The Bottom Line: Cleaning Your Bobbin Tension Spring

Cleaning Bobbin Tension Spring with

Cleaning your embroidery machine is standard practice, but one tiny area can cause big problems.

Bonnie told us how she uses a makeup brush to clean out her bobbin area. She also showed us how to test machine tension, how to floss your machine, and how to troubleshoot tension problems.

Generally speaking, a problem on the underside of your fabric means that there’s something going on with the upper portion of your machine, and vice versa. Thread problems on the top side of your fabric may indicate an issue in the bottom section of your machine, namely the bobbin area.

If you go a long time without cleaning out your bobbin area, lint can actually wedge your tension tighter and tighter.

According to Bill Garvin, an industry leading embroidery machine technician and owner of BG Tech Services, you can blame about 85% of embroidery/sewing and tension issues to the bobbin case. The problem is typically incorrect tension on the bobbin case spring and/or a dirty bobbin case.

Our machines typically come with a small round brush to clean out the bobbin case. It is hard to completely clean the bobbin case tensioning spring because there is very little space with which to work. Even so, lint or thread can become stuck in there. A simple business card works quite well to clean the path.


This diagram came from Brother.
Consult your own manual as every bobbin case is different.

Cleaning Bobbin Tension Spring with

Slide the cover stock (or business card) between the tension plate base and the tension spring and also slide the card stock behind the notch of the spring to remove any dirt or dust. You can also use a larger thread to floss the bobbin spring area. Just wrap it in the same path that you would insert your bobbin thread and pull it through.

Generally, it is not recommended to adjust the bobbin tension screw on your own, unless you have an extra bobbin case. That way you can have one original and one to experiment. If you do decide to adjust your bobbin screw, see how it is done here.

Debbie Henry
Sew Inspired by Bonnie

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