7 October 2014

Do You Vacuum Your Sewing Machine?


May I introduce you to my new friend - the sewing machine hoover.

(Yes, yes, I can hear Alan Partridge in my ear telling me that what I really mean is "vacuum cleaner" since Hoover is a brand name. I know.)


A few weeks ago I could've sworn my machine was broken. It was spluttering all over the place and getting jammed up good and proper. I unscrewed the needle plate and spent a good couple of hours tinkering with the insides trying to get it working again. In fact, some of you were involved in diagnosing the problem since I was live-tweeting the whole thing (thanks, guys!). Fiiiiinally I found a teeny tiny piece of thread hidden away behind the bobbin holder. That's all the problem was - the smallest bit of thread caught in the system. Which is probably a metaphor for life.



Erm... and I also found this embarrassing state of dust and fluff. Oops.



Determined to take better care of my machine in future, I invested in a mini hoover to reach the parts that my sewing machine brush can't reach. (When I say invested, I mean £5 on Amazon.) I think it's designed for cleaning computer keyboards so it plugs in as a USB. The suction is fairly weak, but I guess you don't want super strong vacuuming on delicate machinery. It has a little light on it so you can see into dark spaces. The nozzle is flexible so it can reach into tiny crevices, although it does have a tendency to fall off mid-flow, which is slightly annoying. Overall though, I'm very happy with my new gadget!

Does anyone else use one of these little babies?

[Soundtrack: 'Clean Up Woman' by Betty Wright]

35 comments:

  1. What a brilliant idea! I'm a little scared to pop mine open right now. We've been through two coats since the last dusting and I'm scared to even imagine how much fluff is hanging out in there.

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  2. Thank you for this! I have only had my first machine for a few months but will go and invest in one of these to make sure it lasts well. Great tip.

    Thank you
    Niki

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  3. I love cleaning my machine! I change the needle, clean and open everything after each project. Usually I use gas duster, it has this tiny straw that can reach the most obscure places. The problem is the duster will blow dust everywhere. This tiny vacuum cleaner looks perfect for finishing the job. Plus it's cute too!

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    1. After EACH project?! Wow, you're a star!

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  4. I just use the normal 'vacuum cleaner' although it is actually a 'hoover'! But now I'm thinking maybe I'm a bit too gun-ho and could end up doing some damage :/

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  5. Not long after I started using my serger, I acquired a shop vac for my sewing room. It has a narrow hose attachment like ones shown here: http://www.amazon.com/Mini-Attachment-Vacuums-Round-Hoses/dp/B000SSNPBK -- The serger was second hand and came with a huge mass of lint in one compartment, which I assume was blown in there by someone using an air hose to clean (which I won't do!).

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  6. I use a large child's paintbrush but I think I am just re-arranging the dust rather than getting rid of it. I want one now!! Jo x

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  7. Before those keyboard thingies exsisted I used to tape over the nozzle of my vacuum cleaner with gaffa tape, pop in a small hole with a skewer (or something) and insert a drinking straw into the hole. Good suction with a small bendy nozzle. Sometimes you have to hold on to the straw though..but it worked. Better than tweezers and blowing the dust out

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  8. I use the little brush that i got when I bought my machine and I use it regurarly

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  9. Oh those pesky bits of lint! I got one caught in my bobbin case just yesterday, resulting in zero bobbin thread tension. It was quite a mystery at first because my sewing machine is only a couple months old, and I didn't think the bobbin tension should go wacko so fast. Oh, and 'Clean Up Woman' is my good friend's favorite song, so I'm hip to that! He's always playing it in his car. And a neighbor's mother is named Betty Wright, but she's not the same Betty Wright, of course.

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  10. I use our regular hoover (dyson). Just on the bobbin holder and I remove the needle and foot. Works brilliantly!

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  11. I use my dustbuster handheld vacuum, though this is so cute and tiny! Love it. Usually, I clean with the little brush, maybe a little canned air, then a nice once-over with the dustbuster every few days. I used to be a canned air addict, but learned that the lint can be pushed into the motor and end up causing it to blow up/start fires. At least that's what my chatty machine repair guy told me so I've cut down canned air my use. :)

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  12. adilah

    hi im from Malaysia . i really love your blog because it is all about sewing. i love your sewing studio too! still new into sewing and learned great tips from this blog. keep up the good work!

