After cleaning and oiling the top part of my Singer 401, I am focusing on the bottom part. I have not done any oiling or lubricating since I purchased this machine….
Light housekeeping: To clean the bottom part, check for lint, fluff. If you can, use a vacuum if there is too much lint. Check for old grease and oil residue. You don’t want to apply stuff on a dirty surface. Remove with WD40. Here, be extremely careful. You just want to apply WD40 on a piece of paper to wipe any residue. Do not apply directly to parts or onto the sewing machine.
Heavy-duty cleaning: If you happened to discover that the insides of your sewing machine are full of brown sticky gunk and some parts are not moving then you need a more aggressive cleaner. You can try using kerosene.Use an old rag, or an old t-shirt, pour kerosene on fabric and wipe the parts until the residues come off. You may need to wrap around that particular part that is stuck with the rag with kerosene and leave it overnight. The next day just wipe clean with damp rag and hopefully that will be enough to look like new.
I recommend you check out this blog from Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing, she has a wealth of videos and very useful information if you need to do serious cleaning of your vintage sewing machine.
My machine seems very clean except for some greasy spots around the turning wheel, and the cams. I think the previous owner or the technician who serviced this machine put way too much grease. I just used a piece of paper towel and it came off quickly without leaving traces.
After cleaning, apply oil according to oiling diagram. If you don’t have one, download from the internet. If not, apply oil wherever you see tiny holes. Just one drop. And make sure your oil is CLEAR avoid using old oil because it will leave a nasty yellow discoloration on the body of your sewing machine.
- Where the stitch cams are located.
- Around the turning wheel to the far right of your sewing machine.
- Around the red lever
Where you see these two little teethed circles touching with each other on far right near the motor.
Also, check for shaft at far left that makes the bobbin run
What kind of lubricant to use?
I did extensive research among credible sources from people who own, collect, and fix their vintage sewing machines. The number one recommended lubricant is “TriFlow Clear Synthetic Grease”. You can read all about it in this review from Sew Classic’s Blog.
Now I am ready to continue doing heavy duty sewing on this machine!