November Quick Tip

November 9, 2018By Joanne BankoDIY, Machines, Tips & Tricks 6 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

Time for another Brother Sews Quick Tip!

Keep A Clean Machine

Like many of you, I sew a lot, and sewing can be messy! Many fabrics tend to leave a lot of lint in both in “seen” and “unseen” places on your machine. In particular, I’m talking about the bobbin area known as the race, as well as the area under the plate where the feed dogs are located. Excessive lint in this area can cause improper feeding and leave residue on your lovely projects. Do you know the proper steps for routine cleaning in the bobbin area of your machine? Follow this guide and clean your machine regularly to enjoy many happy hours of sewing time.

Note: Before cleaning machine, please follow your sewing machine’s instruction manual.
  • Before attempting, please turn off your machine. Remove the presser foot for better visibility. It’s a good idea to remove the needle too but I left it in place in these photos. See Figure #1.
Figure #1
  • Expose the free arm on the machine. Slide the bobbin case cover off and lift out the bobbin case. See Figure #2.
Figure #2
  • Next, loosen the screws and remove them from the throat plate. See Figure #3.
Tip: SAMDRIVER1, a multi-purpose, multi-function tool made especially for Brother machines makes it really easy to get into this space on the machine.
Figure #3
  • Store the screws temporarily for safe keeping. THE Dream Machine has a couple handy spots that are magnetic. I used one of those magnetic places to keep track of my screws. See Figure #4.
Figure #4
  • Use a small brush to remove lint from the bobbin area and all around the feed dogs. See Figure #5.
Figure #5
Tip: You can use a small vacuum nozzle to catch the dust as you brush. Always keep in mind the fact that you want to pull dust out and avoid pushing it further into your machine.
  • When everything is all clean, it’s time to put everything back in place. If you removed both the bobbin case and the throat plate, it’s important to put everything back in a special order. First, replace the needle plate. Next, place the bobbin case back in the machine making sure the projection on the bobbin case is aligned with the spring. The bobbin case should lay flat. In the photo below the yellow arrows show the projection and the spring. See Figure #6.
Figure #6
  • Some machines have additional markings for alignment. THE Dream Machine has a white arrow and a white dot that line up when the bobbin case is properly inserted. The red arrows show these two spots in the photo below. See Figure #7.
Figure #7
  • With the needle in the machine, gently rotate the handwheel to make sure the needle is not hitting, and you have everything properly in place. Slide the cover back on, replace the bobbin, thread up the machine and you’re good to go and ready to sew!
Tip: Use the pointed end of the lint brush as a handy tool for bringing your bobbin thread out from under the presser foot. See Figure #8.
Figure #8


  • Thanks for sharing this link. This is how I clean my machine. I try to clean it every time before I turn my machine on so I never forget to clean it.

    • Hi JD!

      You are smart to keep your machine clean! I think it’s easy to want to dive right into a project but having a regular habit of cleaning the machine will prove to be worth it in the end. Thanks so much for sending us your comments.

  • great tutorial I just cleaned my machine after reading this. I got my Dream last year and hate to say it but I didn’t know how to do this by taking it apart I just brushed out the top part before.

    • Hi Karen!
      I’m glad you took the time to leave a comment! You are not alone in your uncertainty as to how to take the machine apart properly. Cleaning without removing the plate is better than nothing. However, you need to occasionally do a thorough cleaning like this. Plus, it’s so important to follow the right order and get everything back the way it is designed to be.

  • I just found this tutorial on cleaning out the bobbin area. I was starting a knit project after using woven fabrics for a while; I had a problem with the knit fabric being sucked down into the bobbin threads. After following these instructions, I found several dust bunnies in the bobbin case 🙁 and have removed them. This fixed the problem. Thank you for the information!

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