Continuing with spring cleaning my sewing machines, I am finished with the first part of documenting the oiling of my Singer 401. I have to say, after looking the insides, the machine is in excellent shape. Except for two minor spots that there were residue of old grease stuck around the stitch cam and the turning wheel, which is totally expected. No nasty surprises here. I just wiped with a paper towel and did not need to do nothing more.
This post focuses only on oiling. And this video shows oiling the top part of the machine and the area where the needle bar is located. I have prepared another second part dealing with oiling bottom part and lubricating gears.
Oiling your sewing machine basics:
Two things I think is important to remember when oiling your machine.
Where to oil? Check the manual’s oiling diagram. Mine had graphics that faded completely so I had to look for an original manual for the Singer 401.
- You should oil whenever you see metal parts which touch other metal parts. Is Ok.
- Run your sewing machine (remove needle, presser foot first) as you start oiling so all metal parts get lubricated.
- Avoid oiling plastic parts.
- Do not pour oil on rubber like material such as: belts, and bobbin winder tires…
- Do not use grease for auto parts, or WD 40. That stuff is to remove residues whenever there are traces of old grime and dark matter or stuck parts. For example, if you have nasty marks from masking tape or sticky grease…use only a little bit.
- If you have a sewing machine from the 60s and forward then chances are some gears are made of plastic or there are plastic parts so be careful and avoid oil on those.
What kind of oil to use? Clear sewing machine oil. And I mean it…. if you have oil sitting in your sewing kit or pantry for years….beware… look at the color…does it look yellowish or stained? does it smell? time to run to the fabric store to replace with brand new oil!!!!!!!
Example of sewing machine oil getting older. Can you see the difference here? I had this oil for seven years…and when I looked at a lubricant or grease for my sewing machine…. eekkk! I had a bottle that came with my Singer 185 and it was so smelly, like kerosene…had to get rid of it.