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Why Does My Sewing Machine Smell Like Its Burning? – Find Out Here!

Some sewing machines get a bad reputation, especially when it comes to sewing machine maintenance.  The best way to prevent your sewing machine from smelling is to keep it clean.  

The second best way to prevent your sewing machine from smelling is to keep a small bowl of fabric softener sheets in the top drawer of your sewing machine.  

If your sewing machine does have a burned smell to it, you should check your sewing machine maintenance history.  You may need to clean your sewing machine.

Maybe your sewing machine smells like burning because you have a loose wire in the motor. Look for any wires that are bolted in place to make sure they are not loose.

If one of the wires is loose, this could be what is causing your sewing machine to smell like burning. Tighten the bolt that holds the wire in place and see if this solves the problem.

Sewing Machine Smells Like Burning

My sewing machine smells like burning – I’ve checked the belt, it’s fine. I’ve checked the power supply, it’s fine. I’ve checked all the wiring, it’s fine.

All I know is that when I start my machine, it smells like burning, and when I stop it, it stops burning, so I know it’s not the motor. Any ideas?

Your Gears Were Recently Oiled

It is common knowledge that sewing machines need to be oiled. It is a fact that is taught to us in sewing school and reinforced by our sewing mentors.

If you’ve been working hard on creating the newest fashions for your clients, you may have noticed a strange smell coming from your sewing machine. It suddenly smells like burning, and you think this is just because you’ve been working with it a lot lately. 

The truth is that your gears were recently oiled and this is causing your sewing machine to smell like burning. That’s because the oil used to lubricate your sewing machine contains a small amount of light oil, and it is this light oil that is causing the burning smell. 

As a result, the gears’ teeth can become coated with oil, making them slippery. This can make your sewing machine hard to use, especially if you’re trying to sew thick material.  It also may result in your sewing machine producing smoke.

Your Belt Is Worn or Has Slipped

If you have a sewing machine belt that has burned or worn out, the first thing you need to do is stop using it. If you continue using your sewing machine with a belt that is worn, your sewing machine may become dangerous and you may injure yourself.

If you continue to use your machine, you run the risk of damaging your machine or burning out the motor.

Burning smell from your sewing machine or serger is usually because the belt that turns the machine has slipped off of its pulley. The only way to understand how to fix it is to fully understand how it works. 

Your Fabric Is Creating the Smell

If you’re an avid sewer, you probably have noticed that sometimes your sewing machine starts to smell like burning. You can smell it even with the lid closed. This is usually caused by the fabric you are using.

Many fabrics contain a chemical called acetic acid that is released with the heat from the friction of the needle. The smells you are smelling are usually in the form of vinegar or other related smells. The smells may vary based on the amount of acetic acid in the fabric.

What you can do about this problem is to use a lower heat setting on your machine, and if that does not help, try a fabric softener sheet.

You Are Overworking Your Sewing Machine

Overworking your sewing machine can cause lots of problems, including difficulty starting and stopping, and mis-threading, but one of the biggest problems people run into with their machine is that it starts to smell like burning.

This can be a very scary problem, especially if you think that you have a fire. (The smoke that comes out of your machine is not smoke, it is just the smell of the fabric burning, which is very different). Fortunately, this is a problem that can be solved.

Your Wiring Has a Dangerous Short

We’ve all experienced it: you turn on your sewing machine, and you smell a faint burning smell. If you’re lucky, it’s temporary and goes away when you turn the machine off.

But sometimes it’s not so brief, and the burning smell comes back every time you turn on your sewing machine. This can be a sign that you have dangerous wiring short in your sewing machine.

One of the most common causes for a burning smell on a sewing machine is a short in the wiring. Inspect the wiring around your machine, looking for burn marks, and follow the wiring back to the source.

There you will find the place where the wires are shorting out, usually near the electrical box. This is a dangerous situation because the wires will continue to heat up and smell of burning, even when you’re not sewing.

Sewing Machine Motor Gets Hot

When your sewing machine smells like it is getting hot, do not be alarmed! A smell is not going to set your sewing machine on fire. It just means that your sewing machine motor is running hot.

Although a burning smell will not hurt your machine, it is a sign that something is wrong.

In Conclusion

There are a few reasons why your sewing machine might start to smell.  Especially if you already have a smelly sewing machine, it is important to isolate the problem as soon as possible to avoid making the smell even worse.  

The smell can be caused by a number of things, such as operator error, dust, a dying motor, or even a dead animal.  There are a few quick things you can do to figure out the source of the smell before you give up on your sewing machine.

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter

Kirsten Carter is a freelance content writer who specialises in writing about travel, technology and health. When she's not traveling between her home of Tanzania and England, she writes for her blog Rightminded Travelling and features on a variety of different travel and technology sites.View Author posts

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