Paper shredders are an excellent way to get rid of important papers in an instant which makes them an essential machine in every office but because they are easy to use, maintenance often goes overlooked. The service life of paper shredders can be prolonged with proper care, periodic care and timely maintenance.


Paper recycle concept, shredded paper documents to recycle with close up shot.

Here are 4 tips on how to clean and maintain your paper shredder to ensure optimum functioning:

  1. Oil the Machine

    Paper shredders should be lubricated periodically using shredder oil to ensure that cutting heads operate at optimal efficiency. Timely lubrication will not only lengthen the service life of paper shredders but also keep the motor from burning out. Oiling the machine will work to soften the sediments that have deposited on the blades and enable the cutting head to move freely. Paper shredders should be oiled at least once every week and if the usage if heavy, they should be oiled every single day. If you are using a cross cut shredder it should be oiled more frequently as compared to a strip cut shredder as it tends to create finer dust particles. Oiling should only be done when the paper shredder is not being used by holding the bottle of lubricant over the blades and squeezing it through the length of the opening. The process of lubrication takes only a few seconds so once the oiling is done, you need to run the machine in the reverse function for another 15 seconds so that the oil is uniformly transferred to all the blades. Once the oiling is completed, shred a few sheets so that if there is any excess oil, it is removed.

  2. Know Your Shredder’s Paper Capacity

    Every paper shredder comes with a recommended capacity so make sure you know your shredder’s capacity before you start using the paper shredder. Do not overuse the capacity of the paper shredder and refer to the paper ratings as these numbers are typically based on the weight of the paper. If you are shredding heavy sheets or card stock you would need to adjust the sheets accordingly to make sure they do not jam the cutting blades. However, if any paper or sheet gets jammed in the process, simply back the paper using the reverse switch.

  3. Don’t Run the Paper Shredder Without a Break

    Paper shredders are not designed for non-stop use so if you are doing it, it will shorten the service life of the machine and adversely impact the functioning. Even a heavy-duty paper shredder that with continuous rated motor needs a break and overuse can deteriorate parts. High-quality paper shredders come with a warranty which typically varies from manufacturer to manufacturer so make sure you read all the instructions carefully and keep the purchase receipt safely in case you need repairs during the warranty period.

  4. Clean the Shredder When Not in Use

    Unplug the shredder before cleaning it and once it is off, remove the lid from the main container. You can also consult the instruction manual if you are having any trouble but in most cases, you simply lift the lid and clean off the dust with a cloth or a paper towel. If you see any ink smudges, you can also use dish soap diluted in lukewarm water but do not pour the solution on the shredder directly. Dip the paper cloth or towel in the solution and wring it out so that it does not drip on the shredder. You can then use the paper towel to wipe off the ink and any residue from the shredder and let it air dry. Paper shredder maintenance will ensure that you enjoy stress-free service so clean your paper shredder often and take good care of the machine.