How to Oil a Paper Shredder

Did you know that you need to periodically need to oil a paper shredder?

Using a paper shredder creates some dust and debris that might end up clogging the blades of your shredder?

That alone will affect how your shredder performs.

If you want to avoid this (and keep your machine at its optimal performance at all times), you should acknowledge regular oiling and lubricating it as part of the routine maintenance.

Follow the simple steps outlined below to keep your shredder properly oiled at all times:

Note: I’ll introduce you to two main oiling methods so that you can pick the one that best appeals to you.

Let’s go:

Method One: Using Oil on Paper

Zig Zag Oil on paper shredder
  • Assuming you already have a piece of paper (A4 or letter size works best), place it on a surface that you can easily wipe off the oil afterward. This is important because some oil might spill on the surface when working.
  • Next, obtain the right oil for your paper shredder. Usually, your machine comes with the manufacturer recommend oil. Getting this oil is easy as buying it from your manufacturer or even local stores.

(More details on the right oil for your paper shredder coming up).

  • Drizzle the oil on the surface of your paper in a zigzag manner. Avoid saturating your paper or applying too much oil as things might get a bit messy.

Ensure the zigzags stretch from side to side for maximum coverage.

  • Now turn on your machine and run the oiled paper through it to shred it. Do this as you normally do when destroying your confidential materials.

The idea here is: the paper will get shredded, and in that process, the oil will coat your cutters which will then redistribute the oil. This will keep your machine running smoothly.

As a side note, always ensure the paper does not get creased or damaged as this might result in malfunctioning of your device.

  • As a final step, consider feeding your shredder with a few more papers to help absorbs any extra oil that might have been left on the blades.

Method Two: Oiling a Paper Shredder Without The Paper

Oil the blades of a paper shredder

Our second approach does not involve using any paper, so we call it oiling a paper shredder without the paper…

  • Of course, the first step involves obtaining the manufacturers’ approved oil. Different shredders have been designed to use different oils, and your manufacturers should state the particular oil for your model in the user guide (We’ll discuss the shredder oil in details later).
  • Now set your shredder to the manual mode; this makes it easy for you to control the direction of rotation of the blades as well as the length of time they’ll be rotating.

This is necessary when oiling your machine.

  • With the shredder turned off, apply a line of oil across the length of the paper entry. This ensures that the used oil touches on all the cutting blades of your machine.
  • At this point, run your machine in reverse button- by just pressing the Reverse button. Hold down the button for around 10-20 seconds before stopping the cutters, to ensure your oil gets fully redistributed around the entire cutter assembly.
  • When you’re done, it’s time to turn your machine off, restart it to set it back to automatic mode to prepare it for normal use.
  • As with our previous paper method, the final step you ought to take is feeding your shredder with several pieces of papers to help absorb all the extra oil that might have been left on the blades.

Bonus Tips:

1. What Type Of Oil Should You Use For Your Paper Shredder?

paper shredder oil

AVOID using aerosol oils to lubricate your shredder at all costs. As you know, such oils are petroleum-based and might cause serious fire hazards.

So, which is the best oils to use with your shredder?

Only go for the vegetable-based oils.

Usually, different manufacturers specify the various types of oils to use with their shredders. You can obtain the oil for your shredder from your manufacturers.

2. How Often Should You Oil Your Shredder?

As we’ve mentioned at the ginning of this post, you ought to make oiling/lubricating part of your shredder maintenance.

But how frequently should that be?

Whenever your notice that your device is struggling to shred or hanging/jamming frequently, it’s definitely the right time to oil it.

If you rarely use your shredder, then consider oiling it at least once after every two months to keep it at its peak performance.

And if you use it regularly, then I’d advise you to oil it whenever you empty the recycle bin. Since some models come with extra-large bibs that take months to fill, you can also consider oiling your machine several times per week.

All in all, the frequency of oiling heavily depends on the frequency of use of your device or if you suspect it’s having difficulties shredding papers- some manufacturer will even recommend you to oil your machine after every 30 minutes of cumulative running!

If you’re using a cross-cut type of shredder, it might require oiling more often as it tends to create more dust.

Conclusion on How to Oil a Paper Shredder

We can’t stress enough the benefits that come with properly oiling your paper shredder. It’s a simple, exercise that only takes a few minutes but will ensure that your machine remains at its best at all times.

When oiling your machine, always remember to use the vegetable-based (or the manufacturer-recommend) oils. Avoid using the petroleum-based ones.

If your shredder is always running, consider oiling it every time you empty the recycle bin.

And if you occasionally use it, oiling it once every two months is enough to keep it rolling smoothly.

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  1. […] you let the blade get too dull, the paper will start jamming as you pass it through the shredder. Oiling the blades will ensure they give the best […]

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