Here’s how I knew I had a nasty, dirty embroidery hoop. People started commenting on pictures in my blog posts that were completely unrelated to the embroidery hoop, saying “wow – you’re hoop is gross.” So, after hearing that a few times through the comments on my blog and social media channels, I thought, “maybe I should try to clean my embroidery hoops.”
If you’re new to machine embroidery and have only done a few projects, you may be wondering how on earth an embroidery hoop could look so nasty. The culprit is temporary spray adhesive. It is remarkably useful for securing fabric to stabilizer, but the downside is that it gets EVERYWHERE – especially on your embroidery hoop. And when your hoop is sticky – every fuzz ball and piece of thread in your sewing room will start to glom on to it. Soon you have a nasty, gunky machine embroidery hoop, and It’s not pretty.
Fortunately there are some pretty ingenious ways to keep the temporary adhesive spray off of your hoop.
- Avoid using temporary adhesive and instead use adhesive-backed stabilizer. You simply hoop the stabilizer, score around the inside edge of the hoop with a pin, and then peel the paper away. Then you stick your garment onto the stabilizer without using any spray.
- Use a glue stick instead of temporary adhesive spray because you can better control where the stickiness goes. Just rub a bit of glue onto the hooped stabilizer and press your material or garment in place.
- Create a mask. (And not like a Halloween mask.) What I mean is – create a frame that covers the edge of the mask and leaves the work area exposed. This way, when you spray the hooped stabilizer, the sticky spray will not get on the hoop.
Despite taking these preventative measures, you still may end up with a super nasty hoop. But, the question is… how do you clean it? I have learned that there are a lot of different ways to go about it.
When I first started using my embroidery machine, I sought counsel for my dirty hoop problem from the ladies at my embroidery store. I, naively, thought my problem was unique. But, apparently they are are experts in cleaning up dirty hoops. You see, at my store, they sell both new and used sewing and embroidery machines. And, when the used ones come in – some of the embroidery hoops are really gunky. Therefore, in order to get the hoops clean enough to resell the machines, the the store had to figure it out, and they began experimenting with several different methods of cleaning embroidery hoops.
From their experiments, my sewing ladies discovered a lot of methods for cleaning embroidery hoops. Since there are several different ways to skin this cat, I would suggest using whatever product you have around the house. Here’s what works.
- Wipe the hoop down with rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol works great, but for a large hoop, it’s difficult to have a large enough container and a large enough volume of rubbing alcohol to sufficiently coat your embroidery hoop.
- Dollar Tree, as well as other stores, sell a product called LA’s Totally Awesome. And it’s actually totally awesome for cleaning your embroidery hoop.
- Soak them in WD40 and let sit for 30 minutes or so. Then, just wipe the hoop off clean.
- Oven Spray cleaner will do the job too. You spray it on, let it sit 5-10 seconds, then wipe off the gunk.
- GooGone works pretty remarkably. Again, spray, wait, then rub it all off.
- And finally, my personal favorite is soaking my embroidery hoop in Blue Dawn. It does a remarkable job in loosening the gunk on your embroidery hoop. But don’t be mistaken, just because Blue Dawn works so well, other brands will not necessarily have the same effect. My sewing ladies actually tried several other brands of dishwashing detergent but reported that Dawn was the only one that worked. You simply make up a big tub of sudsy Dawn, soak your hoops and get them as clean as if they were new.
Of course I had to try this myself. And, what I found is that – after a lot of soaking and a bit of scraping -my embroidery hoop looks pretty damn good as well!