I am often asked if using a silicone lubricant as an add-on product is OK for decorative sewing threads. My answer is: a high-quality thread shouldn't need to be coerced into sewing by adding lubricant. Below are some myths and facts about adding lubricants to thread.
Silicone is a chemical polymer lubricant that is sometimes used to make an uncooperative thread run better. Some apply it directly onto the thread (by rubbing it onto the thread as it passes through the machine) and others thoroughly immerse the thread in a bucket of silicone and soak it overnight. If the thread you are using requires full immersion and soaking, and you are using the right needle and made appropriate tension adjustments, I recommend finding another thread. That's too much lubricant. As thread manufacturers, we asked our engineers, factories, machine experts, and fiber consultants regarding the use of silicone.
Q. Is the silicone used for thread lubricant water soluble?
A. Most is oil soluble and does not mix with water.
Q. Does silicone affect the colorfastness of the thread or fabric?
A. No.There is no evidence of silicone affecting colorfastness.
Q. Can silicone stain fabric?
A. Yes. If you use enough silicone on the thread to penetrate the spool or cone, the excessive amount of silicone may stain the thread and fabric. (Think of an oil stain similar to when a tube of chapstick gets in your dryer and melts on your clothing. How annoying is that?!)
Q. Is it safe to use a small amount of silicone?
A. Probably.Just don't soak the thread in it.
Q. Will silicone spray hurt my machine?
A. An excessive amount may over-lubricate but a small amount should be OK.
Q. How about soaking the entire cone of thread in silicone?
A. No. Use a thread that does not require soaking. A quality thread will not require the use of additive substances for a good stitch.
Q. Is silicone safe?
A. A little is most likely OK. According to OSHA, silicone is defined as a hazardous substance. It is combustible. It can cause skin and respiratory tract irritation.