Quick Tip: Keep a log of machine maintenance

When was the last time you cleaned and oiled your machine? Or changed a needle?

You don’t remember?

Me neiths.

That’s why I started keeping a mini notebook next to my machines so I could record when and what maintenance I’ve done.

I change the needles on my sewing machines fairly often, but on my sergers and coverstitch machines? Unless I break a needle, almost never.  And when you can take out your handy dandy notebook and see that you haven’t changed the needles in 5 months, it can make troubleshooting go a lot faster.

When it comes to cleaning and oiling, most of my machines suggest once a month… for infrequent use. HA! For “daily use”, the manuals suggest cleaning once or twice A WEEK. *cough* Oops.

Now that I keep notes, though, it’s a lot harder to say to myself, “I just cleaned them, they’re fine….”  I can actually look (in horror) to see that they haven’t been oiled in… well, in a long time.

Since I’m a machine freak and have a fleet of machines, a wee notebook is appropriate, but if you’ve only got one or two, you could just use a Post-it note stuck to the back of the machine to keep note.

4 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Keep a log of machine maintenance

  1. My baby is very new, only a month old. But I think I’ll give it a clean and oil next week. He was working very hard 🙂

  2. Would you say you can oil your machine too often? For example if I’m sewing a bunch of things at once. I get through process 1 and 2 and then oil again before I start 3?(i’m my own assembly line :P) just a wonderin’.

    1. I suppose anything is possible, but definitely most people (myself included) are under-oiling their machines. Even with my manual stating that a sewing machine seeing “daily use” should be cleaned/oiled once a week, what they mean by daily use is probably still a conservative amount of daily use- an hour or two. Maybe three. In your case, where you literally might be sewing for eight hours at a time or more, oiling on a daily basis is probably a good idea. I would guess that in a factory setting, the machines are probably oiled several times a day.

      I was just thinking that it would be a lot more convenient if they gave an hourly estimate instead. My guess would be that a machine should be oiled and cleaned after 8-10 hours of use, max. That’s a LOT of lint build up.

      In any case, with the amount of sewing you do, I’ll bet you have a good sense for when your machine needs to be oiled, so trust your own judgment!

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