Home > Beginners > How Do You Unfreeze a Sewing Machine?

How Do You Unfreeze a Sewing Machine?

If you’ve been using a sewing machine for a long time, you’ll know the potential issues that might come up. Since all of it is built with different mechanisms, it is likely to malfunction sometimes. The gears of your sewing machine might occasionally freeze and prevent you from working.

It eventually freezes as dust and dirt accumulate on the machine’s inner components. Sometimes, the bobbin and hook assembly might also freeze. Thus, you can no longer operate and use it until you unfreeze it.

You first need to figure out the root cause to fix the persisting issue. This article will provide you with some tips to unfreeze your sewing machine and sew without any significant disturbances. Let’s check them out.

How to Unfreeze a Sewing Machine?

To unfreeze a sewing machine, you should first find out where the problem is. You can start with the bobbin by removing and checking it.

If the bobbin is clear, it must be dust or dirt in any other parts of the machine that is causing the machine to freeze. You should remove the machine top and side covers and thoroughly check it. You should also consider lubricating the machine thoroughly so that all parts move smoothly.

lubricating the machine

Let us have a detailed look at the various steps to follow to unfreeze a sewing machine.

A sewing machine requires proper maintenance to work correctly. When a sewing machine is not used for a long time, the oil and grease in the machine gets mixed with dust and dirt and becomes dry and gummy.

This eventually leads to the freezing of the machine. To avoid freezing, you should service your machine and use it frequently.

service your machine

When you try to turn the wheel of the machine, and if it does not turn, then you can infer that the machine has frozen. Do not force the wheel to turn. Instead, you should then try to find out where exactly the problem is and try to fix it.

For unfreezing a sewing machine, you can follow the below steps:

Step 1. Remove the bobbin

The bobbin is the cylindrical part of the machine that holds the thread. You should first remove the bobbin by pulling it out and then clean it with a brush.

Now remove the needle plate cover and pull out the bobbin case. The bobbin case is a small part of the machine that supports the bobbin in sewing. The bobbin case should be adequately cleanedwith a brush or a vacuum cleaner.

remove the needle plate cover and pull out the bobbin case.

Sometimes, if the bobbin case is out of place, then also the handwheel may not turn properly. Thus, you should ensure that the bobbin case is fixed back properly after cleaning.

Similarly, if a needle has broken or fallen in the shuttle area, then also you may find it difficult to turn the handwheel. If such a thing has happened, then you should remove the broken needle.

Once the bobbin case is cleaned and put back in place, try turning the wheel. If the wheel is moving freely, then it is the debris in the bobbin case that caused the machine to freeze.

If it is not moving, then you need to do further investigation to find the cause. For this, check out step 2.

Step 2. Remove the cover from the machine

If the machine is still stuck after removing the bobbin, then you need to remove the cover and do further investigation. You should remove the top, bottom, and side covers of the machine.

The sewing machine covers are easy to remove as they are all screwed to the machine. All you have to do is find out the screws and then unscrew them using a screwdriver.

sewing machine covers are easy to remove

Some machines come with a top handle, which makes it easy to remove the top cover. If you have any doubt, you can refer to the instruction manual for removing the covers.

Once all the covers are removed, you should blow the machine with an air compressor. This will blow out the thread or dust stuck inside the machine.

If you find any thread entangled in any of the parts, you can remove it by hand. You should thoroughly inspect all parts to make sure that it is dust-free.

Now, check the instruction manual and oil the areas that require lubrication. While lubricating, special attention should be provided to areas where two metals are joined. Remember to clean the area thoroughly off all dirt before lubricating.

Check the wheel once again and see whether it is turning smoothly. If it is turning smoothly, then your problem is solved. If not, move to step 3.

Step 3. Check the other parts

If the machine is still frozen, it is now time to check the pulley assemblies, tensioner, and drive mechanisms. These are machine parts that are used to maintain the right tension in the sewing machine so that it functions properly. Clean it thoroughly and see whether you can turn the wheel smoothly.

maintain the right tension in the sewing machine

If the lubricant residue in these parts is too stubborn, then you might have to use some solvent and even heat to clean the parts. Sometimes you need to soak the parts in solvent for a few hours before you can clean it thoroughly.

If none of the above is working, then you need to seek the help of a technician or replace the sewing machine. Depending on the brand of the sewing machine, you can contact the nearest customer service center for help.

Unfreezing a sewing machine can take just a few hours up to a day, depending on the type of problem. Make sure that you have enough time in hand before you start work.

3 Easy Fixes for Unfreezing Your Sewing Machine

Other than the above mentioned steps of fixing your sewing machine, you can try these three easy solutions. We’re sure you will be able to fix your jammed sewing machine without any significant complications.

Clean Your Sewing Machine

Your sewing machine freezes because of the lint and debris buildup over time. So it is essential for you to inspect your sewing machine at regular intervals. You need to brush certain areas of your sewing machine gently, without removing or dislocating any part meanwhile.

If you find that the debris within your machine has crystallized, you can use an air compressor for cleaning. Once you are done, you can try lubricating and running the sewing machine, and check whether it is functioning properly.

Check the Bobbin

Even after cleaning certain parts of your sewing machine, your machine might still not work. You need to check the bobbin area thoroughly for any persisting issue. Plug out the hook assembly and carrier and clean them up.

After that, you need to put back all the removed pieces in their respective places.

Check for the Metal Parts

After cleaning your sewing machine and checking the bobbin, your sewing machine might still remain frozen. For this, you will have to check other binding areas and metal parts.

Sometimes the pulleys, drive mechanisms, and tensioners get jammed. Since these metal parts rub against each other, they are prone to collecting lint and dirt. Before you can oil these parts, you need to clean the old grease thoroughly. To remove the parts conveniently, you should refer to your sewing machine’s manual.

How to Fix a Jammed Sewing Machine?

Your sewing machine might get stuck and jammed sometimes and fixing it is extremely easy. You don’t have to check and clean numerous areas before restoring it. Instead, you can unjam and fix your sewing machine by:

  • Cutting off the extra threads that remain stuck within your sewing machine.
  • Reassembling your sewing machine if threads are still tangled around the bobbin.

Why Does a Sewing Machine Lock Up and Freeze?

Keeping your sewing machine seamlessly functional requires proper maintenance at regular intervals. Sometimes significant environmental conditions might lock the sewing machine up, thereby failing to function correctly.

The lubricants within the machine might get mixed with dust and dirt and affect its viscosity. Eventually, it dries up and crystallizes, thereby causing the machine to lock up completely. So examine your device thoroughly, find the root cause of the issue, and unfreeze it.

not used for a long time,

When the machine is not used for a long time, the lubricants that are already present in the machine gets mixed up with lint, dust, and dirt.This affects its viscosity.

Slowly the lubricant starts drying and becomes sticky. Eventually, it crystallizes and gets stuck inside the sewing machine. When this happens, the machine is completely locked up, and you are not able to move the handwheel.

Sometimes, the handwheels might be jammed and not locked up. This is mainly caused by the tangling of the thread. In such a case, removing the bobbin and untangling the thread will solve the problem.




Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SewingMachineBuffs.com is participating in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
The Amazon Services LLC Associates Program is the leading selling program on the Internet, with hundreds of thousands of members.