What Can You Use as a Substitute for Sewing Machine Oil? Update 05/2022

Some people are quite particular about how they operate their sewing machines and only use sewing machine oil. Others will argue that alternatives are acceptable. Alternatives may work for some people, but they may just be lucky.

What are some alternatives to sewing machine oil? Some people have discovered that synthetic oil lubricates their sewing machines well.

You can either follow your sewing machine manufacturer’s instructions or go it alone and use a different sort of sewing machine oil.

Continue reading this post to find out if there are any sewing machine oil alternatives. It looks into the subject, even though we are not in favor of using alternatives to good sewing machine oil.

What Type of Oil is Used for Sewing Machines?


When you acquire your first or new sewing machine, make a book to keep track of your maintenance times. Lubricating your sewing machine on a regular basis is critical for its longevity and optimal performance.

You may avoid costly repairs and save a lot of money by keeping your sewing machine properly greased, just like a car. The type of oil you use is critical, and practically every sewing machine manufacturer recommends sewing machine oil.

This is a special oil designed to keep your sewing machine running as it should. Only a few drops, no more than 2 or 3, will keep your sewing machine functioning at its best, whether it’s an ancient, vintage, or digital machine.

Do you remember the ancient adage, “the grease goes to the squeaky wheel”? When it comes to sewing machines, you don’t want to wait until the inside parts creak before adding the oil. Sewing machines are precise devices, therefore don’t put off applying the oil. Simply maintain your machine lubricated on a regular basis to avoid squeaks.

What is Sewing Machine Oil?

Sewing machine oil is a form of mineral oil, in a nutshell. It is colorless and should not have an odor. It is not the same as the mineral oil used on furniture because it has an odor, but it will come close.

A light viscosity mineral oil is contained within the can and will not clog or adhere to your gears. This oil will perform similarly to any other, but it is not interchangeable. Cooking oil, motor oil, and similar goods are not designed for sewing machine precision, so don’t try to save a few bucks by substituting them.

That is the most important point. While there are many other types of oil on the market, sewing machine oil is made specifically for use in sewing machines. It’s unclear whether you can use that oil elsewhere, but it’s usually best to leave it to fix sewing machines.

What is Sewing Machine Oil Made Of?


The big corporations’ manufactured sewing machine oil contains a variety of petrochemical components. Sewing machine oil manufacturers do not always identify all of the materials they utilize in their products, but suffice it to say that sewing machine oil is formed of oil.

Some people claim to have manufactured their own natural sewing machine oil because the actual stuff can be harmful to your health. Mineral and other petrochemical constituents have been substituted by jojoba, silicone, and ester oils.

These materials are similar to the petrochemicals used to make sewing machine oil, but without the negative consequences. Because not all sewing machines accept this alternative, proceed with caution.

The lack of harmful side effects makes it appealing to use, but sewing machines are picky devices that prefer just the oil that they were designed to use.

Is Sewing Machine Oil Mineral Oil?

Mineral oil is one of the petrochemicals utilized by sewing machine oil makers to make their sewing machine oil, so yes and no. Because of its similarities, white mineral oil is thought to be a good substitute for sewing machine oil.

Sewing machine oil, according to some, is mineral oil or a high purity form of mineral oil. But that distinction is all it takes to prevent you from confusing the two.

Paraffin oil is a closer relative of mineral oil. Sewing machine oil is liquid paraffin; nevertheless, it should not be confused with true paraffin oil, which is simply kerosene.

Then there’s Mobil, which makes a lot of oil specifically for industrial sewing machines. Those oils come in in huge cans, far too large for domestic use. However, it is still sewing machine oil, and it may work for your model.

It makes no difference whether the oil is mineral or paraffin. It makes a difference whether the label reads sewing machine oil or not. If it doesn’t, stay away from it.

What Weight is Sewing Machine Oil? (Viscosity)


Finding a precise figure on the container’s label stating the viscosity may be difficult. Sewing machine oil labels differ from automotive oil canisters, which display figures such as 10W-30, 5W-40, and so on.

If they say anything at all, they’ll state “poor viscosity.” While looking for an exact figure to address this query, we came across this phrase. The viscosity of sewing machine oil is low, and the lower the number, the better.

