* Remove the arm from the carriage. Turn upside down and using a natural
bristle paint brush and clean rag, remove the dust, fluff and old oil.
* Rotate the cam levers or part buttons and tension dial. Using a lint-free rag
saturated with Lori-Lin Lube Machine Cleaning oil or the oil which came with
your machine, rub it over all the moving parts. Follow the needle butt channels
and carefully clean all the nooks and crannies.
* If these parts are very dry, then oil directly from the container. The
Brother, Studio and Singer oil containers have a brush at the tip to prevent
the oil coming out in big blobs. Passap knitters are advised to use Bellodor
oil which may be used on all machines. Bellodor oil is vegetable-based and is
less likely to gum up the machines than the mineral-based oils.
Checking the Carriage Arm:
* Check to see if all the brushes are spinning freely. Remove the brushes and
clean out the lint from around the posts that the wheels sit on. Be careful
removing the wheels as they are soft metals and can be stripped easily. Use the
proper Phillips screwdriver.
* Check the brushes and plastic discs for wear; it may be necessary to replace
Cleaning the Needlebed:
* Clean the bed with the bristle brush and a dry lint-free cloth. Wipe out all
the old black oil from the rear rail and the channel behind it. The Lori-Lin
Lube does a good job of cleaning the needlebed and easily removes the oil and
* You may at this point prefer to use your vacuum cleaner. Never use the vacuum
to blow into the machine, only use it to vacuum out the fluff. The mini vacuum
attachments are ideal for this procedure.
Check the Needles:
* Bring the needles out to E (D) position and pass the carriage over the bed a
few times. Is there anything odd about the needles? Are they twisted,
misaligned, bent, hitting the underside of the carriage? Do the latches stay
closed and do not open?
* If any of these problems exist, then the needles should be replaced. (Make a
note of the needle numbers which need to be changed.)
* If changing a needle without fully removing the needle retaining bar, make
sure the latches are closed. ALWAYS remove the garter carriage from the machine
when removing the needle retaining bar.
* To change a needle, remove the needle retaining bar. Using a pair of pliers,
cut the head off the needle below the latch, then remove the needle butt. If
you try to remove the needle without cutting the head off, it. is likely that
damage will be done to the spring inside the machine. This is not easy to
* Remove the needle retaining/sponge bar to check the condition of the bar. To
do this, push the bar using a flat-bladed screwdriver or Cardiknits' new Sponge
Bar Pusher and pull out the complete bar. The condition of the bar is generally
related to the use of the machine. In some machines it is related to the age of
the bar. Check to see if it is frayed, perished or has lost its springiness, or
if the sponge is flattened. If it is just frayed, cut the frayed edges but be
careful not to cut the foam.
* The flattening of the bar can lead to damage of the main bed needles when the
ribber is in use because the hooks catch in the connecting arm as the carriages
are pushed to and fro. A flat retaining bar can also prevent the proper
formation of stitches with the main or garter carriages. A replacement bar may
* Be sure to insert the sponge bar/needle retaining bar into the machine with
the sponge facing down and hold the needles down onto the needlebed as you go
so the bar is on top.
Cleaning with the Long-handled Brush
* Before replacing the sponge bar, take a long-handled brush, sometimes called
a cat tail brush, to clean out the front of the needle bed. Insert the brush
(nylon bristle brushes do not lift the lint out) into the slot left by removing
the retaining bar. As you push it through twist the brush towards the front of
the bed; pushing it the other way could cause it to jam on the needle spring.
Once clean, replace the sponge bar.
Outside Cover and Plastic Parts
* The outside of the carriage can be cleaned really well with Simple Green.
Never use WD40 (it will locked up the machine) or any other chemical or
household abrasive products on your machine .
Quick Check-off List for Cleaning Machines
Daily or weekly if the machine is not used every day:
1. Brush fluff from the carriage.
2. Brush needles towards you.
3. Wipe bed and carriage with a dry cloth.
4. Oil the rails and the ridge at the back of carriage. Use Bellodor oil or
Lori-Lin Lube; just a drop on the finger tip will do.
Monthly or every couple of sweaters:
1 to 4 above and oil the metal parts of the carriage.
5. Snip frays on the needle retaining bar.
6. Use the cat tail brush to clean under the needles while the retaining bar is
out. Be very careful to not jam the brush in the electronics. Twirl brush
toward the front of the machine, and slowly push it through until it reaches
the other end. Then withdraw it and remove the lint. Re-insert if necessary to
completely clean the channel.
7. Vacuum if desired, but never blow the fluff into the machine.
1 to 7 above.
8. Remove the needles in groups of 50 (mark as group A, B, C or D). Place each
50 in a separate bottle, and cover the needles with Denatured alcohol mixed
with two teaspoons of Bellodor oil. Swirl around and let sit while you do the
rest of 1 to 7 above.
9. Withdraw the needles and allow to dry on a terry cloth towel or cloth baby
diaper. Now, ten at a time, line them up on a table in front of you, arid
remove all needles that are not perfectly aligned, whose latches don't close
properly, or are otherwise damaged. Replace them.
10. Reinsert the needles, putting the B section into A, the A section into B,
the C into D, and the D into C (the outside needles now move to the inside and
the inside needles now move to the outside). Replace the sponge bar with the
spare retaining bar.
11. Wipe down the plastic carefully.
12. Clean and oil all of your accessories following the guidelines given for
the main carriages.
13. Take the time to clean around your knitting machine: the areas behind and
under the machines have a tendency to "collect" stuff.
This really isn't a scary procedure, it just takes time. But it is worth it.
Your machines will be easier to use and your knitting will go much faster. Make
a habit of setting a date to deep clean your machines each year, such as
Two books on cleaning knitting machines that are highly recommend are "Make
Your Knitting Machine Sing" by Scott Renno and "Passap
Paramedic" by Michael Becker. These should be on every knitter's shelf
along side Lori-Lin Lube, Bellodor Oil, a long-handled brush, spare sponge bar
and extra needles.