Canned Air - CAUTION!!!

keepeminstitchesFebruary 21, 2006

Please, please, please don't used canned air to clean your sewing machine or serger!! I just got back from my heirloom sewing class, and while there, the sewing machine repair person showed us what happens to a machine that has been cleaned in that way. It looked like someone had stuffed cotton balls into the bottom back of that machine after he took the outer case off the machine. He said the canned air just drives the fluff from the thread and fabric back into the machine. Don't blow into your machine, either, as the moisture from your breath can cause your machine's innards to rust.


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What a bunch of hula.... The old man is pulling your strings... I work at a sewing factory and blow compressed air on the machines every day... Some machines even have auto blowers to remove the fuzz... Sure you don't want wet air... But don't be afraid to blow off your machine...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 7:24PM
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I think i read somwhere that this was one of those urban legends.I've always used canned air on my machines,and never had a problem.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2006 at 7:59PM
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It might depend on the machine. I can't get into my Viking since it's sealed and I can see where the canned air might cause more problems than it's worth. Now my old Kenmore would have been fine I could take the cover off and get inside to oil and clean.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 8:05AM
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Personally I can't see paying good money for that kind of stuff to clean anything; after all, air is free. You can use an empty, dry squeeze bottle and accomplish the same thing...doesn't cost a penny to recycle for another use.

A lint brush used daily and when sewing usually gets rid of the lint for good instead of blowing lint around and having to dust your house and sewing area later.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 8:10AM
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I use a vacuum designed for computers to clean inside my machines. It only makes sense to me to remove the lint rather than blow it further inside, so I'm going to continue to err on the side of caution with my rather substantial sewing machine investments! I have emailed BerninaUSA to ask their opinion. Will post their answer when I get it.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 8:15AM
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Last month, my Bernina dealer, who is a former home ec teacher, recommended we use canned air during a sewing class I just completed. I find it hard to believe this woman would recommend something that would harm the machine. Incidentally, I've used canned air, and I like it because it's fast, easy and convenient.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2006 at 3:43PM
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I did some research on the above post. Bernina USA, their American headquarters, has an on-line article ( entitled "10 Ways to Love Your Machine", and this statement is contained in it..."Do not used "canned air" to clean your machine as this may push debris further into the machine." Ron Anderson, a repair specialist, says compressed air is not the same as "canned air". Further research told me that many of the canned air products have a water-based propellant, certainly not a good thing to put into a sewing machine. An article from HGTV by Nina Kay Milenius, sewing expert for Viking/Husqvarna says "Don't blow into your [computerized] sewing machine. For more thorough clenaing, use a mini-vacuum attachment on a regular vacuum cleaner to pull lint and debris out of the needle area." I called a local Viking dealer and asked the manager if they recommended "canned air" to clean sewing machines, and she emphatically said, "Absolutely NOT!" So for me, I'd rather err on the side of caution. I was, however, told that sergers are not as "fussy" because the computerized area in them is enclosed and therefore not affected by lint build-up.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 8:03PM
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I just read the postings concerning the use of canned air. We stopped selling canned air about 15 years ago because of the concerns expressed in the postings above. The real question is what equipment you are using the canned air on. Most industrial sewing machines are somewhat open in design vs domestic sewing machines that have a closed design. As an authorized Bernina dealer and service technician for all brands of sewing machines, I can state from experience that continued use of canned air on any closed design sewing machine is asking for trouble. We often take pictures of machines with impacted lint and debris to show our customers the results of using canned air. Also think of what is happening while you are sewing. The lint is grinding away in the gears and moving parts of the machine including the motor/s. It also collects moisture from the air in our part of the country which leads to corrosion and rust. Water-based propellant would only increase this problem. In our guide classes we stress the importance of regular maintenance of your machine. Every 4 - 8 hours of sewing, remove the bobbin case, needle plate and the hook of osculating systems and clean with a Q-Tip to pickup the lint and a wooden tooth pick to clean the race area (ring around the hook and hook driver) then add a drop of oil. You will be smiled upon by your service technician.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 11:16AM
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i have been using canned air in my sergers for over a decade and i intend to continue. i agree to never blow into a machine. now my sewing machine is different matter altogether. i open it up and use a lint brush and only hit pieces w canned air that i have removed from the machine.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 1:18PM
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Thank you, jhall. I feel vindicated! My service tech showed us the impacted lint in a machine as a result of the canned air, and I am a believer in avoiding it at all cost (as I said in an earlier post, the serger is not as critical b/c of its design). Give me the mini-vac and a brush any day, and I'll never live to regret it!


    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 2:36PM
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Thanks for the warning. No canned air from now on for my machine. Better safe than sorry.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 4:05AM
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jhall, seeing as how you work on berninas-- would you say it's okay to buy an older model like the 830 or 930? I keep reading that parts are hard to come by. my instructor uses a bernina and raves about it sooo i'm thinking i could too but the new ones are very expensive. i realize this is off topic but i figure i'd ask the expert.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 9:47PM
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I used canned air once......and will never use it again!

The last thing I do, after finishing my sewing for the day, is to brush out all the fuz, but one time a tiny needle tip broke off and got lost in there, w/o my knowledge. Then, when I used the canned air, the thing jammed up my machine. I now still use the brush, and I also use a tiny vac regularly as well, but never again will I use canned air!! :>)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 8:50PM
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