How To Oil A Kenmore Sewing Machine

If your Kenmore sewing machine is making strange noises or the handwheel seems stiff when turning, it’s likely time to oil your machine. Proper oiling is key to keeping a Kenmore sewing machine running smoothly for many years.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Use sewing machine oil and apply a few drops to all moving parts like the presser foot, take-up lever, and handwheel. Avoid oiling near any electronic components and wipe away excess oil after application.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about oiling a Kenmore sewing machine from the type of oil to use to where and how often you should be oiling your machine for optimal performance.

Choosing the Right Sewing Machine Oil

When it comes to oiling a Kenmore sewing machine, it is crucial to choose the right type of oil. Using the wrong oil can lead to damage and malfunctioning of the machine. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting the appropriate oil for your sewing machine:

Look for oil specifically formulated for sewing machines

Not all oils are suitable for sewing machines. It is important to use oil that is specifically designed for sewing machine lubrication. This type of oil is typically lightweight and has the right viscosity to ensure smooth and efficient operation of the machine.

Using regular household oils or lubricants can cause buildup and damage the internal components of the machine.

Consider the viscosity of the oil

The viscosity of the oil determines its thickness and flowability. For sewing machines, it is recommended to use a lightweight oil with low viscosity. This type of oil penetrates easily into the small and delicate parts of the machine, providing proper lubrication without causing any clogging or buildup.

Using oil with high viscosity can lead to sluggishness and poor performance of the machine.

Types of oils to avoid

While choosing the right oil for your Kenmore sewing machine, there are certain types of oils that should be avoided. These include motor oil, cooking oil, and WD-40. These oils are not suitable for sewing machines as they can leave residue, attract dust, and even cause damage to the machine’s internal mechanisms.

It is always best to stick to oils specifically formulated for sewing machines to ensure optimal performance and longevity of your machine.

For more information on sewing machine maintenance and oiling techniques, you can visit or consult the user manual of your specific Kenmore sewing machine model.

Where to Oil on a Kenmore Sewing Machine

Properly oiling your Kenmore sewing machine is essential for its smooth operation and longevity. Knowing where to oil on your machine is important to ensure that all the necessary parts are lubricated. Here are the key areas you should focus on when oiling your Kenmore sewing machine:

Oil the presser foot and foot pedal

The presser foot and foot pedal are two critical components of your Kenmore sewing machine that require regular oiling. Apply a few drops of sewing machine oil to the joints and movable parts of the presser foot. This will help it move smoothly and prevent any unnecessary friction.

Similarly, oil the foot pedal mechanism to keep it functioning properly.

Oil the take-up lever

The take-up lever is responsible for moving the thread up and down during the stitching process. It is important to keep this area lubricated to ensure smooth thread movement. Apply a small amount of oil to the top and sides of the take-up lever, then manually move it up and down to distribute the oil evenly.

Oil the needle bar and needles

The needle bar is located above the presser foot and holds the needle in place. It is crucial to oil this area to prevent any friction between the needle and the bar. Apply a drop of oil to the top and sides of the needle bar.

Additionally, if your Kenmore sewing machine has a needle clamp, make sure to oil it as well. Remember to change your needle regularly to maintain optimal sewing performance.

Oil the bobbin case and hook race

The bobbin case and hook race are responsible for creating the stitches on your Kenmore sewing machine. It is important to keep these areas well-oiled to prevent any thread snags or skipped stitches. Apply a few drops of oil to the hook race area and the bobbin case, making sure to distribute the oil evenly.

Wipe off any excess oil to avoid staining your fabrics.

Oil the feed dog and stitches

The feed dog is the mechanism that moves the fabric through the machine during stitching. Applying a small amount of oil to the feed dog will ensure smooth fabric movement. Additionally, oiling the stitches area can help prevent thread breakage and improve stitch quality.

Apply a drop of oil on the stitches area and manually move the handwheel to distribute the oil.

Oil the handwheel and balance wheel

The handwheel and balance wheel are essential components of your Kenmore sewing machine that require regular oiling. Apply a few drops of oil to the joints and movable parts of both wheels to ensure smooth rotation. This will help prevent any stiffness or resistance while operating your machine.

