How to de-fluff your machine

When was the last time you cleaned your sewing machine? If it was after you were sewing with fluffy fabrics, then well done! But if you’ve been sewing with a lot of furry or fluffy fabrics and haven’t cleaned your machine out in a while (I admit I’m guilty of this!!), then maybe it’s about time you gave your sewing machine a little care and attention.

If your machine seems to be ‘growing’ fluff, then it’s definitely time you cleaned it!

My machine has a top-loading bobbin, and the instructions tell me to never add oil to the machine. Front-loading bobbin machines will have different ways of cleaning out the fluff that collects.

Before we get started, you’ll need:

  • The screwdriver that came with your machine (or a suitable short screwdriver)
  • The lint brush that came with your machine (or a similar suitable brush)
  • Two tissues (not essential, but I find them useful – a couple of small cloths would work equally well)
  • A lint-free cloth (again not essential, but it can come in handy)

Ready? Ok, first things first – we need to remove the bobbin cover. You can tell I’d not cleaned my machine for a while, by all the fluff on the right hand side.

Remove the bobbin (simple so far, eh?)

Now we need that screwdriver. Mine is more like a key than a screwdriver, but it’s small enough to fit into the awkward angle needed to undo that back left screw.

The screws are pretty small so I put the plate and screws on a tissue to the side of my sewing machine, to make sure they don’t get lost.

I knew my machine was in need of cleaning, but I hadn’t expected it to be quite this bad.

Using that small lint brush, carefully remove the fluff from the machine. I find the fluff sticks quite well to it, so I don’t need to brush it from side to side in order to collect up the fluff.

I use a tissue to wipe the fluff from the brush so I’m not just adding more to the inside of my machine.

Next, check how the bobbin holder is located (and if necessary, take a photo) – you need to align it correctly when you put it back in. If you get really stuck, your instruction manual will have a diagram showing how to line everything up, but realistically I know you’re not going to want to spend time looking for the instruction manual in the first place.

Lift out the bobbin holder.

And guess what? Yep there’s more fluff on the inside of there as well! This can be brushed, or wiped around with a dry cloth.

All that’s left now, is reassembly! Replace the bobbin holder, taking care to line it up correctly. Then wipe over the needle plate (I use the tissue I put the plate on earlier) and put it back in the slot, remembering to tighten the screws so the plate can’t wobble with the vibration as you’re sewing. Sometimes I find this small screwdriver fiddly to use, so you might find a small regular-shaped screwdriver works better for you.

Then simply replace the bobbin and bobbin cover.

Your machine will thank you, and should now be ready for hours more sewing!


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