Clean and oil a Singer 15k machine
This web page shows you how to take apart a Singer 15 sewing machine, remove all the accumulated fluff and gunge and put it back together. It includes a link to download a large print oiling diagram

Do this if:
 Your machine is new to you
 It has not been used in a while
 The machine has seen a lot of action recently
 The stitches are short and the length control doesn't make them any longer

The aim of this process is to remove all the fibres that have sloughed off the fabric into the machine as it sews. The first time you do this, you will find wads of felt in the nooks and crannies of your machine. These are not structural parts and should be removed. Once all this gunge is removed, the machine should be reoiled and will run "lightly" as the manual specifies.
Picture of tools and oils Kit you will need
  • Releasing oils such as Rocket WD40 or GT85
  • Flat head screwdrivers in various sizes
  • Spanners that fit well. I've marked the ones that work best for me with ribbons so I know they are special
  • Snipe nose pliers
  • A small nylon brush and cotton buds
  • Kitchen roll
  • Singer oil
  • A magnetic strip to hold bolts etc. This one came off an L plate
BEFORE DISMANTLING ANY PART OF THE MACHINE PLEASE READ THE DIRE WARNINGS IN THE "WARNINGS" SECTION OF THIS SITE. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THEM, CLICK HERE.
Start by removing the foot and the needle and opening the slider that covers the bobbin holder. Remove the bobbin holder. Undo the screws that hold the feed dog plate in place and brush the fibres out of the feed dog. "Flossing" between the teeth is good, too. Undoing the feed dog plate
Gunge in my feed dog If this has never been done before to your knowledge, you my find the fibres have impacted and formed an MDF type material around the feed dog, restricting its movement. Gently scrape it all off.
You might be able to take your feed dog off and remove gunge from around it but I've never managed to undo the screws on my machine and the next step seems to shift most of the muck...
Tip the machine head back on its hinges. I have to take the drive belt off the treadle flywheel to allow this. Machine tipped back on its hinges
Remove the bobbin holder Undo the 2 screws that hold the horse shoe shaped bobbin holder in place and wiggle it out.
Use kitchen roll, a small brush and cotton buds to remove all fibres from these pieces. Inspect the underside of your machine thoroughly and remove any wads of fluff or felt that have built up. Ease the horseshoe out
Yoke top spring The top spring comes off the bobbin holder, and removing it allows the bobbin race AKA hook to slide out for better cleaning.
You can also undo the "U" shaped spring at the back and chase all the fluff out from underneath it. Yoke position
Take apart the bobbin race Use tissue to clean the bobbin holder Clean out the gunge from behind the bobbin race
Wiggle the bobbin race back into place When all the fluff has gone, and the metal parts are as shiny as they can be, put the hook back into its track and bolt the springs back on. Put a tiny drop of oil in the hook track and spin the bobbin race to spread it around. I have to be really mean with th oil here because free motion embroidery stitches won't catch if the hook spins too freely. If I make a garment, this dries the oil enough for free motion stitching to work again.
Return the bobbin race to the machine by wiggling the hook into position opposite the drive shaft. Move the hook and the flywheel gently until the hook and its holder sit flat and comfortable into their place. Replace the bolts, drop the machine head back into place and refit the feed dog plate.
Open up the machine head covers and wipe off any obvious gunge and fluff. Open the front plate

Open the rear oiling port Finally apply a drop of oil to every place indicated in the manufacturer's oiling diagram which you can download here. This is a big file so the diagram is clear but if you have a slow connection, save these images. I have a printed, laminated version. Sewing machine models were subject to small regular changes and may not be exactly like these pictures. Squeeze oil into evey oiling hole you can find and turn the part to spread it about. Any moving metal-on-metal surface should be slick. Use a tissue to mop any excess oil off the needle and presser foot and your machine is ready to go. It is probably best not to sew an expensive, dry clean only fabric immediately after sousing your machine in Singer oil.

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