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Multi-Needle Monday | Cleaning the Upper Thread Path

Just like lampshades and overhead fans at home, your multi-needle machine deserves to be dust-free. It will sparkle and perform at its very best if you keep the upper thread path clean. Set aside 45 minutes to an hour to give it the full spa treatment.

Even though my photographs don’t show it, it is a good idea to unthread all ten needles (I was in a rush to take my photographs!). Slip the bristles of the small brush that comes with your machine under the upper thread guide to remove any lint. Maint1

Clean the thread guide behind the tension discs. Maint3

Take a larger, natural bristle brush to clean around the tension disks. Maint2

To disassemble the tension disk, turn the black dial counter clockwise. Maint4

Set it aside. Maint5

Remove the spring (keep the top plastic part with the spring – it is a separate part). Maint6

Remove the plastic base. maint7

Remove the tension disc and blue felt washer. maint8

Remove the bottom felt washer. Maint9

Clean the base with the brush. Maint10

Place the bottom felt washer back on the base. Add the tension disc (magnet side down) with its blue washer on top. Maint11




Add the plastic base, spring and tension dial. Turn the dial clockwise to tighten. Repeat for all ten needles. After you’ve cleaned each tension disk, stitch the tension test design to critique the tension on each needle. Make any necessary adjustments. Maint13





  • jennifer allen

    thank u for sharing this info. I just picked up my 10needle last monday-& I want to make sure I do everything I can to take great care of it. How often should this be cleaned?

    • eileenroche

      I suggest asking your dealer for a recommendation of how often you should clean the upper thread path. I do it when the dust starts to get on my nerves! It would, of course, be helpful if you have a nasty thread break in the upper path. But frankly, that rarely happens!

  • Clem

    Wow!! I did not think I could take those apart!! Great to know. I will be doing this. I also cover the upper part of my machine if I am going to be gone for any length of time… gone for the weekend or such.

  • Doree Shandera

    have to say the process scares me………..but off I will go to give it a try!!!
    Thanks for the reminder that I should really keep it covered.

  • Susie Mackenberg

    Well, I’ll be! I’ve had my Janome 4-needle for a long time and never cleaned the upper thread path. I just did it and they sure needed it! I had been having tension troubles with my #1 needle so my solution was to just bi-pass it! It had the most dirt build up. Hopefully now I’ll be back to a 4-needle instead of a 3-needle machine! Thanks!

  • elainekaiser

    Would you please give more information on the tension test design? I don’t know anything about this. Thank you

  • Carolyn

    I was timid to do this at first, but was surprised how much lint collected there. I found when I started using higher quality thread I didn’t find as much lint in the upper thread path or in my bobbin area. Thanks for all this valuable information.

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  • juditZ

    love it….. did not know I could take it apart like that myself.
    Thank you for lesson.