Cleaning the Singer

This post has been moved to waaaaaay later than then when the actual cleaning occurred. Too many more important posts and projects were happening.

A lot of these photos have a pink/red hue to them. That’s because I was using my Great Grandmother Hannah Bakke’s pink lamp to give me a bit more light for the photos and avoid getting the harsh white/blue light that reflects off the parts of the machine.

But basically, I took this leaflet I found inside the Singer sewing machine about restoring your old machine (from WWII) and began following the directions for how to clean out and oil your machine for use during the war effort.

Obviously, I’m not getting anything ready for a war effort, but I thought reading the leaflet was a kind of nice juxtaposition to what has been going on with Covid-19. Meaning, sometimes you step up and do shit to help other people (or your country), even if it means your personal liberty is impacted.

The threading mechanism and the bobbin mechanism was the worst. When I figured out how to remove all the little plates, I had to figure out how to remove the dust and grime.

The leaflet mentioned using a nail, pin, or stiletto. Yes, a stiletto. Does the manual mean to use the pointy heel of a shoe? Or did the word stiletto have a different meaning in 1940s Iowa? I have no clue, but I went with more modern methods.

I used cotton swabs. And in places that were very small, I took a piece of cotton off the swab and held it with a tweezers to get a more sturdy handle for cleaning.

The manual said I could use water or water with just a dab of soap, as long as I dried off everything I cleaned.

For the metal pieces that had collected grease (like bolts, etc), I soaked them in a Dawn/water solution. The truth is, Dawn dish soap cuts through grease more than anything I’ve ever used in my life. It required some intense scrubbing, and my hands started to ache enough that I had to take a few days to finish the process, but I’m happy with my trusty old blue Dawn dish soap.

After, I cleared out the grime on most of the machine (and took bolts and screws out and replaced them again), I let the machine sit upright on the desk for….oh….maybe a month.

Okay, okay, that might seem a little excessive. But I ended up going right back into teaching lessons and trying to hand sew my own face masks as quickly as possible as the CDC had come out with new guidelines about masks in public when all of this was going down. So my attention was turned elsewhere.

But do you know what I still needed to do? Oil the damn thing.

I guess I’ll get to that eventually?

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