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How to Clean & Lubricate Your Gears and Motor

Learn how to properly clean and lubricate your Singer Featherweight 221 & 222K sewing machine gears as well as the motor. Video tutorial walks you through each step for where to apply the lubricant.  If you do not have the right grease on hand, then scroll down below the video to order a tube of the proper grease for your machine, or click here to learn more about our low-melting-point sewing machine lubricant.


*We have now updated our Featherweight Shop Motor & Gear Lubricant video tutorial with a "Part 2" to reflect the new SEW-RETRO GreaseTM brand!

SEW-RETRO Grease Motor & Gear Lubricant for the Singer Featherweight 221 222 and other antique and vintage sewing machines

SEW-RETRO Grease Motor & Gear Lubricant for the Singer Featherweight 221 and 222

Common Question:  Where do I grease my white Featherweight?

Black and tan Featherweights have a drive-shaft with gears at the top and bottom. These connect the arm shaft on the top and the rotating hook shaft on the bottom of the machine, transferring power between them and keeping the machine in time. The white Featherweight, on the other hand, uses a belt to connect these two shafts. Locate the top of the belt, located under the spool pin coverplate, in the photo above.  The white Featherweight will not need greased here.  In fact, you want to avoid getting any oil or grease on the internal drive belt, being careful both under the spool pin coverplate as well as underneath the machine on a white Singer Featherweight.  Grease is only necessary on a white Singer Featherweight if the white Featherweight motor has motor ports (some do, some don't).

See the difference here? This black Featherweight (same for the tan Featherweight) has a metal drive-shaft and gears at the top underneath the spool pin coverplate and at the bottom underneath the bottom tray.  Grease is required for these gears.

On the other hand, underneath the white Featherweight, you can see where the belt continues down and connects to the rotating hook shaft. Looks quite a bit different than the black and tan Featherweights, doesn't it?  Do not get any oil or grease on the internal black belt on a white Featherweight.

So, returning to the question at hand, where do you grease your white Featherweight?

The earliest White Featherweights had motor ports, just like the black and tan Featherweights. Motors with motor ports require routine motor lubrication (not oil!), about once or twice per year.  SEW-RETRO Grease is the only properly formulated grease that has the correct melting point to bring the grease slowly to the bushing.  (Follow the video tutorial here for more details and to compare it with other brands.)

Most White Featherweights, however, have motors that do not require motor lubricant because the motors are sealed with no motor ports (see photo above).  Therefore, SEW-RETRO Grease is only necessary on a white Singer Featherweight if the motor has motor ports.

For more information about the White Featherweight and how it compares to the black and tan Featherweights, visit our White Featherweight information page, found on the historical category of the Featherweight Schoolhouse.