How to Oil a Singer Sewing Machine? The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need

I still remember the day I decided I wanted to try sewing… Thousands of questions were running through my head. How to start? What to do first? Which sewing machine to choose? These and many other questions were all over my head.

Then it clicked! Who else – my grandma! Oh, guys what a perfect lady that woman is! You wouldn’t believe that is possible!

Always smiled, with the perfect hair and outfit she made herself. A real lady – in every sense of the word.

The perfect she was, calm and smiled, she set me down and the first thing she asked was: “Are you sure?” –  Yes, I said.

If I could only tell you how much useful advice came out from the mouth of a person who has no college degree! But she was and still is the smartest person I’ve ever met! You would love her!

If you want to do something you need to be talented, that’s for sure. But talent is just 10 percent of everything. The biggest part is goodwill and a lot of work.

When it comes to sewing, besides these two things there is one more very important – the machine!

My grandma was a seamstress. She said – Singer machines rule! And that’s how I’ve decided to buy that one exactly!

Why Singer?

This is the company with perennial experience in the production of sewing machines.

Their endurance shows they know what they’re doing. The company was established in the 1800s and today it is one of the leaders in this field.

Simply saying long history – very important! These machines are famous all over the world. They are absolute rulers in the world of sewing.
Fashion designers love them, seamstresses as well… I love them… So, you’ll love them, too.

The best part – there are models perfect not only for masters but what’s more important for beginners.

Basic problems

Well, there are some troubles you can face. Cleaning, oiling, replacing needles are just some of them.

Cleaning is a very important process. Make sure you do it regularly – once a month if possible.

You might be wondering why this is so important.

First, to make sure your machine works properly it needs to be clean.

To do this you’ll need a nice smooth brush – just like the one girls use for their makeup.

When you do the cleaning make sure your sewing machine is off – just in case!My machine uses oil. Oiling a sewing machine can be pretty big trouble unless you know exactly what you’re doing.

Sure, there are many other possible problems such as thread keeps breaking, needles are constantly breaking or your sewing machine is skipping stitches.

But we’ll deal with these problems on another occasion.

Very Important – How To Oil a Singer Sewing Machine?

Most Singer sewing machines use oil.

We talked about the reasons for oiling and cleaning your sewing machine regularly and on time.

You don’t do it for anything – you do it to make your machine works perfectly.

When you clean it and oil it on time it will be more effective, productive and it will run more quietly.

Get this – there are a few steps you need to follow. If you stick to them I promise you won’t need any professional help.

You’ll do it yourself, in the comfort of your home.

How Do I Oil My Sewing Machine – Step By step

Let’s check out the necessary steps.

Step 1 – choosing the oil

  • Choosing the right oil is not only the first but maybe the most important step for oiling a Singer sewing machine.
  • Every machine is different so you need to be extra careful about this. You should check which oil is required and get that one.
  • This won’t be the problem since with every machine there is a manual. Read it before you start doing anything!
  • If, on the other hand, you buy a secondhand Singer or any other sewing machine, find the manual on the internet. Read it thoroughly!
  • Most manuals today give you a precise description of every step. Some even have pictures.
  • There are machines that you don’t have to oil – they do it themselves.
  • If, again, your machine needs to be oiled but your manual says not to do it yourself, then don’t. Always follow instructions!

Step 2 – determine when to oil

  • Space between two oilings depends on the brand and type.
  • Some manufacturers suggest doing this every month. Others say it’s best to oil your machine after you have used it approximately 10 – 15 times.
  • When can you be sure your machine needs oiling – when you notice that lint started to gather.
  • What’s sure? If your machine doesn’t work properly, the first thing you need to check is – Does it needs oiling?

Step 3 – cleaning before the oiling

If you want to oil your machine properly first thing you have to do is clean it.

If your machine isn’t clean, it won’t be lubricated well.

  • Turn off your machine.
  • Remove all the pieces possible (needles, bobbins, threads, and a presser foot).
  • To clean you’ll need a firm but lint brush. Before you start oiling clean your machine as well as possible, part by part
  • There is a lot of dust inside your machine so a dust spray is a must-have. You can use it to clean a bobbin and a bobbin case as well as other hardly reachable parts.
  • Use the dust remover even under the needle plate. You won’t believe how much dust there is in your sewing machine
  • Take the brush and clean all the lint you can reach.
  • There are always crabby places, hard to reach. If you run into this problem feel free to use tweezers. They can be quite helpful in these situations.
  • There are parts you can simply wipe with a piece of cotton cloth.
  • Always bear in mind that cleaning the machine properly is essential!
  • There are other ways to clean. I saw some people using compressed air. I personally never had the guts to try that? That, I’ll leave up to you.

