We can’t stress enough the need to own a high-quality paper shredder. However, occasionally, they will get jammed up and then you have to unjam a paper shredder.
Sadly, failing to maintain your shredder properly or overloading it may result in frequent jams. This is the root of the inconvenience to users of these important machines.
If you’ve ever encountered this incidence or you’re planning to invest in a new shredder, below are some great tips on how to correctly clean and unjam your paper shredder (and keep it at its peak performance at all times).
We’ll start with the cleaning part:
How To Clean Your Paper Shredder
1. Before you conduct any cleaning on your shredder, make sure you power it off and unplug it. The last thing you want to do with your machine is shredding your fingers.
2. Once you’ve turned your machine off, you can now disassemble it (a relatively easy process), by removing the lid from the main container. In most models, you can do this by lifting it off.
However, if you experience some problems removing the lid, don’t force the parts to disassemble as you might break your machine. Consulting your user manual will help you quickly and safely do this.
3. Cleaning your paper doesn’t take up much time as the only thing you feed it with is paper sheets. Now that the blades of your unit are well exposed, clean off any dust and ink smudges on them using a piece of fabric or paper towel.
Also, remove any pieces of paper stuck between the shredder blades.
You can then use a teaspoon of dish soap mixed with lukewarm water, rubbing alcohol, or regular vinegar.
In case you’re using a dish soap solution, mix it in a small bowl. Then dip a piece of cloth or paper towel inside and wring it before using on your machine to prevent it from dripping wet.
For the rubbing alcohol or regular vinegar, just pour your solution to the cloth directly (but NOT directly on your machine).
To clean the blades or other hard to reach areas, you might consider using a cotton swab.
Word of Caution: The blades of your shredder are extremely sharp, and you should be careful as much as possible when washing it to avoid sustaining cuts on your hands.
4. Use some clean paper towel or cloth to wipe off any residue left by the cleaning solution. Allow your machine to dry or manually dry it using a dry piece of cloth or paper towel.
5. Eventually, reassemble your device. Place/screw back the case and then press then snap the slot guard back into position.
Your machine is now clean and ready for use again!
What Might Have Caused Your Machine To Jam And What To Do About It?
If your shredder decides to jam, don’t force it to do anything. Trying to force the motor or the papers to run would simply cause your stripped/gear belt to break down, rendering your machine entirely non-functional.
So, what should you do to unjam a paper shredder?
The main causes of a jammed paper shredder include (and how to fix them) include:
1. Feeding your machine with too many papers at a time
This is probably the most common reason for jamming of shredders. Feeding it with too many papers than it can handle will undoubtedly result in a jam.
In such cases, check if your machine comes with the reverse button. Press this button- the papers will get back out, and you will unjam a paper shredder.
What if your model lacks this button? No worries. You can still solve the problem by squirting some oil along the machine mouth. Give the oil about 15 minutes to soften the paper sheets and allow them to come out easily.
If the above hacks fail, unplug your machine, remove the head, and try gently pulling your papers from the machine.
2. Shredding other items might also bring your shredder to a halt
Nowadays, you’ll find advanced shredders capable of shredding other materials- like CDs, DVDs, credit cards, etc. Unfortunately, not all models can do this. For instance, a crosscut shredder can’t handle thick plastic.
If you attempt to shred other items and your machine fails, unplug your device. You can then use a needle to take these things out of your machine easily.
If this doesn’t help, don’t hesitate to remove your unit’s head and pull out all the materials inside.
3. If your machine lacks oil, it will definitely fail when you’re in the middle of shredding
As you know, it’s always advisable to keep your machine full of oil to keep it running smoothly. If you notice your machine starting to run slowly and with some difficulties (like jamming), that’s a sign of lack of oil.
The solution here to unjam a paper shredder is pretty simple and lies in filling your machine with oil. Simply squirt some oil on the blades to enable them to function properly.
You can also opt to put some oil on the paper and let them run through the shredder. Check out our article on how to oil your paper shredder.
Check whether your machine has a reverse button and press it for several seconds after oiling the blades to bring your machine back to normal again.
NOTE: Avoid using other oils on your machine- e.g. vegetable oil, car oil, etc. – as these might badly damage your machine.
This video might help:
If it is still jammed or not working make sure to check out our article on things to check on when your shredder is not working.
Conclusion On How To Unjam A Paper Shredder
Taking care of your paper shredder ensures that it stays true to its intended purpose- shredding papers without any problems.
Always ensure you clean your paper shredder on a regular basis to help remove tiny pieces of paper, dust, ink smudges, and other foreign objects that might affect its overall performance.
In case your paper shredder jams, don’t panic. Follow our helpful tips above on how to unjam a paper shredder and your device will be back to shredding ASAP!