How to Repair a Sewing Machine

A sewing machine is an appliance used to stitch materials such as fabrics together. It uses electricity or a mechanical pedal. The machine has a needle that moves automatically, connecting thread from above and below the fabric.

A sewing machine requires minimal maintenance. Regularly oil the mechanical parts of the machine to avoid quick wear and tear. It also has to be cleaned from excess material from the fabric. When the machine stops working, the most common solution is the replacement of the drive belt that powers the needle.




Before cleaning, oiling, or repairing a sewing machine, the following materials should be at hand:

  • sewing machine oil:
  • drive belt;
  • vacuum with Crevice attachment;
  • tweezers;
  • white Lithium grease;
  • round toothpick; and
  • small flathead screwdriver


Cleaning and Oiling


  1. Remove the bottom, top, side, and hand wheel covers by removing the screws that hold them in place. Set the covers aside.
  2. Remove the plate that covers the thread bobbin by using a screwdriver to loosen the screws that holds it in place. If the plate is held in place by a magnet or a clip, use a flathead screwdriver to pry it up.
  3. Thoroughly clean the inside of the opening with the vacuum and crevice attachment. Take care to remove all stubborn lint. Use a pair of tweezers to remove any thread that may be wound around the parts.
  4. Clean the teeth on the gears with the tip of a round toothpick. Use it to loosen the grime and vacuum to take it out.
  5. Lubricate all the mechanical parts correctly. Use white lithium grease on the gears, while all of the other parts simply require regular sewing machine oil.
  6. Reassemble the machine.


Replacing or Tightening the Drive Belt


  1. Take off the covers just as indicated in the first step of the procedure for cleaning.
  2. Locate and inspect the drive belt. If the belt is slack, use a screwdriver to loosen the screws that hold the motor in place. Follow the 4th step above to increase the belt’s tension. If the belt is broken or cracked, find a replacement from a local store or a sewing machine supplier.
  3. Install the new belt. Loosen the screws which mount the motor. Slip in the new belt by shifting the motor toward the hand wheel.
  4. If the belt is too loose, shift the motor away from the hand wheel to increase tension. Tighten the motor-mounting screws to check the belt’s tension. Take care not to flex the belt to more than half an inch; otherwise, it has to be tightened again.