Machine Maintenance Frequently Asked Questions: Cleaning and Oiling

Director of technical education and support, Hans Herzog, answers frequently asked questions to machine cleaning and oiling.

How to clean and oil BERNINA sewing machines with the new BERNINA Hook System: BERNINA models of the current 4-, 5- and 7 Series line

Am I supposed to oil the red hole under the stitch/needle plate? I have been told not to do so anymore? Is this correct?

There was a change in the lubrication procedure. You will need to lubricate the hook race and the two oiling points inside the hook. Follow the appropriate new oiling procedures here.

Does my machine need to be oiled anywhere other than on the hook area?

No. To keep things service-friendly for our consumers, only the hook area needs to be cleaned and lubricated. However, we recommend to take your machine for annual service and checkup. Your BERNINA dealer will clean and lubricate the machine internally, provides preventative maintenance as well as making sure your machine performs at its peak. And remember, never use compressed air.

How To Clean and Oil the BERNINA 880

How to clean and oil BERNINA sewing machines with the BERNINA CB Hook System

I have a BERNINA Virtuosa 153, how often should I oil the bobbin case area? Are there any other areas that need to be oiled?

The rule of thumb is to lubricate the machine after every three to four bobbin changes. Or clean and lubricate the hook area after each day of sewing. Follow these steps to maintain your machine.

How to Clean and Oil Sewing Machines with a CB Hook - Hook Cleaning - remove the needle - remove the stitch plate - release bobbin case - bobbin case removed - dust out your machine - cleaning with a soft cloth - apply a drop of oil

Oiling Frequency

How often will I need to lubricate/oil my machine?

The oiling frequency depends on the type of fabric, thread and machine speed you operate your machine at. The more linty the fabric or your thread is, the more oil will be absorbed by the lint. The faster and longer you sew, the more heat and friction will be generated. However, the rule of thumb is lubricating the machine after every three to four bobbin changes. Or clean and lubricate the hook area after each day of sewing.

Will the oiling frequency change in different climates and in higher altitudes?

Our machines are tested in various conditions created in climate rooms. For the most part, sewing takes place inside a dwelling which is most likely temperature controlled. We’d recommend to operate the machine at room temperature. Please proceed with the recommended machine maintenance as outlined in your user manual or visit these tutorials:

How to Clean and Oil your sewing machine

How to Clean and Oil your sewing machine with CB Hook

Sewing Machine Love and Care - oil felt pads

Sewing Machine Oil

What oil shall I use for my BERNINA sewing machine?

The BERNINA machines are designed with specific oils and greases in mind. Basic rule of thumb is to use the oil that is supplied with each machine. In addition, to the lubrication properties of the BERNINA oil we added a corrosion/rust inhibitor to protect the highly polished precision parts in the hook area.

If you need to order machine oil, call your BERNINA store. Tell them the model number of your machine. You can find the model number on the data plate at the back of the machine. It is best to take a picture of the data late and provide this to the dealer.

Is the correct oil for current machines clear or slightly yellow?

Some sewing machine oils can turn yellow after time. The discoloration is caused by the organic matter in the oil. There are no negative effects using this oil.

I have new BERNINA. Can I use my new sewing machine oil for my 40-year-old machine also?

Generally, we recommend to use the oil that comes with the sewing machine.

You can use the lighter weight oil from your new machine on your 40-year-old BERNINA. You may have to lubricate the machine more often as this oil is very light weight. However, we should never use the oils from the original 730/830 or 930 in the current machine. The oil is way too thick and can cause all kinds of tension issues.

We will continue with our Frequently Asked Questions Series. Please keep on checking in with us here on WeAllSew.

Print this page

What you might also like

31 comments on “Machine Maintenance Frequently Asked Questions: Cleaning and Oiling”

  • In the video I noticed that the needle was loosened and tightened using the tool provided with the machine. When I used the tool to tighten the needle I was informed by the techs at my store to not use the tool. Which is correct?

  • How do I oil the Bernina L220? The manual only refers to “cleaning” no reference as to what type oil or where to oil. Thank you!

    • There is no external lubrication needed with this model, however we recommend taking the machine to BERNINA dealer for annual machine service.

  • It was great to see what the technicians see when they open the machine. Helps me to realize how I need to make sure I clean and oil often. Good tutorial in getting to know my new B570

    • The hook for these machines can only be removed by a trained BERNINA service technician. The bobbin case and the needle plate can be removed for easy cleaning.

  • I have a 1530 that I love yes, it is old but still does a Beautiful job in sewing my garments, I take it in once a year for maintenance, I would like to know how often should I oil my machine. Thank you.

    • I would clean and lubricate this machine at least once a week, but that all depends on the machine usage, fabric lint generation, thread used etc.

  • I just received a 1630 Inspiration Plus. How do I clean and oil this machine? It’s a legacy machine that doesn’t seem to fit many categories for online information.

    • This model uses the same rotary hook as the model 180, 200, 730 etc. Remove the bobbin case, rotate the hand wheel, look at the hook body and identify the black rotating ring. Place a drop of oil just behind the black ring.

  • I have a Bernina 550 QE. The technical service icon appears on the display. I took her to do the maintenance and she works perfectly, but that icon never left. How to make it disappear?

  • Excellent information! I always encourage buying from local dealer who provides classes, maintenance, & yearly “spa” days. My Bernina deserves a yearly pampering ♥️✂️

    • Sorry for my very late responds, in general the stitch count can be used. However, depending on the fabric, thread used and the sewing application the machine shows more or less lint accumulation, which requires more frequent cleaning and lubricating.
      We recommend taking the machine for an annual service.


  • In general yes, but it also depends on the machine usage. When embroidering we are not using the feed dogs or the needle sideways motion. However, the thread cutter is constantly active. When stippling the feed dog stays down and the needle remains in the center. During garment sewing all motions are active. Also it depends on the type of fabric, thread and batting etc. used. Some applications generate more or less lint that can accumulate below the needle plate. If you keep your machine clean and lubricated frequently the annual service is sufficient.

    • We recommend when taking the machine for service to provide: foot control, power cord, 3A button hole foot, the standard sewing foot and the 1 C foot. If there are any specific sewing issues we recommend providing a sewing sample, the thread and extra fabric.

      A certified BERNINA Service Technician checks:
      Overall electrical and mechanical safety
      Factory required updates and safety checks
      Preventative maintenance
      Internal machine cleaning and lubrication
      Polishing areas of thread contact i.e. needle plate, hook, bobbin case etc.
      Perform all necessity adjustment
      Calibrate the tensions
      Sew-in the machine


  • With my first machine a B580, I was told that annual service included buttonhole foot & embroidery hoop calibration. When I took it in for service to another dealer (my original dealer closed), I was told they wouldn’t need my presser feet or embroidery module to calibrate or to do do test stitch outs unless I was having a problem. Are these steps no longer a part of annual service?

    • We recommend including the 3A foot test the button hole with your foot, the embroidery module can be calibrated by the machine operator and does not have to be done by a service technician.


Leave a Reply