Top 8 Sewing Machine Oils: Keep Your Machine Running Smoothly!
Last updated: Apr 15, 2020
62Hours of Research
Whether you’re using an industrial embroidery machine for your business or a simple in-home sewing machine in your craft room, using oil for regular maintenance is essential. There are so many mechanical parts inside every sewing machine. They’re constantly moving and rubbing against each other and oiling your machine is one of the most important things you can do to avoid friction and prevent too much wear and tear. With proper maintenance, you can make sure your machine continues to run properly.
To find the best sewing machine oil, we looked at a few different things. One main thing to keep in mind is volume. We included options that range from a small 1-ounce bottle to a large one-gallon jug so there are plenty of options for you to choose from. We considered the type of oil, too. Different types of oil have different properties and it’s important to know what you’re dealing with before choosing one for your sewing machine.
Top 8 Sewing Machine Oils Review 2020
To put together this review, we spent hours learning about the different types of oils, reading manufacturer information, and combing through reviews from people who use these oils in their own homes and businesses. First, you’ll find a table where you can compare all of our top picks side-by-side. Next, there are in-detail reviews of each of our picks for best sewing machine oil followed by an in-depth buying guide to help you figure out which oil is the right one for you.
Our top pick is Lily White Sewing Machine Oil. It’s a great choice for commercial and industrial sewing machines and can be used for embroidery machines and most textile machinery and parts, too.
Lily White oil is a highly refined, narrow cut, and non-detergent mineral oil. It has a low viscosity, which makes it a great choice for high-speed machines. You can safely use it on any parts that can come in contact with fabric because it won’t stain or leave any grease marks behind.
The one-gallon container is a really good buy and gives you a lot of product for the money, although you will need to provide a small container for easy application. Use a small bottle and refill when needed but be cautious as contact with this oil can cause health problems.
Most users raved about this oil but there was one complaint that came up a few times. The packaging has a tendency to leak and can be pretty severe.
Great for commercial and industrial sewing, embroidery, and textile machines
Low viscosity is perfect for high-speed machines
Won’t stain fabric
Large one-gallon container is a good buy
Packaging regularly leaks during shipping
Will need to provide your own small applicator bottle
Next is Diamond White Machine Oil. It comes in a large one-gallon bottle that’s a great bargain. This is a great choice for anyone who has multiple machines and it should still last for a really long time. All you need to do is provide a small applicator bottle and refill it as needed. Just be careful as inhaling or other bodily contacts with this oil can cause serious health problems.
This low-viscosity oil is ideal for all sewing and textile machines, from high-speed industrial equipment to smaller in-home models. It’s a highly refined and non-detergent mineral oil that’s both easy to apply and really effective. You can even safely use it on parts that come in direct contact with fabric because it doesn’t stain and washes completely away. Plus, it’s made in the USA.
Large one-gallon bottle is perfect for multiple machines
Low-viscosity works with high-speed industrial machines and small in-home models
Doesn’t stain fabric and washes away completely
Large bottle cannot be used for application
Will need to provide your own applicator bottle and refill as needed
Juki Defrix Sewing Machine Oil is made by the same company that manufactures high-quality industrial and in-home sewing machines and sergers. In fact, this is the same oil that’s included with their single needle machines. Juki is a trusted name in the industry and they consider this product to be the Rolls Royce of sewing machine oils.
This oil is designed for professional use and is ideal for industrial machines. It comes in a 600ml bottle which is about 20 ounces. It’s compatible with most Juki models and can be used with many other brands, too. It’s easy to apply and lubricates without any stickiness.
One downside is that this oil is a little pricey compared to some of the other products on our list. That said, it’s made by a trusted company that’s been in the business since the 1940s so it’s a safe bet they know quality.
Liquid Bearings Sewing Machine Oil is a synthetic option that keeps your machine moving quickly plus it helps protect against rust and corrosion. Plus, unlike petro-oils, it won’t attract dirt or become gummy. Your machine will run smoothly and without stalling as soon as you get it out of storage, even at ultra-low speeds.
This two-ounce bottle is the perfect size for your home machine. The application is super easy, too, because it includes ½-inch, 1 ½-inch , and 3-inch twist-on pharmaceutical-grade stainless needles so you can get the oil exactly where you need it. Plus, it doesn’t have an overpowering smell, either, so it’s not unpleasant to apply.
Because it’s synthetic, this oil is completely plastic-safe and won’t damage painted surfaces. It’s even covered by an anytime money-back guarantee.
Users don’t have many complaints about this oil but the small two-ounce bottle won’t last as long as some of the larger options we covered in our reviews.
