Cleaning Your Serger

Cleaning your Machine

There is probably 100 ways to clean our beloved machines. I am presenting the most common techniques used.

Did you know you should clean your serger after every 2 garments? I prefer to clean my machines out after every garment is completed. I take the needle out and run it in and out of the strawberry (on the end of the tomato pincushion) to sharpen it back up. There is fine grit inside the strawberry called pumice. This pumice sharpens the needles and knocks off any burrs.

With all the lint that is produced I certainly don’t want it to build up and cause any problems with my machine, especially when I am in the middle of a project.

Many people use those little mini vacuum. While vacuuming works pretty well, not every one has a mini vacuum. The vacuum can not reach in all the remote places that the lint can hide.

Others use compressed air (also called Can of Air) to blow out the lint. I prefer not to use this method because if you use this for more then just a few seconds, it starts to spray moisture out. This
moisture is caused from the propellant that allows the air to be canned under pressure. The moisture also causes rust, which is why you have been told not to blow into your machine. This can of air also makes everything very cold which is not real good for the metal or the oil.

What happens is the oil hardens and gums up and the metal parts become brittle. Using your serger could cause some of the smaller finer parts to break while they are still very cold. You will need to wait for the
metal to get back to room temperature before using your serger. The advantage in using the can of air is it blows lint out of hard to reach places a vacuum is not able to reach.

Most everyone has a hair blow dryer in his or her house. The blower placed on warm not hot is all that is needed. You might want to wrap your serger in a beach towel to catch all the fine particles that will be blown out and saves you from having to sweep or vacuum. The blow dryer with its warm air has the opposite effect of using a can of air. While both blows, the warm air will turn hardened oil into its natural state again.

The force of the blow dryer is adjustable, from low to high, and on low it is light enough to safely blow the dust away.

Many argue that using a can of air or blow dryer causes the lint to be blown back into those hard to reach places, but what it actually does is blow the lint out to the back or sides, around and out.

Most sergers need to be oiled and the best oil you can use is sewing machine oil. Get your manual out and find the oiling points. When in doubt, put a drop of oil on everything that moves.

Over oiling so the oil drips on all parts will cause the lint to and stick to the oil. Whether you use a vacuum or blower it won’t budge. That is when a flashlight, magnifying glasses, several brushes, and pipe cleaners, and a lot of patience work best.

Having good brushes will help get out any of the lint that has become packed in the corners or in cracks or even stuck to the oil that has gummed up.

I like to use those spiral dental brushes or pipe cleaners, but be sure to unplug the machine because both of these brushes have metal centers, Q-tips or inexpensive water color or similar paint brushes can be used. You can dip the brushes in some rubbing alcohol to remove lint, old oil and other buildup.

When it comes time for a serious cleaning, remove the outer casing and needle plate. Not all machines can be easily disassembled. Sometimes you just have to spend the money and take it to a repair center.

The tension disks also need to be cleaned from time to time. To do this, use a soft cloth or a piece of heavy thread, fine yarn, or even jeans stitch dipped in alcohol. Gently run cloth or thread back and forth, around the disks to remove any thread lint that has come off while running the thread between the disks.

If you are having a hard time getting the tensions to adjust, cleaning the tension disks may fix your problem.

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