Sewing machines contain many mechanical parts and pieces. If not kept in good shape, these parts can rust and malfunction, resulting in your machine prematurely needing repairs. It’s important to oil your sewing machine often to ensure that its parts continue to function.
Sewing machine oil is a grease that protects a sewing machine’s parts from rust and reduces friction to help the moving parts function smoothly. It’s important to oil your machine before and after your projects so you can keep your sewing machine running at its peak performance.
Usually, your sewing machine’s instruction manual will recommend the best oils for your specific machine, but if not, here are several popular choices for sewing machine oil. See which ones might be best for you.
Top 9 Best Sewing Machine Oil Options
1. Lily White Oil Sewing Machine Oil
The Lily White sewing machine oil is reasonably priced for the gallon of oil you get and will last you a long time. If you have multiple machines that need to be oiled, buying oil in bulk like this is a good choice to save a few bucks.
The oil itself has low viscosity to prevent friction and its water-like texture makes it easily applicable for industrial sewing machines that need constant attention. The oil is also stainless, so if it spills on the fabric you’re using it can be washed off without ruining your project.
Unfortunately, the large jug the oil comes in makes it extremely awkward to carefully apply the oil to the hard-to-reach places on a machine. Pouring the oil into a smaller bottle and refilling as needed is the best option for this otherwise great product.
Sample Customer Review…This is high-quality, clear sewing machine oil. When I saw the price for a quart versus a gallon, it was a no-brainer! This works wonderfully well for my Sailrite Fabricator. I waited for decades for an upholstery machine as terrific as the Fabricator. I wouldn’t trust my machine to low-grade oil. This stuff was just what I needed. The prices and delivery were great.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
2. Zoom-SPOUT Sewing Machine Oil
For anyone that is on a budget, this is an excellent and inexpensive product to use. Unlike the above oil, Zoom includes a spout that can extend an extra seven inches. This makes it easy to get to those hard-to-reach spots on your sewing machine and other appliances. The oil is colorless and won’t stain the fabric you’re working with. This all-purpose oil can be used on multiple appliances, not just sewing machines.
Some people have complained that the sprout opening is too large and the plug cap does not reliably prevent spills.
Sample Customer Review…Whoever designed this bottle is a genius! The little straw pops out and pops back in. It was super easy to reach the inner parts of my sewing machine. I’m a pandemic sewing newbie and didn’t realize that you need to grease your sewing machine until it started making grinding noises! This stuff fixed it immediately so that I can resume trying to make clothes for my kid’s stuffed cats. The price was great too! And the convenience of being able to order this without having to go into a store during a pandemic.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
3. Diamond White Machine Oil
Diamond White Machine Oil comes in a one-gallon bottle. This is a good choice for anyone who has several machines at home and needs to use oil over an extended period of time. The non-detergent mineral oil makes it easy to apply and the oil is also stainless. It also has low viscosity, which is ideal for most sewing machines. For high-speed to smaller sewing machine models, Diamond White is a good choice.
Similar to the Lily Oil mentioned earlier, the main disadvantage of Diamond White is the massive bottle size that can make it difficult to use if you aren’t first pouring it into a smaller bottle and using that to apply the product to your machine.
Sample Customer Review…Love everything about this product. Yes, it does really wash out of fabric completely.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
Sample Customer Review…Great oil. Cheaper than buying it 4oz. at a time.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
4. Liquid Bearings Machine Oil
Liquid Bearings Sewing Machine oil is not petro-based, so it won’t gather dirt or become sticky on your machine. Even at low speeds, your machine won’t stall and will run smoothly. The bottle comes with three stainless needles that are ½ inch, 1 ½ inches, and 3-inches to make application easy no matter the shape of your machine model.
Another advantage of Liquid bearings is that it doesn’t have a strong odor that lingers after use. Being synthetic means the oil is 100% safe to apply to plastic and won’t damage areas that have been painted on your machine. However, the small bottle size requires refills more often than others on the list.
Sample Customer Review…This is the perfect oil for my vintage Husqvarna Viking 6000-series sewing machines and my Huskylock 905 and 936 sergers. The three-inch needle tip reaches back into hard-to-get-to places, and it is imperative to keep these vintage machines oiled so that they stay in top working condition.Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
5. Juki Genuine Defrix Sewing Machine Oil
The Juki Genuine Defrix sewing machine oil is recommended for Juki sewing machines but also works on other appliances. Despite the poor bottle design and high price tag, the oil works great on sewing machines and helps keep them functioning properly. Its clear color means that accidentally getting some on your fabric will not make it easily visible.
Sample Customer Review…Essential for the life of your industrial sewing machines.Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
Sample Customer Review…Does the trick! Sufficient quantity for reservoir and a bit leftover.Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
6. SINGER 2131E All Purpose Machine Oil
The Singer 2131E all-purpose machine oil can be used for household appliances besides your sewing machine, making it practical if you have multiple items that need oiled. Like the other oils on this list, Singer oil helps protect your sewing machine from rust and prevents possible abrasion while extending the life of your machine. The nozzle is slightly shorter than other nozzles on this list, so it could be challenging to oil certain spots on your sewing machine.