The low range indicates that the oil is thinner than other oils, while the high range indicates that the oil is too thick to use in your sewing machine. There may be a legitimate reason why Singer sewing machine oil does not include the number of its viscosity.

The various corporations are quite protective of their trade secrets, as they do not want other companies or people to replicate their ingredients and undercut their sales. Just make sure the oil has a low viscosity and is thin enough to work in your sewing machine.

What is Special About Sewing Machine Oil?

Other forms of oil, when used in a sewing machine, do not evaporate and instead adhere to the gears and other moving metal elements. In other words, because they can’t manage the heat created by a sewing machine, alternative oil kinds don’t go away and stay there to make a mess.

That is what distinguishes sewing machine oil. It’s made to evaporate or vanish over time, and it won’t attach to any metal moving parts. It also doesn’t build up like other oils over time, so your metal parts can move as they should without being hampered.

Other oils create sewing machine difficulties, which may require the services of an experienced repairman. This is an expense you should avoid, and you may do so by keeping tins or cans of sewing machine oil on hand.

Then, to maintain the quality of those parts and avoid future troubles, you should keep a schedule of your lubrication times.

Can I Use Any Oil for a Sewing Machine?


No. That is about the only response you should get from anyone advising you on which oil to use. It should not be used on sewing machines if it was not designed for them.

One source recommends Marvel Mystery oil, 3 in 1 oil, and mineral oil as acceptable substitutes for sewing machine oil because they are less expensive. Don’t pay attention to them. They are not responsible for your repairs because it is not their machine.

If you are unsure, consult your owner’s manual before purchasing to ensure that your sewing machine meets the lubricating requirements of your brand. Those options, while similar to sewing machine oil, were not designed for sewing machines.

Natural sewing machine oil isn’t always accepted by all sewing machines. You’ll have to bite the bullet and use the oil created specifically for your sewing machine.

Common Sewing Machine Oil Alternatives

We don’t want to give you any notions that lead to you using the wrong kind of oil on your sewing machine, therefore this is a touchy subject. The adjective “common” is significant here, since it refers to the many types of oils that other sewers have used on their machines despite the fact that they were not designed for sewing machines.

Motor oil, vegetable oil, culinary oil, and even three-in-one oil have all been used by some. These are not suitable for sewing machines since they do not have a low viscosity. That is one of the keys to figuring out why you can’t utilize these oils.

Mineral oil, Marvel mystery oil, and even WD-40 have been used by others. The latter is a penetrating chemical that loosens jammed nuts and bolts or screws and is not a lubricant.

The other two oils were created for distinct uses and should not be used unless you prefer paying a lot of money to your sewing machine repairman. The secret is to use sewing machine oil instead of these less expensive options.

Best Sewing Machine Oil Substitute

Sewing machine oils come in three varieties. They’re not really alternatives, but lubricants created specifically for sewing machines. Here’s a quick rundown of those oils:

  • 1. Petrochemicals – this is the type of sewing machine oil that the majority of people should use. It has no scent and no color, but it is the most effective oil available.
  • 2. Synthetics – similar to fabrics, industries are developing synthetic oils to reduce the cost of materials. It’s designed to work with plastic parts and is an environmentally friendly alternative to petrochemicals.
  • 3. Natural – these include no toxic ingredients that could harm your health if inhaled or absorbed through your skin. While certain natural combinations are effective, they can clog your machine if the ingredients are not blended properly.

Some people will propose mineral oil or another light oil, but if it isn’t designed for sewing machines, you’re running a major risk. Experts aren’t usually correct, and they could be the exception.

Because all sewing machines are different, even if they are the same brand or model, they may not accept the varied oil.

Is Hair Clipper Oil the Same as Sewing Machine Oil?


Yes, technically, they are, however the viscosity of hair clipper oil differs from that of sewing machine oil. Some people prefer this oil since hair clippers operate at higher speeds than sewing machines, and the oil can withstand the friction and heat generated by the latter.

It is up to you whether or not to use this oil, as it is not suggested by manufacturers, and if your machine is still under warranty, it is preferable to use the sewing machine oil advised by the manufacturer.

Clock oil, Tri-flow oil, and other recommended replacements are the same. If your warranty is still valid, don’t use alternatives unless your manufacturer gives you permission.

