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6 Tips You Need to Know on How to Maintain a Paper Shredder

By Jessica Lou June 12, 2019

Paper shredders are an essential part of many companies as they keep things organized and provide a variety of safety measures. Yet, the maintenance of paper shredders is something that often goes overlooked.

Paper shredders have limitations to them and they need to receive proper care to work well. So, I’m going to share with you 6 tips on how to keep your shredder running for the years to come.

Oil Your Shredder

One of the most important things for maintaining a shredder is to regularly lubricate it. Over time, dust starts to collect between the shredder blades and reduces the performance of the shredder. Oiling the shredder can fix this problem and extend the lifetime of the shredder.

How often you oil the shredder depends on how often you use the shredder. The more often you use the shredder, the more you should oil it. A general rule is to oil the shredder each time you empty the waste bin of the shredder.

The type of shredder you are using also determines how often you should oil the shredder. Typically, you should oil cross-cut shredders more than strip-cut shredders and you should oil high-security shredders more than any other shredder.

Also, pay attention to other factors that impact how often you should oil your shredder. These include the type of paper you are shredding and the amount of paper you are shredding at once.

For directions on how to oil a shredder, check out the video tutorial below.

Lastly, make sure to never use WD-40 or vegetable oil to lubricate your shredder. Although some claim that WD-40 and vegetable oil are substitutes for shredder oil, the truth is that they can cause serious damage to your shredder. Instead, use oil that is made for oiling shredder heads. You can find our trustworthy and specially made shredder oil here.

Know What Your Shredder is Capable Of

Each shredder is different in terms of what objects it can shred and how much paper it can shred at once. It is crucial to figure out exactly what your shredder is capable of before using it. Although many paper shredders are able to shred CDs and paperclips, don’t assume they can. Be sure to read the manual first and research the model of the shredder.

I’m asking you to take this precaution so you can preserve the lifespan of your shredder. Shredding objects that the shredder is not meant to shred or putting in too much paper at once can cause a great amount of damage to the motor and gears. So, don’t take the risk. Know your shredder first.

Clean the Shredder Blades

As you use your shredder, dust and paper debris can build around the shredder blades. Thus, it is important to clean the shredder blades to prevent paper jams and other shredder problems you might encounter. To clean the blades, first remove the remaining pieces of paper between the blades. Then, use a vacuum cleaner or a can of compressed air to clear out the dust. Picking up this simple, but important, cleaning ritual will allow your shredder to run more smoothly in the long run.

Occasionally Run the Shredder in Reverse

Another way to boost the productivity of your shredder is to run the shredder in reverse every once in a while. Doing this will reduce the chances of your shredder getting clogged up with pieces of paper. This will save you and your company a lot of time by not having to deal with paper jams and clogs.

Empty the Bin Regularly

If the shredder bin gets too full, the shredded paper may contact the cutter and clog the shredder. To avoid this from happening, it is important to come up with a schedule to empty the bin. Keep in mind that the bin will fill up quickly with frequent use and big shredding jobs, so make sure to empty the bin before it gets too full. It is also a good idea to use shredder bags when emptying the bins. Shredder bags help contain the mess of the shredded paper, which makes emptying a paper shredder clean and easy. Find our high-quality shredder bags here.

shredder bags 

Don’t Use Your Shredder for Too Long

The majority of paper shredders do not work well under long, continuous use. It is important to give your shredder a break to prevent over-usage. If you overwork the shredder, it can cause the motor to become too hot and cause damage to the shredder.

The general rule for shredder usage and cool-down period is 30 minutes use and 30 minutes cool down. Giving your shredder an adequate amount of time to cool down will help extend the life of the shredder.


If you have overlooked the importance of paper shredder maintenance before, I hope this article has convinced you otherwise. Please remember and follow these 6 tips for maintaining your paper shredder. I promise that it will boost the performance and lifespan of your shredder and make your work a whole lot easier.

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