How to Clean a Paper Shredder

How to Clean a Paper Shredder

To get rid of unwanted paper, you need a paper shredder to get the job done in a flash. Furthermore, it prevents you from becoming the victim of ID theft at the same time.

However, even with the best micro-cut shredder in the office or home, you need to keep it maintained to prevent paper jams. On the other hand, you want it to last a long time as you have invested much money on it.

Therefore, preventative measures are the best. So how do you clean a paper shredder to keep it working all the time? Find all the answers to your questions here with us.

How to Clean a Paper Shredder
How to Clean a Paper Shredder

The Correct Way to Clean a Paper Shredder

The first thing you need to understand is what your shredder can do as each model has different capacities. It helps if you learn how the paper cut affects the bin fills. Furthermore, you need to know how the machine handles multiple pages at the same time.

Therefore, if you have a cross-cut model, it cuts paper into strips while a micro-cut model cuts particles into tiny bits. On the other hand, you may have a machine able to shred credit cards and discs.

Understanding the features determines how you need to use your paper shredder to prevent jams from happening. To help avoid these mishaps even further is to keep the machine clean.

You can do this by making sure the equipment is unplugged from the power outlet why you do not want to end up shredding your fingers instead of paper.

Once powered off, you can start with the disassemble process!

Now that the paper shredder is off, you can remove the shredding head from the wastebasket. Off course, this all depends on the model you have as some machines offer you a slide-out bin.

So make sure to check the instruction manual on how to remove the two parts from one another. In most cases, the top section lifts off, but if you are struggling, do not force it as you can break the shredder.

You may find it has a locking mechanism in place to keep the cutting section secure. The general rule is to give the office machine a good cleaning once a month, depending on how much the workload is.

If you use it only to shred paper, you can still prolong the cleaning process for more than a month. However, if you shred discs, plastic cards, and documents, we recommend you clean it at least once a month.

For an appliance that only shreds paper, you can clean off ink smudges and dust using paper towel or a cloth. Furthermore, you can mix a teaspoon of dish soap with lukewarm water or use rubbing alcohol or vinegar.

Clean the shredder blades while you are cleaning the exterior and interior of the machine!

Now that you already have the blade assembly apart from the bin section, you can clean the shredder blades. You can do this using a tweezer or pliers to remove particles from the knives.

After the remnants are removed, you can use a tin of compressed air to clean out smaller pieces and dust from the blades.

Once completing the step, you can start using your cleaning solution to remove the remaining dust and ink found on the interior and exterior housing.

Method for using water and dish soap:

If you plan to use this mixture, make sure to mix the solution in a cereal-sized bowl with a spoon. Now dip the cloth inside the liquid and wring it out to prevent dripping.

Using rubbing alcohol or vinegar:

When using the rubbing alcohol or vinegar, you can pour the solution on a cloth but never directly on the machine. Take the fabric with the solvent on (soap, vinegar, or alcohol) and wipe off the grime.

Then use a clean cloth to remove the residue and leave the machine to dry. For cleaning hard to reach or sharp areas, you can use a cotton swab.

Time to lubricate the shredder knives

Here the opinions of one supplier vary to another when it comes to oiling the blades. Shredder oil can be expensive if you keep to the brand, but vegetable oil works as well.

By keeping the blades lubricated, it expands the use of the machine, and we recommend you oil it every time you empty the bin. Many manufacturers do not recommend canola oil as it becomes rancid in warm conditions.

Alternatively, you can use lubricant sheets made for the equipment.  Furthermore, when oiling, make sure not to overdo it. Spread the lubricant lightly over the blades and gears as per the instructions in the manual.

Now that you have completed the process of cleaning your paper shredder, it is time to power it on and put through some pieces of paper to remove excess oil from the blades.

You are done and can go ahead with your workload and should last you another month before it is time to give it a thorough cleaning again.

Other Maintenance Tips You Can Follow

While the mentioned tips help you to prolong the paper shredders use, there are other things you can do throughout the month as well. Try to set up an office schedule to empty the wastebasket depending on the volume of bin you have.

The paper bin needs cleaning at least once a month or once a week. You may find you need to throw out the paper waste once a day as well. By keeping the basket clean, it prevents paper jams leaving enough space for the shreds to feed through to the waste bin.

Occasionally use the equipment in reverse as it prevents the blades from filling up with the paper leading to paper jams. By following these simple steps, you can use your paper shredder for years without it breaking or jamming.