Protects against rust and corrosion
Doesn’t attract dirt
Won’t become gummy
Works even at ultra-slow speeds
3 different sized applicator needles are included
Small 2-ounce bottle won’t last as long as larger sizes
Singer Sewing Machine Oil comes from one of the most well-known brands in the industry. Singer has been manufacturing sewing machines since the 1850s. Their years of experience are one of the reasons why this oil is such a great choice for your home sewing machine.
It’s specially formulated for sewing and knitting machines but can be used in a variety of other ways, too. Try it with your vacuum cleaner, typewriter, computer, bicycle gears, and other household appliances to make sure all of the mechanics are working properly.
This small 2.7-ounce bottle is equipped with a long nozzle for easy application. Just place the tip next to the part that needs lubricating and gently squeeze the bottle to distribute the oil appropriately. There’s also a small cap so that you can protect the opening from debris and prevent spillage until you need to use it again.
Comes from one of the most respected brands in the sewing industry
Multi-use oil can be used with sewing machines as well as other home appliances
Easy to apply squeeze bottle with applicator
Small 2.7-ounce bottle won’t last as long as some of the other options on our list
Next up is Liberty Oil, a 100% synthetic oil that can be used to replace and petroleum-based or spray lubricants. It’s great for sewing machines and can also be used effectively on hair clippers, scissors, appliances, and even small power tools. Plus, it’s safe to use on plastics and won’t damage any painted surfaces.
The application is really easy thanks to the medical-grade 1 ½” long stainless steel applicator and the soft easy-to-squeeze plastic bottle. You don’t have to squeeze too hard so you have a lot of control as to where the oil goes and how much comes out with each application. It allows for precise oiling without any mess.
One downside is this oil comes in a one-ounce bottle, which won’t last nearly as long as some of the other products we featured. It’s also a little bit pricey in comparison. That said, it has a better warranty than most of our other options. It’s covered by a 60-day no-questions-asked return policy so there’s nothing to worry about if you’re not satisfied.
Safe for plastics
Won’t damage painted surfaces
Easy-to-squeeze plastic bottle an stainless steel applicator for precise, mess-free use
60-day no-questions-asked return policy
Small 1-ounce bottle is not as good value as other options
Not only is HELMAR Colonial 29 Super Lube Machine Oil great for sewing machines, but it’s also a good choice for everything from firearms to locks to bicycles, too.
Although this small bottle contains only 4.23 ounces of multi-purpose oil, a little goes a long way and it should last you quite awhile. It features a pointed tip applicator that controls the flow but several users felt it wasn’t able to give them the same pin-point accuracy of some other applicators. It might be difficult to get into the small areas of your sewing machine. For best results, you’ll need to provide your own applicator. That said, it looks clean and it’s easy to wipe off any excess so any mess if pretty easy to clean.
This oil is premium grade white oil which is colorless, odorless, and non-toxic. White oil is actually a highly refined mineral oil that’s extremely pure. It’s actually used in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals so it’s a pretty safe bet it’s a safe choice for your sewing machine. Plus, you don’t have to worry as much if it comes in contact with your skin during application.
Last but not least is this Spout Sewing Machine Oil, which also happens to be our budget pick. This stainless, all-purpose clear lubricating oil is ideal for regular sewing machine maintenance. It’s non-gumming to keep your machine running smoothly and helps prevent rust and oxidation.
The best thing about this product is the telescoping spout that lets you get the applicator into really tight, hard-to-reach places. Believe it or not, the spout gives you about eight-inches of length, which makes it really easy to get oil just about anywhere without any leaks. Plus, the flow is easy to control so you can also be sure you’re using just the right amount of oil with each application. If you don’t need the added length, you can still use this bottle as you normally would.
Users don’t have a lot of complaints about the quality of the oil but a lot of them commented that this product leaked during shipping. A few also mentioned that there was some leaking around the spout but that wasn’t a common complaint.
Stainless, all-purpose clear oil
Prevents rust and oxidation
Telescoping spout for controlled application
Leaks occasionally during shipping
When it comes to keeping your sewing machine running properly, one of the most important things you can do is use the right kind of oil regularly. If you’re not sure how to determine which is best, here are some of the main things to look for when deciding.
Reasons to get top-quality sewing machine oil
There are a lot of reasons why investing in a top-quality sewing machine oil is worth it. First, it reduces friction and wear plus it protects metal parts against rust and corrosion. This not only helps make sure everything runs smoothly, but it also helps extend the life of the machine. The right sewing machine oil will also make your machine easier to use because it reduces the risk of thread breakage and eliminates any humming or stalling.
