How to maintain and clean a document shredder

A document shredder is an excellent tool for destroying confidential information in a short span of time which makes them essential for businesses of all sizes. But as they’re simple to use, their maintenance and cleaning often goes neglected. What regular users of this device aren’t aware of is that they can prolong its life with basic care, periodic maintenance and adequate cleaning.

While the issue of ‘paper jams’ can be addressed by tapping the reverse button a couple of times (that should prompt the blades to release the papers which would fall into the waste basket by themselves), proper document shredder maintenance requires extra work. Below we’ve listed the important steps you need to take to achieve optimal shredding.

Lubricate the shredder

Document shredders should be occasionally lubricated with high-quality shedder oil to ensure a prolonged lifespan for its cutting heads. In addition to increasing its service yeas, timely lubrication should also prevent motor burn outs. Additionally, it should be able to remove the hardness of the sediments that might have accumulated near the blade and allow free movement of the cutting head. Document shredders can be oiled once a week. Once a day works too if they’re being heavily used. Cross cut shredders need more oiling than strip cut shredders as they produce finer particles of dust.

Also, oiling should be carried out when the document shredder is not functioning by holding the lubricant over the shredder’s blades and squeezing them through the opening’s length. The entire process takes a couple of minutes and once the oiling has taken place, the user should run the shredder in reverse function so that the oil gets transferred to all blades in uniformity. Lastly, once the oiling ends, remove any excess strains by running a few pieces of paper through the shredder.

Get It Serviced for Runtime

Unless your machine is designed to operate continuously, it would function for a specific period, and then it’ll have to shut down to prevent overheating. Even the models that are promoted for the capability to run continuously need a break now and then. To ensure optimal run time, have the vendor’s technician visit and service the machine now and then. Make sure you call the technician regularly, with the first call happening after the month of your purchase.

To discover the run time of your document shredder, read through its manual. If the runtime isn’t mentioned on the manual, it might be worth getting in touch with the technician to find that out. Additionally, there are a few steps you can take yourself to ensure the shredder keeps functioning at peak capacity. For instance, users are advised to never go overboard with the shredding capacity of their equipment. Shredding too much could result in paper jams. Moreover, shredding a lot is hard on the shredder’s resources and could significantly reduce runtime if you’re not careful.

Unplug when it’s not in use

The shredder shouldn’t be plugged into a power switch when it’s not in use. Take unplugging as an opportunity to clean the machine from inside out (and remove the container’s main lid before doing so). You can refer to the manual for instructions if you have difficulties but in most instances, you can wipe the dust off by lifting the lid and using a paper towel or cloth. If you spot an ink smudge, soap in lukewarm water (diluted) can also be applied for all the cleaning.

Of course, you shouldn’t directly pour the liquid onto the shredder, especially if it’s near a power plug (that could lead to an electricity outage). Moreover, dip the towel or paper cloth in the liquid and wring things out so that it doesn’t get dripped. The paper towel can then be used to clean the ink off as well as any residue before you leave it for air drying. Another thing you can do during this process is take out the plastic paper guard from the slot of the feed. Use a dull blade or a butter knife to take off the guard (strictly when you’re unable to remove it using your fingers).

Don’t forget the waste bin

This step is self-explanatory and there’s a good chance that you’ve already attempted it several times. The bin of the shredder should just be taken near a trash and disposed. But before you do, check whether the piles of paper you put in have been destroyed completely (preferably beyond unreadable). If that isn’t possible, or if there’s another way to clean it, you should carefully go through the manual and ensure you are correctly using the paper manual. Or, purchase a high-end version of a shredder, like a micro-cut instead of a cross-cut.

Another helpful step is to use clear plastic for the waste bin of the shedder. Clear plastic is almost a necessity for micro-cut shredders, which are quite easy to fly away and often suffer mess up of spaces. Moreover, it’s often frustrating to have leftovers at the shredder waste bin’s edge. Making the dustbin of the shredder would prevent it from overload, which is often the cause of paper jams and reverse shredding. The shapeup of the waste bin significantly correlates to the future performance of the shredder.

Go back to auto/forward if the shredder keeps jamming in reverse

If there is a minor jam in your shredder, reversing its function will resolve the matter. However, in worst case scenario, the shredder could jam again while in reverse function. If that happens, unplug the shredder, put it in forward or auto mode, and plug it in once again.

Also, know that you might have to alternate between reverse and auto. A jam that is worse enough to cause the shredder to gum up when it is functioning in reverse might also be worse enough to jam it once again when the shredder is running forward once again. That said, by switching between reverse and forward, it’s mostly possible to work a paper out of shredder jam if you work on it gradually.

Bottom line

By taking the above mentioned steps, you’d be able to keep your shredder in tip top condition, which also means less expense, as you won’t need to invest in a new one till long.