How to Maintain a Paper Shredder
Paper shredders are an essential part of home security. If you don’t shred documents before you put them in the trash, thieves could get hold of your confidential information. You could end up being a victim of identity theft.
If you use a shredder in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and you maintain it, a paper shredder will last many years. If you abuse it, though, you are soon going to need to buy a new paper shredder!
Here are some basic paper shredder maintenance tips. And, some advice on what to do about paper jams.
Main image: Fellowes Powershred 79Ci
Maintaining Your Home Shredder
1. Read the Manual!
If you recently bought a home a paper shredder, the first thing you must do is read the user manual.
Different shredders have different capacities. Your home shredder may be very different to the shredder you use at work.
Find out how many pages you can feed into the shredder at once. Check the maximum running time and check the required cool-down time. Also, check what will go through the shredder, and what will not.
Not using a shredder in accordance with the instructions will shorten the life of the machine.
2. Keep the Shredder Blades Clean
Dust and paper debris can accumulate around the shredder blades over time. If you let that build up, the shredder will not operate efficiently. In time, accumulated debris could damage the blades.
Clean the shredder blades once a month. Remove the larger pieces of paper from the blades, and then use a vacuum cleaner to clean out the dust.
3. Run the Shredder in Reverse Occasionally
Occasionally run the shredder in reverse to stop it clogging up with pieces of a paper.
If you do this every week and after each big shredding job, it will help stop the blades getting clogged up with paper debris.
4. Lubricate the Shredder with Lubricant Sheets
Lubricating the blades of your paper shredder will keep it running smoothly.
The easiest way to do this is to use paper shredder lubricant sheets. These sheets will lubricate and sharpen blades, and reduce static dust build up.
If you run a lubricant sheet through your shredder each time you empty the bin, it will lengthen the life of the paper shredder.
5. Don’t Let the Bin Get Too Full Up
Don’t let the bin get so full that it starts to stop the shredded paper flowing through the machine.
How often you need to empty the bin will depend on the amount of shredding you do. But, empty the bin before the waste paper reaches the top.
How to Deal with Paper Shredder Jams
Paper shredder jams are usually caused by feeding too much paper into the machine. They can also occur if the bin is too full. Paper jams put a strain on the motor and could damage the shredder.
Here’s how to deal with a paper shredder jam.
1. Check the safety Lights
If your paper shredder stops working, the first thing to do is check the warning lights.
Your shredder may have cut out because it has overheated. If that is the case, you will need to leave it for a while to cool down. Your user manual will tell you how long your shredder needs to cool down.
2. Run the Shredder in Reverse
If the shredder hasn’t overheated and paper has got jammed in the machine, run it in reverse. This will clear most small paper jams.
3. Switch Between Reverse and Forward
If running the shredder in reverse doesn’t clear the jam, try alternating between reverse and forward. Switching between the two will usually clear the more stubborn jams.
4. Unplug the Shredder before Opening It
If you need to open the shredder to unjam it, you must unplug it first.
Never do any kind of maintenance on a paper shredder while it is switched on and plugged in.
5. Open the Shredder and Clear Any Jammed Paper
Once you have switched off the shredder and taken the top off, you can begin to free the jammed paper from the blades.
Pull jammed pieces of paper from the blades using tweezers to get the small bits. Make sure you get any bits of metal from staples or paper clips out as well.
If some paper has wound its way wound the blades, use scissors to the cut the paper. Avoid using brute-force to yank the paper out as this could damage the machine.
6. Run a Single Sheet Through the Shredder to Test It
When you have cleared the jam, test the shredder by running a single sheet through the machine.
If it jams again, you missed something!
7. Lubricates the Blades
When your shredder is running smoothly again, run a lubricant sheet through the shredder before you start using the machine again.
The jam is likely to have removed any residual lubricating oil that was on the blades.
Tips on How to Prevent Paper Shredder jams
If your paper shredder jams, it’s a good idea to work out why out jammed. Then, you can void it happening again.
Here are a few tips on how to avoid paper shredder jams.
1. Don’t Overfeed the Shredder
The first and most obvious way to avoid jams is not to feed too much paper into your shredder.
If your shredder is a 12-sheet shredder, don’t try to feed in 20 sheets in one go!
2. Don’t Shred the Wrong Types of Materials
Some shredders will shred CDs and credit cards. They will usually have a special slot for this. If your shredder is not designed to shred materials like this, don’t try to do it.
Avoid putting anything other than paper through your shredder. Fabric and plastic wrapping, for example, will wrap around the blades and jam your shredder.
3. Avoid Adhesives
Avoid shredding anything with adhesive labels on. The adhesive will get stuck on the blades and clog up the machine.
4. Don’t Feed Paper in Too Fast
If you try to feed in too many pieces paper one after the other, you are likely to get ahead of yourself and end up with too much paper going through the machine at the same time.
Feed the sheets of paper in slowly. Allow each batch of paper to go all the way through before starting the next batch.
5. Check the Paper for Large paper Clips and Staples.
Most modern paper shredders will handle small paper clips and staples. They may not, though, be able to deal with large ones.
Check the paper before you shred it to make sure there are no objects attached that will jam your paper shredder.
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