How does sewing machine oil work?
Sewing machine oils work just like oil in your car engine or any other kind of machinery. Because there are so many moving parts, it’s really important to have the right amount of lubrication. This prevents friction which not only keeps everything moving smoothly but also makes sure that there isn’t too much wear and tear. By making sure everything is working properly, the best oil for sewing machine extends the life of the machine so you get a lot more use out of it.
Features to consider when shopping for sewing machine oil
What specific things should you look for when deciding which oil is right for you? Let’s take a look at some of the main things to keep in mind while you shop.
Type of oil
Sewing machine oils are either petroleum based or synthetic.
Petroleum-based oils, like Lily White Sewing Machine Oil, are designed to enhance the performance of your sewing machines and can also be used in several other household machines and appliances. These oils help extend the life of your machine by protecting against corrosion and abrasion and are compatible with both vintage and modern machines.
You’ll find a lot of mineral oils on our list. To clarify, these are petroleum-based oils that have been highly refined though they are a little different in that they’re best for sliding parts and offer a lot of protection for the inside of the machine.
Another option is synthetic oil, like Liquid Bearings Sewing Machine Oil. These oils tend to be more expensive than mineral oils or petroleum-based options, but with good reason. They’re ideal for heavily used machines, and don’t degrade over time so they deliver consistent performance for years.
When it comes to volume, there are large gallon sized jugs available as well as small bottles that range between 1 and 20 ounces. The large bottles, like Diamond White Machine Oil, are usually mineral oil and can last a really long time. If you have a lot of machines or if you use heavy-duty machines professionally, buying a large volume of oil is definitely an economic choice.
Synthetic oils like Liberty Oil usually come in smaller sizes since they’re a little more expensive.
That said, application is much easier with smaller bottles so there’s much less waste.
Most come with stainless steel needles or telescoping applicators so you can control right where the oil goes and how much is dispensed.
Viscosity sounds a little complicated but all it really means is how thick the oil is. For example, water has a low viscosity because it’s thin and spreads quickly when you spill it. On the other hand, maple syrup has a high viscosity. It’s very thick and moves really slowly.
Make sure you know the viscosity that your machine’s manufacturer recommends but typically all sewing machine oils are low viscosity. That means they look and feel more like water than maple syrup.
Is it stainless, colorless and odorless?
It’s a good idea to choose an oil that’s stainless, colorless, and odorless. Keep in mind that a lot of the components the need oil may also come into contact with thread or fabric so choosing an oil that won’t stain or smell makes sense.
What can you use it for?
While all of these products are meant to be used with sewing machines, some of them can be used for other purposes as well. Before you try using any of these oils for something other than oiling your sewing machine, make sure that the oil manufacturer clearly says that it can be used for other purposes.
How to use sewing machine oil
Every machine is different so make sure you read the owner’s manual carefully. It should tell you where to oil as well as how much and how often.
One general rule of thumb is to add some oil after each project or after eight hours of use but you really should oil it whenever you notice that it’s not running as smoothly as normal or if it’s making a lot more noise than usual.
Applying oil is a pretty straightforward process. One big thing to remember is that a little goes a long way. Over-oiling can actually cause a lot of problems with buildup so, when in doubt, use a little less than you think you should.
Sewing machine oil generally doesn’t have a expiration date but it’s safe to assume that it’s good for up to five years. To get it to last that long, though, requires proper storage. Some brand may claim that they never expire but there are some things to look out for so you can tell when they’re gone bad. If there is any change in color or consistency or if the oil is cloudy, has sediment, or smells foul, it’s time to get fresh oil.
Some oils may stain fabric which is why it’s so important to choose a brand that’s colorless, odorless, and stainless. These oils can safely come in contact with fabric without causing any damage.
Our top pick is Lily White Sewing Machine Oil. It’s a low-viscosity oil that’s great for all kinds of machines, from professional to those you use in your home. Plus, the larger one-gallon size is a great buy for the money and will last a really long time.
We also recommend Diamond White Machine Oil. This is another low-viscosity oil that comes in a large one-gallon container and is a good choice for people who own multiple machines. It works well with high-speed industrial machines as well as smaller in-home equipment. Plus, you can use it on parts that come in direct contact with fabric because it doesn’t stain.
Finally, there’s Juki Defrix Sewing Machine Oil. This professional-grade oil is great for most Juki machines but can be used with other brands of industrial machines, too. It’s easy to apply and lubricates without adding any stickiness.