Remember to consult your Kenmore sewing machine’s manual for specific instructions and recommendations on oiling. Regularly oiling your machine will not only keep it running smoothly but also prolong its lifespan.

How Often to Oil a Kenmore Sewing Machine

Proper maintenance is essential for keeping your Kenmore sewing machine running smoothly and extending its lifespan. One important aspect of maintenance is oiling the machine regularly. Oiling helps to reduce friction between moving parts, preventing wear and tear and ensuring optimal performance.

Here’s a guide on how often to oil your Kenmore sewing machine.

Oil before first use

Before you start using your new Kenmore sewing machine, it’s important to oil it. This initial oiling helps to lubricate the machine and prepare it for use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for oiling before first use.

This step ensures that the machine is properly lubricated and ready to handle the demands of sewing.

Oil every 6-12 months with regular use

With regular use, it is recommended to oil your Kenmore sewing machine every 6-12 months. This timeframe may vary depending on the frequency and intensity of use. Oiling the machine at regular intervals helps to maintain its smooth operation and prevent any potential issues caused by lack of lubrication.

Oil if machine sounds loud or feels stiff

If your Kenmore sewing machine starts to sound louder than usual or feels stiff while operating, it’s a sign that it needs oiling. These symptoms indicate that the moving parts are not properly lubricated.

Applying oil to the designated points can help resolve these issues and restore the machine’s smooth and quiet operation.

Oil after long periods of no use

If you haven’t used your Kenmore sewing machine for a while, such as during a long break or storage, it’s important to oil it before using it again. During periods of inactivity, the oil may dry up or evaporate, leaving the machine susceptible to damage.

Oiling the machine after long periods of no use helps to ensure that it remains in good working condition.

Remember to use only the recommended sewing machine oil for your Kenmore model. Using the wrong type of oil may damage the machine and void the warranty. Additionally, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific oiling guidelines for your particular model.

By following these guidelines and oiling your Kenmore sewing machine regularly, you can keep it running smoothly and enjoy years of trouble-free sewing.

Tips for Oiling a Kenmore Sewing Machine

Keeping your Kenmore sewing machine properly oiled is essential for maintaining its performance and extending its lifespan. Here are some helpful tips to ensure you oil your Kenmore sewing machine correctly:

Wipe away any lint and residue before oiling

Before you start oiling your Kenmore sewing machine, it’s important to clean any lint or residue that may have accumulated. Lint can build up in the bobbin case, needle area, and other parts, which can hinder the smooth operation of the machine.

Use a small brush or a lint-free cloth to gently remove any debris. This step will ensure that the oil can penetrate the necessary areas without any obstruction.

Only use a few drops of oil in each spot

When it comes to oiling your Kenmore sewing machine, remember that less is more. Using too much oil can lead to excessive lubrication, which can attract more dirt and lint. It’s best to apply only a few drops of oil in the designated spots, such as the bobbin case, needle bar, and other moving parts.

Refer to your Kenmore sewing machine manual for specific oiling instructions, as different models may have slightly different requirements.

Take your time and be thorough

Oiling your Kenmore sewing machine is not a task to rush through. Take your time to ensure that you cover all the necessary areas. Carefully apply the oil to each spot, making sure it reaches all the moving parts that require lubrication.

This process may require some patience, but it’s worth it to ensure the smooth operation of your sewing machine.

Run the machine briefly after oiling

After you have finished oiling your Kenmore sewing machine, it’s a good idea to run the machine briefly to help distribute the oil evenly. This will also allow you to check if any excess oil needs to be wiped away.

Run the machine at a slow speed for a minute or two, making sure everything is running smoothly. If you notice any unusual noises or issues, it might be an indication that you need to recheck the oiling process or seek professional assistance.

Remember, proper maintenance, including regular oiling, is crucial for keeping your Kenmore sewing machine in top shape. By following these tips, you can ensure that your machine operates smoothly and continues to provide you with great sewing results for years to come.


Oiling a Kenmore sewing machine doesn’t need to be complicated if you use the right oil and methodically lubricate all the moving components. With proper oiling, your sewing machine should run almost silently with very smooth operation.

Be sure to oil your Kenmore sewing machine regularly as a little preventive maintenance goes a long way in keeping it running smoothly for many years.

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