Step 4 – how much oil you need

  • Before you start, place something like a piece of cloth or paper under your machine. This way you’ll avoid the mess.
  • You’re probably not sure how much oil is enough. If you get stuck in this situation take it slowly. First, pour a little and then add more if it’s necessary.
  • Parts that need to be oiled can usually be separated.
  • To make sure you haven’t made a mistake always follow the manual.
  • Brush each part separately and then oil it.
  • Don’t rush – take as much time as you need.
  • When you finish the oiling process, get the pieces back together.

Step 5 – oiling

  • First – of course – buy the oil.
  • For the right one check out your manual.
  • It’s not hard to find it. It is usually packed in small bottles but you don’t need God knows how much for one oiling so it will last – no worries!
  • Where can you buy it? Logically – sewing shops. There are other places you can find this oil but the safest is to go to the sewing shop. There you’ll surely find it.
  • Please, use only sewing machine oil. It is different from other oils you might have (such as car oil).
  • Never use too much oil.
  • Squeeze the bottle slowly and pour a few drops.
  • On Singer sewing machine first thing you need to do is to remove the needle plate.
  • There is the handwheel you need to turn until you fully raise the needle.
  • After you’ve done this, open the hinged front cover.
  • Your machine comes with the screwdriver you need. Use it to unscrew the screws that hold the needle.
  • Remove the bobbin and clean it (using the brush we talked about).
  • Then remove the bobbin case, the hook cover, and the hook itself. Clean them with a cotton cloth we mentioned.
  • Manual will show where you should put the oil exactly. A drop or two will be enough.
  • This is a good chance to replace the needle (since everything is already separated).
  • This is my advice, but replacing needles is also very important if you want your job done fast and well.
  • After you have finished oiling do all these things vice versa and the oiling process is done.
  • Your machine is now cleaned, oiled, and ready to be used.

Oiling other sewing machines

Depending on a brand there are different ways of oiling.

What’s in common to all machines that use oil is to oil them on time and regularly.

  • Mostly you need to pour a few drops of oil into the housing unit (bobbin case sits right in it).
  • There is also a little thing that spins inside the bobbin case called a shuttle hook. Oil it as well.
  • Oil the hook race and the housing, too. This is good because if you do this your machine will be quieter.

Cleaning part

We’ve talked about oiling the machine so the mess is expected.

You don’t use too much oil so it won’t be like when changing the oil in your car but nevertheless. Precautions are ok.

Before you start doing anything, put something under the machine (we talked about it).

Be careful when squeezing the oil – firstly because you need only 1 – 2 drops and secondly to avoid the mess.

After you have finished oiling, clean the oil from all places and parts that shouldn’t be oiled with soft cotton. This way you won’t mess up your next project.

What oil to use for sewing machine

I’ve talked about the importance of oiling your sewing machine on regular basis but there’s no harm in saying it again. It will prolong your machine’s life; it will work better and simultaneously make your job easier.

People this is so important. And it leads us to a new problem – how to choose the right oil for our machine?

First some basics about how does the sewing machine oil looks like.

At first glance, you’ll probably be surprised. I am pretty sure it won’t look the way you expected.

It is white. The reason for this is that sewing machine oil is mineral oil.

It is clear and it doesn’t smell.

It is important that you pay attention to what is written on the label. I’ve already told you but to avoid any possible mistakes I’ll say it again – It has to be sewing machine oil. This is the safest way to avoid mistakes and throw your money away.

I never once used any other oil but the one specified for sewing machines.

Experienced people and manufacturers warn to be careful – never use cooking oil.

This can block your machine and possibly ruin it. Not to mention that your guarantee won’t worth a red cent if you do this.

Types of sewing machine oil

To grease metal parts of your sewing machine, you can use Singer Machine Oil 4 – oz. It is very useful against rust or other damage. It comes in a bottle with 4 – fluid ounces.

Singer sewing machine oil is one of the best for your machine protection.

Sewing machine oil Zoom – Spout Oiler 4FL. OZ (118ml) is also great. It is produced in the USA so the doubts about its quality are out of the question.