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  13. SUCH a good idea! Why didn't I think of that?! Thanks for sharing the tip :)

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  14. Omg!, someone else bought an USB Vacuum cleaner.
    They are great, but you have to look over the quality, which is an bit poor - but for may usage it does the job, quite well. I use the usb Vacuum cleaner mounted to an drilling machine. While drilling it takes care to clean the drilled area clean. No blowing or wiping by hand to remove the rubbish from the borehole. I have bought some at ebay from china, they are cheaper as @ amazon: ebay usb vaccum cleaner

    Nice to see someone else with an usb vacuum cleaner, it's smart to have one nowadays.

    Have a nice day! : )
    Tobias

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  15. Thanks for sharing; just ordered one.

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  16. Oh my...genius indeed! Thankyou!
    ps. just wanted to let you know I wrote a little blog today featuring you! I'm a self confessed petrified seamstress armed with your book...I've vowed to take my girls back to school after their hols wearing a polka dot dress! :)
    http://bloomsew.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/tilly-and-buttons-to-rescue.html

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  17. i don't have one of those, but i do just vacuum my machine with the little brush that comes with it for spider webs. it seems to do the trick quite well! I love taking apart my machine. Something i couldnt do if i had a fancy digital one :)

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  18. I clean my machine out often, probably a bit OCD about it. I like the idea of this as sucking up the fluff & lint is definitely better that blowing it all over the place.

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  19. I use canned air to clean out my machine. With a thin tube on it you can direct the airflow into the tiniest spaces that the vacuum cleaner cannot get into. You have to use short directed blasts to avoid moisture getting in, but it is extremely efficient.

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  20. You can also get a computer cleaning kit from the computer store, very inexpensive. It has long tiny tubes that connect to a regular vacuum, therefore giving you great suction. Works great.

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  21. Sorry to say i use my dyson on both my machine and my overlocker...works a treat!

    But then i have the other half to come to my rescue if anything does go amiss...he regularly services it and oiling also works a treat too.

    just voted for you and your boook in the sewing awards thingy bestest of luck
    Daisy j x

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  22. I vacuum out my machines when I clean & oil them too :-).
    I use my standard sized vacuum machine + with a special mini attachment kit - which has tiny little nozzles/brushes for getting into crevices etc. The advantage is that I can get very good powerful suction from the bigger machine with that set-up. (It's attachment's like these in a klit that I have Mini Vacuum Attachments Kit they cost around £10-£12 ish).

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  23. Hi! I tried the vacuum - I have a different one, but I found the attachments were too big for my Janome machine. I think it would be better if they invent one specific to sewing machines that have teeny tiny attachments. I think the one that attaches to your regular vacuum would be too powerful. I suggest that you clean the machine more regularly - um sorry. Kathy from Arizona, USA

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  24. My English husband, on first moving to the US, found himself in a shop asking for vaccuum bags for an "Electrolux hoover." I'm evilly afraid I let it happen before I intervened and responded to their confusion about whether we wanted bags for an Electrolux or a Hoover . . .

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  25. We've never had a 'Hoover' but have always done the 'hoovering'! Even now when my hubby got us a little robot 'hoover' due to my health problems, our 'Nigel' (well, he had to have a name, didn't he?) does the hoovering, not the vacuuming. Ah, the quirks of being a Brit :)
    The little gadget seems a good idea. Will have to look into that. Hubs kindly cleans mine out for me every so often as I have an uncanny ability to break things without even trying so I'll have a chat about this - thanks for the tip! :)

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  26. Hey Tilly - this is so cool! I want one! I have been using cotton buds to tenderly clean my machine for years but this is definitely a step up. xx

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  27. I use a small, handheld household vacuum. Thank you for this post. I have a Singer Touch & Sew 648; its bobbin won't wind:( A friend said that some thread might be stuck in the innards, as happened with your machine.

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  28. Oh.My. Word. I love this!! How can I have been sewing for 20 years and never thought that such a thing existed?! I've been messing about with a paintbrush chasing out fluff and dust but this is soooo much better. Thank you!

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  29. That's all the problem was - the smallest bit of thread caught in the system. Which is probably a metaphor for life. remalladora

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  30. Thanks for the great refresher on cleaning. I have Singer from 1982 and it always lets me know when to clean it. I have always taken good care of it. When it's time for a cleaning as it will start to get a wee bit noisy. That's when I know it wants a cleaning and an oiling.


    Carrick

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  31. Would prefer battery operated. Sewing machine is too far away from computer to use USB plug.

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