I am absolutely terrible for cleaning my machines. Or rather, for NOT cleaning my machines. I am forever getting caught up in a design or a deadline and I think ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’. Then tomorrow becomes the next day and the next day becomes the next week. Before I know it a month can go by and my poor machines are drowning in fluff!

Ideally you want to give you machine a quick dust down everyday, or a good clean every week. So consider this your reminder to do it today!

Cleaning machines shouldn’t be difficult, and definitely doesn’t require any fancy equipment! Here’s my cleaning kit, made up entirely of things I already have at home.


  1. Clean cloth. I’m just using a multi-purpose cleaning cloth, but you can get special dusting cloths or even use a fabric scrap! I add just a drop of water as I find the dampness helps grab the dust.
  2. Clean, dry, soft paintbrush.
  3. Straw. I use a metal reusable straw, but you can just as easily use paper or plastic straws.
  4. Pipe cleaner.
  5. Air! I prefer to use compressed air in a can, but the air in your lungs will do just as well!

So, to hopefully make you feel better about the state of your machines, here’s a photo of my overlocker today! I last cleaned it about 3 weeks ago, and have been sewing a lot of fluffy corduroy. (*Hangs head in shame*)

I start with the paintbrush as use it to pick up the worst of the dust and fabric shavings. Literally 60 seconds of cleaning removed all of this! (YUCK!!)

Next I twist the pipe cleaner around on itself and then tuck the sharp ends into the straw to make a handy little cleaning tool perfect for getting into the trickier spots.

Once most of the dust has been removed I set to with the compressed air. If you prefer you can just use your straw and blow really hard to dislodge the last of the fluff. Just make sure you don’t get confused and suck by accident as fabric waste is really not tasty!!

Finish off with a dust over the outside with the cloth and you’re done!

It’s not quite ‘good as new’ but it’s a huge improvement and can only help my machine work properly.

It really isn’t a tricky job. This entire clean took 12 minutes from start to finish. I really must be more disciplined and make sure to find 12 minutes every week.

So GO! Get cleaning!

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