This is high quality pure white oil. It has a spout that enables oiling hardly reachable parts of the sewing machine. The best part is that you can use it on sewing equipment not only on the machine itself.

Liberty Oil 100% Synthetic 1 fl. oz. is also great.  It doesn’t only protect your machine but also reduces friction. These bottles are very soft and therefore easy to squeeze and use. The best part is that this company has a 60 – day return policy. And, it also has a stainless steel needle tip applicator for precision.

There are many other types of sewing machine oil on the market. These are just some that were really worth mentioning.

Which oil is the right one?

Sure there are many types of sewing machine oil especially nowadays. They differ in price, quality, and content.

There’s no doubt that most of us will choose the oil according to its price.

And that’s just fine.

It’s not always necessary to buy the most expensive one.

But there are some other facts you should pay attention to. I’ve mentioned that this oil is clear so the level of clearness is very important because the higher this level is the less will it cause sticking to the elements.

Then viscosity. There is the approximate value of viscosity (18 – 20cST) considered well for sewing machine oil. Viscosity actually represents the level of thickness.

One more important thing is a chemical structure. There are additives that can improve the quality of oil and this should be pointed out on the label.

As I’ve already presented you with several types of sewing machine oil and their characteristics it’s completely up to you which one you’ll choose.

Just, before you buy it read the label check its components, and check if there is a special type your manufacturer suggests. Then you decide.

Why is so important to choose the right oil

If you want to do a sewing job, choosing the right sewing oil is equal to choosing the right shoe size.

At first sight, this sounds a little bit extreme (like shoes have something to do with oiling) but it is very important.

Imagine that you bought a nice pair of shoes, but they don’t fit you. They are too small, or too big.

Well, the same can happen with the oil for your machine.

If you buy oil that’s of lower quality (maybe it was cheaper), or even worse, you buy a substitute (your colleague said that’s just fine) some really bad things can happen.

I know you wonder what can happen.

Your machine can start making a mess.

It won’t work properly.

Or, the worst but not least possible thing – your machine can stop working. And then what!? You bought a new machine but you’ve destroyed it because you didn’t have the time to read your manual.

Or because you were too busy to search some facts you had to know before you even started oiling your machine.

I know we’re all too busy these days.

Work, family, a couple of shots after a busy day… I can understand (Been there, done that).

Having in mind how complicated things can turn out I’ve done the research and combined it with my personal experience. When I felt I’ve collected absolutely all the important information you need to know about sewing machine oil I’ve presented you this article.

What can I use instead of Sewing Machine Oil?

There is one question people ask me all the time – What is a sewing machine oil substitute?

Is there such a thing as an appropriate oil substitute? Here’s the deal.

The best thing is to buy real sewing machine oil. But, to be honest, you can replace it if for any reason you don’t have one. Just be careful with what you’re going to replace it with.

  • White Mineral Oil is one of the possible substitutes for the right Sewing Machine Oil. It is a light, clear liquid. It is cheap and available.
  • One more adequate substitute is the oil originally made for bikes, the so-called Three-in-one oil. This oil is very good for cleaning, protecting, and oiling metal surfaces.
  • There is one type of oil that is a real mystery. Why you may wonder? Because it was invented in the 1920s and so far no one knows the real type and formula of this oil. Manufacturers keep this a secret. But, this oil appears to be great in stopping corrosion. It is light, similar to real sewing machine oil, and therefore can be used as its substitute.

Sure there are other alternatives. I only chose these as the most suitable. I don’t like repeating myself but when something is important I feel I should repeat it – If you can, use real sewing machine oil. If you can’t, choose one of these three. If you want something else but mentioned, check the label and make sure that the oil you are using has similar content as the sewing machine oil.

Safety measures

  • If your machine uses electric power – unplug it!
  • Be careful while removing parts, especially with needles.
  • Carefulness is important in order to avoid hurting yourself and losing parts of your machine.
  • Put everything back in the right place (using the instructions). This is the only way your machine will work properly.
  • After you have finished, plugin and turn on your sewing machine.
  • Take some unimportant piece of cloth to try it out and check if everything functions the way it should.
  • Just after you’ve checked absolutely everything you can use your machine again.

When I started writing this article my mission was to help you learn how to oil a Singer sewing machine well, fast, and not too expensive and yet to avoid any possible mistakes.

The right information is all you need. Since this text is written according to my personal experience I believe you’ll use all the information the best way possible to solve the troubles with oiling.

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