Basic Serger Maintenance Tips

National Serger Month is all month long. We’re dishing out helpful serger tips and tricks, plus fun serger projects. Be sure to check out the National Serger Month website for more projects and tips.

Today’s post is all about keeping your serger in great shape. Read on for tips on keeping your serger running smooth.

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Since its introduction in the 1980s, the home serger has been a workhorse in many sewing rooms. Using the serger as a companion to the sewing machine elevates the finished look of any project while also making it faster and easier to create. Learn how to care for your serger and create a combination scrap catcher and serger mat.

Serger Maintenance

As with any piece of mechanical equipment, the life of a serger and the quality of its performance are greatly enhanced by regular care and maintenance. The good news is that sergers are relatively simple to care for. It only takes a few minutes to keep them running well.

Follow these steps for cleaning and oiling your serger to make sure it’s ready for the next sewing project. Clean the serger on a regular basis. Some fabrics create a great deal of lint and fuzz; these require more frequent serger cleanings. Others are relatively lint-free, meaning the serger can go longer between cleanings. It’s also a good idea to have it professionally cleaned and checked by a trained technician every one to two years.

  1. Gather a few tools to help the process go quickly and smoothly. Some of these tools may be included with the serger while others are common household items: lint brush, oil, tweezers, pipe cleaners, soft cloth, owner’s manual, needle holder if applicable, small screwdriver and vacuum (optional).
  2. For deep cleaning, unthread the machine and remove the presser foot and needles. Some models may also allow the removal of the throat plate. Open both doors of the serger for access to the loopers (1).SN-1511-4619
  3. Using a soft brush, such as a paint brush, lint brush or make-up brush, clean the lower area of the serger. Remove all lint from the loopers and the feed dog area. A brush with stiff bristles is also useful in certain areas to push lint out of the machine. Pull long threads from the machine with tweezers if needed.
  4. Use a pipe cleaner for hard-to-reach areas. The stiffness of the cleaner paired with its flexibility allows it to snake into areas too small for hands. The texture of the pipe cleaner acts as a dust catcher to remove lint.
  5. Use a small vacuum or vacuum attachment to remove lint quickly. Canned compressed air isn’t usually recommended, as it blows lint into the machine rather than out of it. This can potentially build up inside the serger, causing difficulty for the moving parts.
  6. Once the looper area of the serger has been thoroughly cleaned, oil the needed areas using the type of oil recommended by the serger manufacturer. Generally, oil is applied where metal moves against metal. Only small amounts are needed, usually one or two drops at each point.
  7. Floss the tension dials using a length of embroidery floss or Perle cotton. This clears the area of lint and cleans out any bits of thread caught in the tension dials. Build-up here is especially troublesome because it can affect the accuracy of the tension setting and interfere with stitch formation.
  8. Replace the knife if needed. It’s easy to tell when the knife needs replacing because the fabric has a chewed look rather than a clean edge after passing under the knife. Some sergers have one knife and others have two, featuring an upper and a lower blade. The knife can be changed with a simple process; however, a trained serger technician should replace the knife because of the precise positioning it needs to operate correctly.
  9. When finished cleaning and oiling, replace the presser foot and the stitch plate, if it was removed. Always insert a new needle after each cleaning session. Lastly, wipe off the outside of the serger to remove any smudges or fingerprints.

Quick and easy tips to keep your serger in tip-top shape.

Do you have any tips for keeping your serger in fine shape? Let me know in the comments section below!

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