Time for Some Spring Cleaning!

At long last, Winter is past and Spring is upon us! There’s nothing more satisfying than some much needed Spring cleaning around the house and in our sewing rooms. In the same vein, we must take the time to clean our sewing machines. The more you take care of your machine, the more it will take care of you!

I’m demonstrating some tips on the wonderful older Janome Memory Craft 6600P, however this guide can be applied to virtually any top-loading Janome machine. Here are the supplies you will need:

  • Lint brush
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Screwdriver
  • Sewing machine oil
  • Vacuum cleaner (optional)

Here is what you should NOT use:

  • WD-40, 3-in-1 oil, cooking oil, or anything that is not sewing machine oil. Visit your Janome dealer to get the good stuff!
  • Canned air or air compressors. Blasting air will push dust and lint further into your machine. You want to avoid this at all costs!

Lets get started! First, turn off your machine and unplug it. Remove your presser foot, needle and bobbin. Then, use your screwdriver to unscrew the needle plate screws. Carefully lift the needle plate up and out of the way. Next, gingerly pluck out your bobbin holder and set it aside. Some machines, such as the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9450QCP , have hinged faceplate covers that swing open easily for cleaning. If your machine doesn’t have this feature, don’t worry about it! Your machine’s Instruction Manual will detail where and how to clean your machine.

Janome Horizon Memory Craft 9450QCP

We are now ready to begin cleaning. For machines with open faceplate covers, use your lint brush to brush out any dust or lint. Lay a piece of fabric over the bobbin area so the debris doesn’t get trapped down there! Dirt and lint often collects just above the needle clamp, make sure to clean that away too.

Now to the bobbin area. If your machine is particularly linty, you can start with a vacuum cleaner to suck up the big fluffy bits. Using your lint brush, we’re going to brush out the remaining lint. Use an upward motion (see video below) to ensure that you’re not pushing lint further into your machine. Keep going until there’s nothing left. You’ll be surprised at how much lint is hiding down there!

I want to draw special attention to the feed dogs. Lint often packs itself in between the teeth of the feed dogs, sometimes so much that it prevents the feed dogs from raising fully! Use the bristles of your brush and push them between the teeth to clear them out.

Dust and lint often cakes onto the underside of your needle plate. Give it a quick brush or wipe it with a soft piece of fabric. Scraps from a T-Shirt quilt work great!

It’s time for cotton swabs! These are so great at picking up tiny particles that often go unnoticed. Gently swab the inside of the hook area (where the bobbin holder sits) until you draw back a clean looking swab. Take your bobbin holder and clean it out with a cotton swab, as well.

Some machines, the Janome MC 550E, include a vial of a special bobbin holder cleaner, Paraffin Distillate, which helps clean 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. Available from your Janome or Elna dealer, the “Bobbin Holder Cleaner Fluid” is part number #859858203.

Before we begin to oil, let’s inspect the hook. Run your finger along the edge of your hook and feel for rough spots. Most often rough spots will appear near the tip of the hook (red arrow), especially when a bent needle isn’t changed in time and it strikes the metal hook. It happens to the best of us! When your thread catches on these rough spots, it causes thread breakage or looping on the underside of your fabric. 

If you feel a rough spot on your hook, it’s time to take your machine to your Janome dealer for servicing. Do NOT attempt to smooth this away yourself!

Now let’s oil! Using the handwheel, lower the needle bar down. Put a tiny drop of oil on the needle bar, and turn the hand wheel towards you a few times to work the oil in. Now to the bobbin area. For most Rotary Hook models, there is a little wick right in the middle of the bobbin area. It is not lint, so do not remove it! Apply a single drop of oil to it. This will lubricate the hook shaft below. Lastly, apply a tiny drop of oil on the edge of the hook (where the bobbin holder sits). 

All that’s left to do is re-assemble the machine! First, replace the bobbin holder. Now, carefully put your needle plate back into position being careful not to over-tighten the screws. At this point I would recommend that you turn on your machine and run it for a moment. This will further work the oil in.

Now that the hard part is over, you can re-attach your presser foot holder, insert a new needle, and load a bobbin. Your machine will run much smoother now, be quieter, and it will thank you for it! You’re probably wondering, how often should I do this? And of course, it depends!

If you sew on the same machine every day, go through this process every week. For more occasional use, you can do this every 3-4 weeks. I want to clarify that this is not a replacement for regular servicing. By following this guide and bringing your machine in for service every year, you ensure the longest life possible for your beloved machine.

Stay tuned for the next edition of Spring cleaning where I will go over Serger maintenance! Also, be sure to check out Janome Canada’s Instagram and Tiktok for upcoming videos on machine maintenance. 

Happy Sewing!

This entry was posted in Janome hints and tips, Janome Horizon MC9450 QCP Professional, Janome Sewing Machines, Sewing Machine maintenance and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Time for Some Spring Cleaning!

  1. Susan Keegan says:

    Finally got my spring cleaning done on the sewing machine following your helpful step by step instructions. Thanks for the reminder to do it & I’ve made a note to clean the bobbin area more often relative to my sewing time. Thank you.


  2. Very helpful thank you. I have both a 6500 about 20 years old and an 8200 . Love them both . We are in the U.K. but I find your site very useful


  3. lauracuse says:

    Thank you for using the 6600 for this demonstration!



  4. cherilnn1 says:

    Thank you for this post. I just moved my precious Janome 7700 across the country, and this is just what I needed.


  5. Willa says:

    This is an excellent description of ‘home maintenance’ for our beloved machines! thank you.


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