Don’t forget the bobbin area!

With many of us at home sewing more than usual, our machines need a little extra attention to ensure they’ll run optimally until their next official service. Regularly cleaning out the bobbin area is an easy, and essential step of routine maintenance which only takes a few minutes, with minimal tools required. IMG_4915


One of the wonderful things about Janome machines is that they require very little maintenance. Your machine manual is an excellent resource for all things, including maintenance; what to do, and how, so there isn’t any guesswork. If you can’t find your manual, you can go to the website, click the “Support” tab, then click “Manuals” to find one for your machine. There’s even a “retired” section for machines no longer in production, so it’s an excellent resource for information.

Another great resource is our own Janome Life blog. Click on the link HERE for a previous post with lots of good tips on bobbin area maintenance.  If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to click the “Follow” tab on the main screen of the Janome Life page so you don’t miss a post!

Some of our machines, like the Janome MC 15000 Quiltmaker, and the new Janome MC 550E, include a vial of a special bobbin holder cleaner which helps clean off the lint from the bobbin holder, without damaging the resin of the bobbin holder itself. Sometimes people confuse this tube for oil, but it’s “cleaner”, not oil. Your bobbin holder does not need oil. Available from your Janome or Elna dealer, the “Bobbin Holder Cleaner Fluid” is part number #859858203.



(I realize in these uncertain, challenging times, that your Janome or Elna dealer may have limited hours, or may have elected to temporarily close their store, so thank you for your understanding that there may be some delay to purchase this product, or for the dealer to order it from our warehouse. As of this writing, our Janome Canada warehouse is still in operation, but that could possibly change in the coming days and weeks, so we thank you for your continued patience and understanding.)

How often you clean the bobbin area really depends on how much sewing you do, and with what materials. Cotton flannel will generate more lint than a polyester knit, or leather, for example, so there’s no magic number of hours to follow. When it doubt, clean it out! lol!



How often you clean the bobbin area really depends on how much sewing you do, and with what materials. Cotton flannel will generate more lint than a polyester knit, or leather, for example, so there’s no magic number of hours to follow. When it doubt, clean it out! lol!


A flexible nylon brush and a rag from an old, well washed t-shirt are my favourite (and very inexpensive!) cleaning tools. 

When I starting sewing (dare I say that was 30 years ago?! lol!) I was taught to clean the bobbin area every 8 hours, which is when we were also told to change the needle. Again, nothing is set in stone; it’s just a guideline. Some of our more sophisticated Janome machines like the Janome MC 15000 Quiltmaker and the fabulous new Janome Continental M7 have messages pop-up on their respective screens when it’s time to clean the bobbin area, so it’s great to have a reminder. Again, this can be adjusted to suit personal preference. Personally, I love having this notice prompt me as it’s one less thing I have to think about.

Here’s a little video, divided into Part 1 and Part 2, to show how I clean the bobbin holder and bobbin area of my machine.

A clean, lint-free bobbin area will also help alleviate some stitching woes, like tension issues and skipped stitches. Click on the links for Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of my series on “Skipped Stitches Solutions” for many more helpful hints.

Take care, stay safe and Happy Sewing!




About janomeman

As Janome Canada's National Consumer Education Manager, I'm SEW excited to share my love of sewing, quilting and all things creative with everyone at our fabulous new Janome Sewing and Learning Centre in Oakville, ON. Have an idea for a class, or to be put onto our mailing list, E-mail me at
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8 Responses to Don’t forget the bobbin area!

  1. linmidquilts says:

    I am not sure if this is in the right place to ask this question, but here goes. I have an MC12000 and I just read about the workbook for it and I am wondering if it is still available? Also, wondering if there is a site that is devoted to the mc12000 to exchange thoughts with other mc12000 owners. I live in Texas


    • lizafrica says:

      You have contacted Janome Canada so, I’m sorry, but I cannot help you with availability of the MC12000 Workbook. You would need to contact a Janome Dealer (in Texas?) and have them find out for you. Or you could contact Customer Relations at Janome America
      Not sure about a specific site for MC12000. Perhaps you can address that query to Customer Realtions as well. There may be Facebook pages – a group you could join?



  2. Irene Reed says:

    This is not a comment but I have a question and don’t know where to go for an answer at this time. I have an MC15000 and would like to adjust the needle thread tension to use with the gathering foot. In the manual there is a photo showing a “-” and “+” to use in adjusting the tension. However, I do not know where on my machine this photo is located. Please help. Thank you.


    • lizafrica says:

      Hi Irene,

      Hope you are well.
      I assume you are using a straight stitch for the gathering?
      If you look at your screen, you will see the adjustment menu at the bottom above the row of icons.
      Touch the arroe at the top pf the adjustment menu box -this opens it up to more adjustments > Tension adjustment is the 3 one down. You can + or – there to chnage the needle thread tension.

      Let me know if that answered your query.

      Stay well.



      • Irene Reed says:

        Dear Liz

        Thank you so much. Your answer definitely solved my query. Increasing the needle tension was the extra something that was needed to increase the gathering. I also found on my 2000 serger that increasing the threads tension was also needed as well as adjusting the differential and stitch length to make a “good” gathering.

        Stay well and sew in joy.



      • lizafrica says:

        You are so very welcome, Irene.
        Stay well and happy sewing.



  3. Great post! I’lll add a bit of t-shirt to my cleaning arsenal. One of my favorite tools for bobbin area cleaning is a REALLY cheap kid’s paintbrush…the kind that fluff out (like a feather duster….hint!) and won’t hold an edge. A close second is a long-handled eye shadow make up brush. If it has ever been used for make-up, a drop of shampoo in the palm of your hand is perfect for some swishing of the brush (to remove any residual make up dust). Rinse, L
    let it dry, and like the cheapo paintbrush is just grabs onto the lint. The long handle allows one to CAREFULLY snag some of the dust that goes into the other parts of the bobbin area and “grab” the dust and lift it out. Thanks and hope to see you in Houston!


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