How is your sewing machine doing right now? Are there are few moments here and there where it gets a bit stuck or jams on you? Or maybe it is groaning a little more than it used to? You might just shrug and say that it is doing fine for its age, and that could well be the case. But, what if you could have it running a little more quietly and smoothly again with minimal effort?
I am talking about adding a little oil to your sewing machine and providing a tiny bit of maintenance. As long as we look after our machines and treat them with respect, they should be able to help us with all kinds of projects for many years. The best sewing machine oil could do the trick in moments. However, you need to be sure that you use the right oil with the best application method. In this guide, I have selected a few options to show you what is on offer.
5 of the best sewing machine oil products to choose from.
1) Liberty Oil Clear Nonstaining Oil
Let’s start with a simple option that is one of the more popular choices online. The promise is that it will be ideal for “lubricating all of your sewing machine’s moving parts”. The premium quality oil does seem to perform as promises and you can benefit from the 100% clear non-staining paraffin solution. You only get a small 1-fluid-oz bottle here, but you should be able to make it last thanks to the precision needle. This is a 1.5-inch medical-grade stainless steel needle tip dispenser.
2) Liquid Bearings TOP QUALITY 100%-synthetic oil for sewing machines
Again, there are some great promises about the quality of the oil on offer here. You still don’t get a lot, but there is enough for general use and it is a premium odorless, and user-friendly option. This is another one with that precision needle rather than the standard nozzle. A bonus here is that there is an additional needle in the pack. This extra long needle with its 3″ tip should reach deeper into the housing and working of the machine. That way, you should be able to target areas most in need of lubrication.
3) Singer All Purpose Sewing Machine Oil, 3.38-Fluid Ounce
I will start with my problem with this option, and that is the use of the precision pour spout. While this is fine for those with a steady hand, it doesn’t have the same reach as a needle. However, the cap does make this a refillable bottle. So, you can stock up on oil and add it to this portable bottle for a convenient solution. 3.38 fluid ounces isn’t bad for one bottle either.
4) Universal Sewing Machine Oil in Zoom Spout Oiler
There isn’t much to say about this bottle of sewing machine oil that hasn’t been said with other products. The design of the applicator is effective, as seen with other options, and the pure clear oil appears to be of high quality. The stand-out aspect of this option is that you get three little bottles in one. This could be better than one larger bottle that may dry out over time.
5) Madeira Plastic Oiler Pen
Finally, I want to talk about this refillable pen. There are some definite pros and cons here, so you need to take that into account before you buy. When this works, it offers a great portable solution for sewers that use machines in classes. The tool is a bit like one of those acrylic paint pens where the oil comes out of the nib and you can refill it as need. But, this style does lead to some familiar issues. You should make sure the pen is upright when stored and prepare for it drying or clogging up.
Now let’s talk about what you should be looking for and why.
Why do you need sewing machine oil?
I have seen plenty of people online saying something on the lines of “I’ve been using my old Singer machine for nearly half a century and never had to oil it!”. This could well be the case, but is that machine a little temperamental in its old age, or a lot noisier than it was decades ago? The changes can be so gradual that users don’t really pay attention to them. But, that doesn’t mean that the machine couldn’t benefit from some TLC. Some people that finally add oil are surprised by the reduction in noise and the smoother motions as they sew. So many other pieces of essential and complex machinery get regular maintenance with oil and a little tune-up. Why not our sewing machines too?
How often should you use sewing machine oil?
Ideally, you want to add some oil to the machine once a year or so. This should keep everything running smoothly without overdoing things or leaving it too long. If you use your machine a lot more than average, or have noticed some issues with the fluidity or noise produced, you can use the oil more frequently. You should get a feel for when it is time to do this again.
Can you use any old oil on your machine?
This is something that needs highlighting, especially to any “helpful” partners that claim to have the best solution in the garage somewhere. You need to use mineral oil on the sewing machine because of its viscosity, lack of odor, and lack of color. It is perfect for lubricating the inner workings without any risk of damage or negative effects when working on your garments. An “all-purpose” oil could end up clogging up the mechanisms, making things worse, or just leave a bad smell. Sewing machine oil isn’t expensive so you may as well get the right oil for the job.
Things to consider when choosing the best sewing machine oil for your machine.
1) The quality of the oil.
As I said above, you can’t use just any old oil on your machine and expect to make it better. The same goes for oil of different qualities. Some brands talk about using clear mineral oil and don’t say too much about its origin. If those have positive reviews then you should be fine. But, it helps to look out for listings talking about the premium 100% pure paraffin.
It is a good idea to do a test run with the oil and to check its properties before you put it in the machine. There are some cases of companies selling oil that doesn’t claim to be specifically for a sewing machine. This could mean that there is something about it that isn’t quite right. So, put a little oil on a rag to see if it has that colorless, odorless formula. You can also get an idea of the viscosity and risks of clogging before it goes near the machine.
2) The ease of application.
There are lots of methods of application out there, and I have highlighted this with the products below. Personally, I like the ones with the long medical-grade needles as you can be more precise and get right into the inner workings. Some other bottles with smaller nozzles can get a bit messier. I like the idea of the pen, but that isn’t always reliable.
3) The amount of oil in the package.
The quantity of oil can vary between companies. Some offer bigger bottles that should last a while or a series of smaller ones. Others provide just one tiny bottle. The latter is fine if it is premium oil at a fair price, but some companies over-price their products. Remember that unless you have multiple machines and expect to use a lot over the year, you don’t really need that much.
4) Is the product refillable?
This is something that you might not consider at first. But, a refillable bottle can prove to be a convenient option. You could get a larger bottle of quality oil and store it safely at home. This may cut costs in the long run. Then you can add oil to your smaller bottle so you have something on hand while working at your machine. This also means that you can refill a device like a pen and take it with you to classes or friends’ houses.
Choosing the best sewing machine oil for your needs.
You may have come into this guide thinking that you could use any oil at home to get your machine running smoothly again. But, as you can see, it is important to have the right clear, odorless, and effective oil for the best results. It is up to you which style of application you go for. While I prefer the needles for precision, you might be happier with the normal nozzle or curious about those pens. As long as the oil is of the right quality and you aren’t overpaying for a bad gimmick, you can’t go too wrong. Also check out our handheld sewing machines and mechanical sewing machines guide.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my toddler however, that is typically a challenge with her limited attention span, messiness, and desire to always have clean hands. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and fond memory for the both of us.