Manufacturers employ teams of lawyers to hunt for these inconsequential details in order to shield themselves from illegal repair charges. We must underline the importance of being selective in who you listen to. They will not pay for your repairs if something goes wrong, and they are unlikely to be familiar with your machine.

Can I Use Hair Clipper Oil On My Sewing Machine?

Yes, you can use it instead of sewing machine oil, as several people recommend it. Hair clipper oil may be less expensive, which is one reason they could recommend it.

Another logical argument was expressed previously, but we will state it again. Hair clipper oil is accustomed to dealing with quick and hot engines. They decided that oil is safe for your sewing machine because sewing machine motors do not operate as rapidly as hair clipper motors.

Use at your own risk for the same reasons we mentioned previously. Sewing machines can be temperamental, and while hair clipper oil may be okay to use in some sewing machines, it may not be in others. Natural sewing machine oils, like natural sewing machine oils, are not suitable for all sewing machines.

Hair Clipper Oil vs Sewing Machine Oil


There is no genuine competition. Hair clipper oil is likely a lower viscosity oil because it lubricates faster motors that require thin fluid. It’s also designed for hair clippers, not sewing machines.

The issue is that sewing machines are far more expensive than hair clippers. Do you want to risk losing your sewing machine because someone told you it was fine to pour hair clipper oil in it?

It is conceivable, but making the switch requires a significant leap of faith.

Can I Use WD40 Instead of Sewing Machine Oil?

No. While we’ve read that some individuals use this product to replace sewing machine oil, there’s nothing in their statement that demonstrates they’re not lying.

WD-40 isn’t really a lubricant in the usual sense. It’s a tool that cuts through rust and other difficulties with screws, nuts, and bolts that have them stuck in place.

Using it as a lubricant is a recipe for disaster, and it may force you to return to the repairman, who will be pleased to have your business. The same may be said with 3 in 1 oil.

Can I Use Baby Oil On My Sewing Machine?


On the internet, there may be an odd person who answers this question and says that this oil is good for brief use. But don’t pay attention to them. While baby oil is a type of mineral oil that is mild on the skin of babies, it is not designed for sewing machines.

The viscosity will be too high, and the oil will be too thick, for sewing machines to perform properly. The extra components, such as aroma, may clog up your sewing machine. Keep a good store of sewing machine oil on hand to avoid having to make this decision.

Check the age of your computer as well. Alternatives will not function with the most contemporary models, which are designed to work with highly refined sewing machine oil. There was a time when alternatives were acceptable, but those days are long gone.

Light Machine Oil Bunnings

When you click this link, you’ll be transported to a Bunnings website where you’ll find a list of roughly 70 different or comparable lubricants. None of them are designed for sewing machines. There’s one called home lubricant, but it’s actually mineral oil if you read the fine print.

The viscosity level isn’t specified, however the description claims that it’s a thicker lubricant with improved adhesion to materials. Those sentences alone should tell you not to use this oil on your sewing machine.

Inside your sewing machine, you don’t want any stickiness or buildup.

Air Tool Oil Sewing Machine


The oil needed to lubricate air tools, like all other oils, is not created in the same manner as sewing machine oil is. One reason for this is that the type of oil required to lubricate each specific device is determined by the moving interior parts of that device.

To lubricate air tools, use an oil developed for use with high-powered equipment. You should use sewing machine oil for your sewing machines.

The labeling should state which device is recommended. Before you buy anything, read the labels first, just like you would before doing your laundry or picking the correct fabric dye.

DIY Sewing Machine Oil

You’ll need 1/3 cup of jojoba oil, a tablespoon of ester oil, and a tablespoon of silicon oil to produce your own sewing machine oil with natural components. If you don’t mix thoroughly, your machine may have problems.

If you decide to utilize it, run a test to determine if it will work for you. To test the oil combination, only a drop in your machine will suffice. When trying to manufacture sewing machine oil with other oils, be cautious. The level of viscosity is crucial.

Some Final Words

If in doubt, err on the side of caution and avoid using alternatives unless you’re stuck at the end of the road with no sewing machine oil in the cabin or house.

Because each version is intended for certain machines and their specialized moving parts, not all oil is oil. Heavy oils will merely clog up your sewing machine and waste your money. When it comes to sewing machine oil, ignore well-intentioned advice and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

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