An essential part of quilting and sewing is cleaning out your machine regularly. This helps the machine stay in ideal working order.
I have heard many different recommendations on how often you should clean your machine. I like to clean mine between each project. If you are sewing with flannel or fleece, then it will need to be cleaned more often. If my machine starts acting up, cleaning it out is one of the first things I do.
I have a Brother Innovis 80 sewing machine.
Disclaimer: Each machine is different and requires different things. Please consult your owners manual for information specific to your machine.
I start by gathering my tools for cleaning. I need a screw driver, the cleaning brush that came with the machine, a scrap piece of fabric, and canned air.
Take the plates off to access the bobbin case area.
Take out the bobbin case. Here is my dirty, dirty machine! (This is not the dirtiest I have seen it!)
Using the brush, gather as much lint as possible.
Use the scrap fabric as someplace to wipe off the brush. Get as far down into the machine as you can.
Use the canned air to blow out the bobbin case area.
Blow out the thread take up area.
Finally, blow out the bobbin case area from the back side too.
This usually creates quite the mess all over everywhere.
Make sure you blow off all the parts too, including the bobbin case.
Here it is all cleaned out!
Some machines need oil. The class I took after I purchased this machine recommended that you put one drop of oil right next to the magnet in the bobbin case. But my owners manual says no oil should be put in the machine.
So I decided to follow the owners manual. I feel that if anyone would know if a machine needs oil or not, the manufacturer would know.
I also try to have my machine professionally serviced at least once a year.
Don't forget to also change out your needle every 4ish hours of sewing. (I don't keep track of how long I sew, so I just do it when I clean the machine.)
My personal philosophy is that any sewing machine can be an awesome sewing machine as long as you take good care of it! I had a Walmart-special Kenmore sewing machine for 20 years and it is still running strong!
Have fun quilting!