Sample Customer Review…I was a little nervous to “dismantle” my sewing machine for needed maintenance. I ordered this Singer machine oil and dove in. Just like the instructions state, one drop is all you need. The annoying rattle in my machine is gone and it actually sounds like it did years ago! Running perfectly and smoothly. Genuine product – and it works!Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
7. Liberty Oil
Liberty Oil is safe on most surfaces, including plastic. Similar to other oils, it prevents the abrasion that occurs while sewing. Its 1 ½ inch stainless steel tip can oil a sewing machine with a low-spill risk. The 1-ounce bottle is slightly more expensive than other oils on this list, but will still get the job done. Its medical-grade syringe also has a cap that prevents any drainage.
The bottle is made of plastic to make application easy. However, the bottle is rather small.
Sample Customer Review…This is the best lubricant for your sewing machine! I’ve sewn for over 50 years and have used LOTS of sewing machine oil in that time. When I had to have my grandfather clock (that my grandfather built) repaired, the clock man used this same oil on all the moving metal parts. He said his wife uses it on her sewing machines as well so I was sold.
I have a Janome 4800 Memory Craft I use at home and a Singer 301A that I take to retreats and quilting classes. Both have never sounded better since I used Liberty Oil where metal meets metal. Also, the needle applicator makes it so easy to get into those little tight spots and control just how much lubricant is applied.
My machines are now literally “whisper quiet”. I also love that this lubricant seems to “stay where put” better than some sewing machine oils I’ve used in the past. After oiling my machines, I ran a piece of scrap fabric through to catch any stray drips and I didn’t find any residue. Love, love, love this product!Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
8. Dritz Sewing Machine Oil
Dritz is an affordable option that ranks amongst the best sewing machine oils. The oil is designed to clean rust and any oxidation that may occur to prevent rust from forming. It can also be used with household items and most sewing machines. It comes in a 4-ounce bottle that has a flexible telescoping spout. The spout can extend from two inches to nine inches and allows you to reach difficult areas on your machine.
The main con with Dritz oil is that the longer you extend the tube, the harder it can be to get to those hard-to-reach places on a sewing machine. The small bottle size also means the product will not last as long as others on this list.
Sample Customer Review…I’ve used this oil on all of my machines: a brother embroidery, singer quilting and brother serger. Using these machines for hours a day wears down the lube/oil on the sewing arms rather quickly. This oil has held up fabulously. I only have to use a single drop then spread it with my finger and the machines sew like new.
The long nozzle is wonderful when having to get into a tighter spot to drop a bit of oil, precision control is the name of the game. I hate having oil on things it shouldn’t be on.
I’d highly recommend this machine oil!Read more reviews at Amazon.com.
9. Stainless Sewing Machine Oil
Unikitchen’s Stainless Sewing Oil comes in an 8-ounce bottle that will last a long time. It is also colorless and odorless so sewing projects will not have stains or smell like oil if they come into contact with the product. The ingredients used in the oil are non-toxic and can be used on other appliances besides sewing machines. Unfortunately, there is no applicator to control oil flow.
Sample Customer Review…Top-quality sewing machine oil. When my machine started acting squirrelly, this got me back in production quickly. Eight ounces is more than a lifetime supply for one machine. It would take several generations to use this up. On the other hand, there’s enough for my husband to find other uses and still have some left for the next time I need it.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing Sewing Machine Oil
Oil is crucial to a sewing machine running smoothly. It reduces friction between the machine’s moving parts while also protecting against rust and corrosion. Using high-quality oil can thus extend a machine’s life.
Using the wrong oil can ruin your sewing project or the sewing machine itself, so check the user manual to see if it lists the ideal oil to use on a machine.
Check the user’s manual to see what is the ideal viscosity of oil for the machine. Most machines use oil with a lower viscosity that makes its consistency similar to water versus oil with higher viscosity that is more like maple syrup.
Oils can be petroleum-based or synthetic. Petroleum-based oils enhance the performance of sewing machines and other household appliances. The oils protect the sewing machine from corrosion and abrasion. They are compatible with modern and vintage models and are usually affordable.
When petroleum-based oils go through additional processes or refinement they are known as “mineral oils” and are best suited for sliding machine parts while offering protection inside of a sewing machine.
Synthetic oil is generally more expensive than petroleum-based alternatives, though they hold up when used on heavily used machines and don’t degrade with time to allow for long-term, consistent performance.
Oil containers can range from gallon-sized jugs to smaller ounce bottles. Larger containers are better economically if multiple machines are being used, though application is easier with smaller bottles.
Make sure the bottle purchased has a thin nozzle or other reliable applicators to safely reach the hard-to-reach places in a machine. Know if it can fit into the machine and how easily you can control the amount of oil that drops to avoid a mess.
Sewing Machine oil is likely to come into contact with fabric and other materials used during projects–especially if the machine is over oiled. Being able to wash the residue off and have no ugly stains is important if you don’t want to ruin your project.
Oil Application Frequency
While it is ideal to oil your machine after each project or eight hours of use, the general rule of thumb is to oil whenever the machine is louder than normal or appears to not be running smoothly.
Any sewist who wants to keep their machine running smoothly needs to use oil regularly to maintain the machine’s performance. High-quality sewing machine oil is crucial for any beginner and advanced sewist who wants to protect their sewing machines, and these nine products will provide quality protection. The variety of oils, sizes, and other features will help you in your future sewing endeavors, so find the best one for you and get to sewing!
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Written By Benjamin Kennaley and Charlene Pepiot