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how often should i change my sewing machine needle

Do Sewing Machine Needles Get Dull? How Often To Change It?

A sewing machine needle could be defined as a slender, small, and rounded tool used for carrying a thread through a cloth. It helps you perform structural or decorative sewing. The needle has a hole, also known as eye, at one end, and is designed to a blunt or sharp point at the other.

In the following write-up, you are going to find out if sewing machine needles ever get dull. You will also learn the best way to sharpen a dull needle. Please check all that fascinating information out right now.

Do sewing machine needles get Dull?

Sewing machine needles function at an extremely high hit frequency. Any kind of obstruction to the needles or the occluded tubes increases the speed at which the needles dull. To maintain your sewing machine needle’s edge, you must thoroughly clean it, sharpen it, or replace it after at least eight hours of constant sewing or quilting.

Reasons why sewing machine needles get dull

Sewing machine needles will get dull over time, and you cannot do anything to help it. The three factors stated below, however, force a needle to lose its sharpness before time.

Friction of fabrics:

Sewing machine needles get dull because of the friction the fabrics create. When running over the clothes, a needle has to endure the friction that comes from the fabrics. Such resistance makes needles duller with every use. The resistance continues until the needle becomes totally dull and fails to run over the fabrics.

Materials of fabrics:

Fabric materials also make sewing machine needles dull. Fabrics such as heavy fleece and leather make needles duller than any other fabric available. Leather and fleece are immensely thick and resists a needle when it tries to run through them. Thus, needles get blunt often.

Extended sewing project:

Extensive sewing projects make needles dull. If you sew or quilt for more than eight hours, there is a high chance that the needles get blunt. The needles cannot go through forcing themselves against friction for a prolonged period. So, please change the needles after every eight hours.

How to check if a sewing machine needle is dull?

Is your sewing machine needle dull? Look out for the four signs stated below. If you spot even one, take whatever action you believe is necessary. Dull needles hamper the quality of your work.

  • Changes in sound:

A sewing machine needle is considered dull when it starts making a popping sound or a thud every time it goes through a fabric.

  • Pull threads in the fabric:

When the sewing machine needle is dull, it cannot pull the threads in the fabric. A dull needle can sometimes break the thread.

  • Run your finger against the needle tip:

Turn off your sewing machine. Put your finger against the needle tip to check if it is sharp or dull. This is perhaps the easiest way to check the sharpness.

  • Use a magnifier:

You may use a magnifier glass to go through the status of your needle tip. If the needle is dull, please replace it immediately.

Can sewing machine needles be sharpened?

Few people suggest you must not sharpen your sewing machine needles. The reason is sewing machine needles do not have to be sharp enough to cut a fabric.

The needles should be just sharp enough to push through the fabrics. They also say that after two to eight hours of sewing, the needle is deemed worthless and thrown out.

Now if you want a sewing project to go smoothly, and if you want to enjoy sewing, you must sharpen the needles. Thanks to sharp needles, the stitches will look cleaner and tougher. Sharp needles also never ruin the fabrics.

How can you sharpen dull needles?

Sharpen a dull needle

How to sharpen a dull needle? Below are four ways you can implement at home in a seamless manner.

  • Test the sharpness:

Run your finger on the tip of the needle to test its sharpness. If you feel the needle is blunt, go ahead and dip it in any cooking oil. You may also use coconut oil. Repeat this step for a couple of times and then wipe it using a clean piece of cloth.

  • Rub on an emery board:

An emery board can sharpen the needle thoroughly and effectively. Rub the needle against the fine grits. A little bit of oil on the board will help when you go back and forth sharpening the needle.

  • Polish the needle’s metal:

Polish the needle’s surface with steel wool. As needles are manufactured from metal, the steel wool can smooth them without any hassle. You do not have to store the needles in the steel wool. Just push and pull the needles against the wool a few times.

  • Use a soap bar:

A soap bar can also sharpen needles.  Place the needle in a soap bar and then take the needle out after some time. The soap is capable of filling even the tiniest scratches in the needle.

How long do sewing machine needles last?

Sewing machine needles usually have the life expectancy of a minute to a month. On an average, a needle must be replaced after every eight hours of work.

How do you clean a sewing needle?

You can clean a sewing machine needle by putting it in a pot of boiling water. Boil the water for half an hour and to 93.3 degree Celsius. You can also clean the tips of your needles by wiping them with a gauze pad soaked in rubbing alcohol. If you want to get rid of the rust, you can dip the needles in cooking oil or coconut oil.

How do you know when your machine needles need changing?

You must changing your sewing machine needle if any of the three things below are happening –

  • The machine is making sound:

The needle in the machine is making a thud or popping sound.

  • The machine is putting too much effort:

The sewing machine needle is exerting too much effort to penetrate the fabric.

  • Pulling threads:

The needle is pulling the threads in the fabric or breaking them.

How often should you change my sewing machine needle?

You must change a sewing machine needle when you have done all of any of the three things below –

Using for a large project:

After a large project, you must change your needle. While figuring out when to change the needle, you must keep in the mind the texture of the fabrics. Tough fabrics put up lots of resistance against the needle and make them dull in a short period.

8-hour work:

You have to change your sewing machine needles after you have used them for a total of eight hours.

Using after 3 full bobbins:

You must change the needle after using two to three bobbins.

Final Thoughts

Sewing machine needles are made of metal, hence, they will get dull and rusty in no time. You must not reuse needles that have become dull.

Go ahead and sharpen your machine needles. You can also purchase new sewing machine needles from a trustworthy store.

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