I use Q-tips! Yes, you have to get the name brand. They work the best and are less likely to pull apart. You have to be careful though! Take it easy so the cotton on the q-tip won't rip and you'll have one clean machine!
Why use Q-tips over brushes?....They get in places brushes can't, and get residue out of the machine!
Here we go!
I take the thread off of my machine when I clean it so it won't get in my way.
Ok, go ahead and take out your bobbin...
When I'm finished I go ahead and oil the machine.
Things I do
Clean and oil my machine after every empty bobbin: It makes a world of difference in the performance of my sewing machine. I will sometimes use a brush made to clean machines in between so I don't have a drawn out process every time I run out of bobbin thread.
Things I NEVER EVER...EVER, EVER....do/use;)
Paintbrushes: I have found that they just wipe the dust around, and leave bristles in your machine!
Blowing: Never under any circumstance blow into a machine. You can get spit in it!
Compressed air: Another no....forcing the dust into the machine just isn't good.
Cleaning with the bobbin case still in the machine: It's just not a good idea. It can force dust inside your bobbin case.
What about you? What do you find works for you and your sewing machine?