

Credits: photos by Canva

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