Just like a car, a lawnmower or a boat, keeping your sewing machine taken care of is essential to ensure your machine lasts longer, sew’s appropriately and to help avoid costly trips to the repair store.

keep tools oiled and clean

Tips for caring for your Sewing Machine:

Clean your machine:taking-care-of-your quilting-tools

Most machines come with a kit of screwdrivers/nylon brushes.  I would recommend getting in the habit of sliding out the plate under the needle every time you sit down to start sewing and using a nylon brush tackle those dust bunnies and little threads…If they are left in there to build up your stitches will skip and your bobbin may not cooperate.  It is also a good idea to clean beneath of where the bobbin sits every time you start a project.  More often if working with flannel or any thick fabric.

Do not use bent or dull needles:

They just make it harder for your machine to do a good job by adding unneeded pressure.  I have made a habit of changing the needle with every project I start.

Oil your machine:

Check your manual for details.  Sewing machine oil is clear and very fine so as not to damage any of your projects.  Very little oil is needed and since you don’t want any oil to go where it should not go it is BEST if review your manual for instructions.

You should also spiff up the outside of your machine by applying a plastic safe, gentle spray cleaner to a clean white soft cotton cloth and wiping it down.

Tips for caring for your Rotary Mat:

Remove Lint:

When I bought my first mat the thought of caring for it never crossed my mind until I began to see lint building up in some areas where I had cut.  That was solved quickly by taking duct tape and pressing it on the mat to lift out the

Wash it:

Since your rotary mat really likes moisture once in a while (the moisture will help in keeping your cutter sharper also!) you can wash your mat in a tub of COOL water, add a 1/2 white vinegar and a dab of liquid dish soap and scrub it up!.  Be sure to towel dry, never apply heat!.


  • Roll up your mat
  • Store it on its edge
  • Iron on it
  • Place in sunlight
  • Use it as a coaster or placemat!


  • Store flat
  • Follow above care tips

Caring for your Rotary Rulers:

As with your rotary mat if you want your acrylic ruler to last and do its job do not store in sunlight.

Store your rulers either flat or if they come with a pre-drilled hole you may hang them up.

Do not clean with products containing:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Abrasives

Do clean with:

  • A soft and clean white cotton cloth.

Caring for your Rotary Cutter:

First and foremost, only cut with your rotary cutter on the mat designed for such use.  Cutting on any other surface will not only damage the item you are cutting on but the cutter itself.

It is good practice to clean your cutter at the very least after each project.  If you are cutting fuzzy fabric, like flannel, you will need to clean it more often.

TIPLay out all parts as you take the cutter apart in the order you removed.  You will be happy you did this when you go back to put it back together.  Do this not only when you clean the cutter, but when you need to change to a new blade.

Steps to cleaning:taking-apart-a-rotary-cutter-to-clean

  • Remove nut
  • remove washer and screw
  • remove blade (blade protector if removable)
  • Wipe blade with clean soft cloth – Please be careful the blade is extremely sharp
  • Place one drop of sewing machine oil on both sides of blade
  • Replace all items in the opposite order you removed them

If you follow the above guideline to keeping your tools in good condition you will find that you will be rewarded in turn and all will be smooth running….

If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave me a note and I will get back to you.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you soon.








  1. Very practical and useful information. I can see how working regularly with flannel would create a lot of thread remnants causing you maintenance problems.
    Is there a particular needle brand that you use? Or are they pretty much all equal?
    The same question for machine oil. Do you have a brand preference?

    • Keith,


      So glad you enjoyed this information.

      As far as all needles being equal, some are better than others. I find that using very sharp needles makes for better stitching results. For sewing the quilt top together I normally use a “universal needle” and for the quilting part of the quilt, I use “quilting needles” as they are made for sewing through multiple layers. Singer and Schmetz both make very nice, sharp needles. They range from $6.00 – $12.00 and have five to ten in a pack. Most online and local fabric stores carry both.

      The ideal machine oil I use is, Helmar Super Lube Machine Oil. It is a Pharmaceutical Grad Oil. It comes in a plastic squeeze bottle (4.23 oz) and goes a long way. It is handy because you can also use it on other items such as scissors, power tools, hinges. Basically on anything around the home that needs a little oil.

      Thank you for asking these questions so that others can learn as well.


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