Following on from my earlier post about cleaning fusible glue off a Teflon-coated iron, here’s the problem I had with gunked up sewing machine needles and how I solved it with the help of a couple of people on the Etsy forums.
I’ve been doing some fast free motion quilting on a piece that’s made up of stiff interfacing onto which is fused a piece of fabric. I’ve gunked up (technical term!) 7 sewing machine needles already this evening.
The speed of the needle going through the layers seems to be re-melting the glue on the fusible and sticking to the needle, ultimately causing the thread to snap and the eye and shaft of the needle to become sticky and full of sticky gluey gunk.
How do I clean the gunk off these needles? I’ve tried an orange-based cleaner (which helped to an extent), and am now trying acetone. Any other suggestions?
These needles are perfectly fine otherwise.
These options were suggested:
- Sewer’s Aid: “If you put a drop on your needle before sewing through fusible it even prevents the build-up”
- Rubbing alcohol
- Soak in orange cleaner then wipe off
- Soak in orange cleaner and use a scourer to wipe off
- Holy Cow (degreaser)
- Nail polish remover (acetone)
- Rubbing with a wet rag
- Scraping off with a fingernail
- Put under a flame and wipe clean
What I did while waiting for all these suggestions to come through:
- Soaked the needles in acetone overnight.
- Wiped down and then scraped with a fingernail and a pin.
- There was still a bit of gunk in the eyes and the slot along the shafts of these needles, so I put them in one of those little sort of ‘sonic’ things for cleaning jewellery, then scraped them again. That pretty much got all the gunk off them.
- I’ve also ordered some Sewer’s Aid from the local fabric store…
The next day I discovered something else: Leave the fused fabric alone for some hours before sewing it!! I left another piece for 24 hours before starting to free motion quilt it and had no problems with glue getting on the needle, whereas the first piece that caused the grief I was sewing within an hour of fusing. I shouldn’t be so keen and eager!