How to Care for Your Spinning Wheel (and Keep the Squeaks Away)


A spinning wheel is a big investment, and you want to keep that spinning wheel running like a well oiled machine.

What does that mean? Regular maintenance. It's not tricky, just oil it, clean it, and nourish that wood. Your wheel will thank you.

Tip #1: Oil It

Your spinning wheel needs oil at any point of friction. Most spinners use a commercial oil provided by their wheel's manufacturer.

Some spinners prefer natural products like olive oil or vegetable oil, maybe mixed with a drop of fragrant essential oil —lavender, lemon or rose all smell wonderful. In general, liquid oil works best. (Vaseline gets gunky). Even sewing-machine oil and silicone fishing-reel oil (!) can work well.

How Often Should You Oil Your Wheel?

Some spinners recommend oiling wheels after every eight hours of use. Others oil their wheels only when there's squeaking. A good rule of thumb is to oil every month if you're doing a lot of spinning, or once a season if you're not. Also, oil it after every outdoor event, just to clear debris from the crevices.

Tip #2: Clean the Wood

If you're traveling with your wheel, it can get pretty filthy. Even spinning yarn outside will get the wood dirty. You can use lemon essential oil as an all-natural cleaner.  Simply dab a bit on a rag and wipe the wood gently.

Commercial products like Orange Glo (most spinners avoid using anything silicone-based on the wood) or Old English Lemon Oil also work well.

Tip #3: Nourish and Seal the Wood

Different spinners prefer different finishes for their spinning wheel. Some spinners go for a painted look. But if you prefer to keep things au natural, here's how you can protect the finish:

  • Use a wood wax or preserver to moisturize the wood. These are made from olive oil, beeswax and essential oil. The preserver soaks into the wood and the wax "seals" it temporarily. Reapply every 6 months, or as needed.
  • If you prefer a less greasy product with a matte finish, try all-natural Blue Mountain Handcrafts Wood Balm . Reapply every 6 months, or as needed.
  • Readily available commercial products, like Butchers Wax (for butcher block tables), Feed-n-Wax or Paste Wax Floor Polish, also work.
  • Products that contain silicone (like Pledge) are not recommended because they make the wood too slippery and can cause the drive band to jump.

Follow this advice and there'll be plenty of smooth spinning ahead for you!

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How to Care for Your Spinning Wheel (and Keep the Squeaks Away)