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Waxed canvas is a midweight cotton fabric that has been saturated with wax, giving it an extra layer of protection against the elements. When sewing, the teeth of the feed dogs scrape a little bit of wax off the fabric while it moves it through the machine. Over time, all that wax will build up on your feed dogs and needle, making it difficult to get a good stitch. We've found that we can make five or six bags before the machine needs a good cleaning. But when that day comes, it's a simple and super satisfying task. 
Here's how we like to clean wax from our sewing machines here at Klum House:




You will need:

  • Small screwdriver 
  • Dull seam ripper (or anything pointy you don't care too much about) 
  • Old toothbrush 
  • Rubbing Alcohol 
  • Rag 



1. Remove the presser foot, stitch plate, and needle. Most machines come with a tool to take these out with no trouble. 








2. Use the pointed end of your dull seam ripper to gently scrape off as much wax as possible from the ridges of the feed dog teeth. 








3. With a bit of rubbing alcohol, use the old toothbrush to brush the teeth of the feed dogs. The rubbing alcohol will break down the last bits of wax and will evaporate quickly. 








4. We haven't found a reason to worry about wax building up in the body of the machine, but if you'd like to be, though, break down the bobbin casing pieces, brush them off, and give all those parts a rub down with a rag and the rubbing alcohol as well. 








5. Ta da! Clean feed dogs! Install a new needle in your machine, and you're good to go. Back to bag making!









Want to learn more about working with waxed canvas?
Check out our Essential Guide to Waxed Canvas!



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