No office is complete without a paper shredder, and with so many working from home today, and the importance of security when disposing of sensitive documents such as bank statements and government correspondence, it seems no home is complete with one either.
When buying a shredder, making the right choice for capacity, performance, security of cut and so on is crucial, but very few of us think about how to clean a paper shredder until we have one and it needs cleaning! In fact, shredder cleaning and maintenance is really important in keeping it operating properly, but aside from a few paper shredder maintenance tips in the user manual that comes with your device, there is little information out there about what you should do.
How to Maintain and Clean a Paper Shredder?
There are three things to think about when it comes to shredder cleaning and maintenance. The waste basics, the blades and the paper slot. The first thing to think about is the waste basket. On most shredders this is removable, once finished shredding, or if it is full, unclip from the machine, and empty into the trash, recycling bin or wherever you store paper. If there are tiny pieces left inside, you can wipe it down with a cloth to clean any leftovers.
The exterior can be wiped over with a damp cloth to remove dust and spills. Always be a little careful around the paper slot, unless you want a shredded cloth its bet to have the machine turned off during cleaning for instance.
Dealing with the Blades
The waste bin is easy enough, but when we talk about how to clean a paper shredder, it is generally not the waste basket being discussed. Instead, it’s the cutting blades and mechanism that draws the paper in and shreds it. You should clean out the blades about once a month, a bit more often if you do a lot of shredding, but before doing anything with your machine, remember to turn the power off and remove the plug from the outlet. Because most shredders are auto start and stop, it is easy to forget there is power going to it, and the last thing you want is the mechanism to start up with your fingers nearby.
Once everything is safe, remove the waste basket and take a look at the blades. You will probably find lots of paper particles stuck in there. Carefully pull out everything you can reach, then take a can of compressed air, one used for cleaning keyboards is ideal, and give the blades a good spray. This removes any dust and build up within the mechanism to keep operation smooth.
Once the blades are clean, it’s a great time to lubricate the shredding mechanism. This does depend on your shredder, check the manufacturer’s instructions as to when or if you should lubricate things, but most recommend doing so. It’s an easy thing to do, just apply a small amount of shredder oil as per recommendations, then run the machine in reverse for 15 to 20 seconds to ensure an even coating.
Always use genuine shredder oil, it isn’t expensive and is created for the job. Don’t be tempted to use WD-40, canola oil or any other lubricant you may have around, they can have the opposite effect and ruin the shredder as they are not designed for this kind of use.
That really is it for the blades, so now you know how to clean a paper shredder, there is no excuse for leaving yours full of old paper and mess.
Paper Shredder Maintenance Tips
Now you know how to clean a paper shredder, there are some things you can do to make sure you spend less time shredder cleaning. When carrying out volume shredding, always run the shredder in reverse every so often, as this prevents paper build up in the blades, reducing the chances of jams but also making it easier to clean up afterwards too. Just because you know how to clean shredder blades, doesn’t mean you should have to be doing it all the time after all.
Check the instructions for oiling tips, and then see how frequently that needs to be done. Oiling can extend the life of your shredder, especially if you have a high volume of shredding, so following the recommendations here can save money in the long run.
If you have a particularly large volume of shredding in once session, clean and oil the blades after even its before your normal schedule. It will keep your machine performing better and prevent paper build up, reducing the jams you may experience.
Shredder cleaning doesn’t have to be a long process if you keep on top of the situation. Once you know how to clean a paper shredder, you can make sure your machine works better and lasts longer.