Sewing Machine Oil Substitute: Grease, 3-In-1 Oil, Or Else?

Whether you have a new commercial sewing machine or an old one, you’ll need to maintain it regularly to keep it working for you. When it comes to sewing machine maintenance, lubricating it periodically is necessary to keep it functioning.

If you sew regularly, say seven days a week, you should oil your sewing machine three times a week. However, suppose you just use your machine once or twice a week. In that case, you don’t need to oil it as frequently because overdoing it is also not suggested and can damage both your machine and your fabric.

Even if you’re an expert sewer, you won’t get the results you want if your machine isn’t properly oiled. Why is this the case? Because a sewing machine that hasn’t been oiled in a long time can produce friction between its parts. It causes them to grind against one another and finally wear out before their due time. 

That’s why oiling your sewing machine regularly, to ensure all its moving parts are lubricated, is the key to its proper functioning. However, if you don’t have any sewing machine oil, don’t worry. A sewing machine oil substitute will also suffice as both perform the same function.

Do you have a particular question about choosing sewing machine oil substitute? 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. 

Why do you need to oil a sewing machine? 

To keep your machine working smoothly and effortlessly, you need to oil it frequently. This is especially important if you don’t use your sewing machine too often. Consistently oiling your sewing machine will ensure that all of its moving parts are in great operating order, making sewing more efficient and enjoyable for you.

Machines grow brittle over time, emitting grinding noises while in operation. This could be due to wear and tear or rusting of one or some of the machine’s components. That’s why, whether you use your sewing machine regularly or not, you need to apply sewing machine oil to it to keep its parts from deteriorating and turning bad.

What kind of oil can you use for sewing machines? 

It’s strongly advisable to use the oil made specifically for your sewing machine to be on the safe side. And why not, since it’s inexpensive and also widely available. 

If your machine oil runs out, you can substitute mineral oil, serving as a sewing machine lubricant. Like regular sewing machine oil, Mineral oil is typically odorless, watery, and translucent in appearance. Furthermore, it has a light consistency and does not adhere to your machine parts, which is a big plus. 

However, sewing machine oil and mineral oil aren’t the same despite many similarities. That’s why it’s still preferable to use the machine oil made for your specific model.

What is a sewing machine oil substitute?

Sewing machine oil substitutes are oils that can be used instead of regular machine oil. These oil alternatives are referred to as sewing machine oil substitutes since they do not affect your machine or pose any harm to its components. 

Due to their similarity, these alternative oils can be used in place of machine oil in case of any emergency. However, make sure that nothing compares to the oil made specifically for your model.

When might you need to use a sewing machine oil substitute?

You can use a sewing machine oil substitute when you need to lubricate your machine but don’t have any sewing machine oil on hand or don’t have access to it at the moment.

These sewing machine oil substitutes include:

  • White Mineral Oil 
  • Marvel Mystery Oil
  • Clock Oil 
  • Tri-Flow Oil, and 
  • Clipper Oil

3-in-1 oil for sewing machine 

Oiling your sewing machine properly not only extends its life but also ensures that it runs smoothly and efficiently. As a result, it is highly advised that you use the oil made specifically for your model. You can also use a substitute oil if you don’t have any. However, it is critical to pay attention to substitute oil.

Some people, for example, use 3 in 1 oil for their sewing machine, which is a risky move. Why? Because 3 in 1 oil is made specifically for automobiles and should not be used on a sewing machine. Furthermore, 3 in 1 oil has a tendency to evaporate quickly, leaving a sticky residue that may damage your fabric while sewing.

Oil must circulate through the parts of a sewing machine so that the gears do not rust over time. However, because a 3 in 1 oil evaporates quickly, using it to clean the parts of your sewing machine is a better deal.

Grease for sewing machine

While sewing machine lubrication, sticking with plain sewing machine oil is an excellent way to keep it running smoothly and quietly. Gears, on the other hand, need to be lubricated with grease. 

However, not just any other regular grease, but a sewing machine grease. Also, that must only be used on metal gears, not plastic or nylon ones, as they do not require lubrication.

This sewing machine lube or grease should be applied in a moderate amount. Because slathering it all over the machine gears will cause the extra grease to be blown off once the gears move at high speeds.

Mineral oil for sewing machine

Mineral oil, also known as white mineral oil, doesn’t reflect its name since it isn’t white in actuality. In fact, it’s transparent like water, entails no smell, and has light viscosity. Not to mention that it is inexpensive and fairly available in most drug stores. 

Due to its maximum similarities with regular machine oil and its property of being light inconsistency, it can be applied as a substitute to lubricate any sewing machine because it does not gather on the machine’s gears. 

Best sewing machine oil substitute

Using the oil recommended for your particular sewing machine model can minimize the chance of wear and tear of its components. In the lack of standard sewing machine oil, a substitute oil that closely matches it can be used. However, it’s also critical to keep a tight check on which type of substitute oil to use.

That’s why we have come up with the list of these best sewing machine oil substitutes that you can use as an alternative. 

  • White Mineral Oil 
  • Marvel Mystery Oil
  • Clock Oil 
  • Tri-Flow Oil, and 
  • Clipper Oil

Credits: photos by Canva

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