Got yourself into a jam? We’re here to help resolve this situation and hopefully prevent it from happening again. Let’s explore how to clear a jammed paper shredder, including some basic troubleshooting and tips to prevent it.
Signs of a Jam Problem
Before you power off the machine, take a look at the below symptoms to see if you’ve been encountering shredder jams.
- Gets stuck in the reverse mode
- Doesn’t properly shred the paper each time
- Pulls paper to one side or doesn’t pull it at all
- Only works for a portion of a shredding session
- Blinking indicator informs you of jammed paper
- It won’t cut the paper
- Machine makes high pitch noises during use
paper shredder noises 2+ hours loop w/ paper jam noises included
— catboy girlfriend (@grimoirebf) October 29, 2020
How to Clear a Jammed Paper Shredder
If you’re using your paper shredder to discover that it starts jamming, here are some safe and effective ways to remove the shredder paper without any damage.
1. Switch off the Shredder
First and foremost, unplug the shredder from the socket, making sure that there’s no electricity or power to the source. Be extra precautious about this step, as you could experience a home fire, or worst-case scenario, injure your fingers.
Some shredders have an auto-on mode, so keeping it switched off will reduce any safety hazards.
2. Empty the Paper Bin
Often, paper shredders can become jammed if the paper bin is too full, causing the paper to push up into the machine. After emptying it out, if you find that the shredder still doesn’t continue working once you’ve plugged it in and switched it on, then there could be a fault with the actual bin.
3. Take the Top off the Shredder
Next, take the top off of the shredder. This should be easy to do. Ensure that you’re not pulling the shredder. Once you’ve removed the lid, you can take a glance into the device to evaluate if you can see what’s causing the jam.
Went to use my mums paper shredder today… found a major jam.
I’ve been working on it with a pair of tweezers for an hour… please send wine 🍷 pic.twitter.com/72UPZdEGvF
— Amy Robinson (@the_conical) July 31, 2020
4. Run the Shredder in Reverse
If you encounter paper jams frequently, switch the shredder to the reverse function. The reverse switch should be clearly labelled on top of the machine. When you’ve located it, keep the shredder in reverse for around three seconds to help to eradicate paper jams. Once the shredder starts reversing, pull the loose pieces of paper from the shredder.
5. Switch Between Reverse and Auto Forward Mode
If reversing the paper shredder isn’t enough to remove the jammed paper, you can try switching between the reverse button and auto-forward mode for three seconds each. This method can help to dislodge the paper jam from the shredder blades.
See if this process has loosened the jammed documents. Pull them out from the shredder and try to resume shredding to check if the jam has cleared.
Useful Tips to Preventing a Shredder Jam in the First Place
A jammed shredder can be a big problem to fix, and the best action is to prevent its cause in the first place. Here are some tips to use with business and home shredders.
Don’t Overfeed the Machine
We get it. You want to get the shredding job in the office done in a short amount of time. But loading the shredder with too many sheets of paper can create a jam. Instead, check the machine’s sheet capacity before you use it to ensure that you don’t exceed the recommended number of sheets. Some shredders can only take two sheets at a time, so don’t go beyond this because if it jams, you might end up wasting more time fixing the shredder.
I’ve got a paper shredder jam that’s going to require an exorcism to fix. pic.twitter.com/JugN3sdJot
— Steve Olivas (@steveolivas) January 28, 2021
Stick to the Recommended Materials
Not all shredders can shred the same materials. Most of the best machines will accommodate paper clips, CDs, and credit cards. But you should always check the materials it can accept. Otherwise, you can cause some serious damage to the cutters and at worst, you may even injure yourself.
Use Shredder Oil Often
Caring for your shredder’s blades can help to make your machine jam-proof. Regularly oiling it can encourage the blades to move freely and smoothly, extending the machine’s life. Word of warning – if you encounter a paper jam, don’t use cooking oil or other oil that’s not specifically suited for the shredder.
Don’t Get Caught in a Jam
Knowing how to clear a jammed paper shredder is vital in any office or home settings. But above everything else, always exercise safety and caution when dealing with a paper jam.
Do you have any advice on getting out of a paper jam situation at the office? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Amy is a U.K.-based writer and editor with a penchant for helping consumers find the best home products for their needs, as well as providing easily digestible guides for living better at home. Her dedication to her work means she can usually be found elbow-deep in research or hunting down samples of the latest and greatest on behalf of her readers.
An avid DIYer herself, Amy’s passion lies in teaching others how they too can achieve their dream homes by tackling some of those pesky projects themselves! Whether it’s building furniture from scratch or turning an old dresser into a coffee table, Amy is always happy to share what she knows about making your house feel like home without spending a fortune.