Paper Shredder Maintenance




All paper shredders need care and maintenance. If yours is a small home shredder, a mid-size office paper shredder, or a large, industrial shredder, it is very important to keep the shredder properly maintained for longer life, and to keep your paper shredder working at best capacity.
Keeping your shredder in good operating condition will keep your shredder working longer for you and also keep your troubleshooting time to a minimum.


KEEP Shredder BELOW “Maximum Sheet Capacity”

Get to know your shredder’s capacity. The maximum page capacity will be less in most cases than the brochure, depending upon the weight of the paper, type of material being shredded, and other variables. A published 10-sheet capacity may be for light weight paper. If thicker paper is being shredded adjust accordingly. Always test the shredder, starting with 1 or 2 sheets (for home shredders), or about ½ the maximum capacity for larger office shredders. This will help the operator to determine how much the shredder will handle without straining the gears, motor, and blades. You may also want to upgrade to a larger shredder


Paper Clips and Staples

Many paper shredder instructions say paper clips and staples are ok to shred. This is problematic if there are too many sheets paper clipped, or stapled together for the capacity of your shredder. Keep this in mind when shredding and be mindful of the thickness of the bundle you are trying to shred.


Use Caution When Shredding Plastic Material

Many users cannot wait to start shredding their accumulated paper and other material. One common cause of problems is shredding plastic material such as credit cards, or sheet protectors. advises that while some shredders can handle these objects, many smaller models will have problems with plastic. This can occur when the blades are hot from shredding paper and the plastic melts on the hot blades. This can ruin small home shredder blades. IF your shredder says it can handle plastic, it is best to shred with one sheet of paper on the top and bottom of the plastic you are attempting to shred. Also, to avoid hot blades, shred any plastic items before you have shredded for an extended period of time.


Empty the Shredder Container

Do not allow the shredder bag to become too full of shredded debris. Shreds of paper can be drawn back up and accumulate around the blades, causing jams which can weaken or break the gears. Jams also place more strain on the motor. Check the shredder container frequently and empty before the shredded paper gets to the top. Note: A strip-cut shredder will fill up the container faster than a cross-cut.


Give the Paper Shredder a Rest

If there is a lot of shredding built up, be sure to stop shredding and let the shredder rest and cool for a while. (Time would depend upon the size of the shredder) This action, along with back-flushing the blades will help the paper shredder to last much longer.


Back-flushing the Shredder Blades

After running the shredder for a while, the blades should be run in reverse for a few seconds. (Check the container fullness, mashing the debris down, if necessary, before back-flushing) This action will help clean the shredded debris from the blades. Back-flushing the blades is also done when oiling the shredder.



Oiling a paper shredder is very easy and extremely important to the life of the blades, gears and motor. As with any quality piece of machinery, your  shredder will last longer, have less wear and tear, and lower the overall cost of repairs and maintenance.