If your paper shredder has been making some odd noises lately, or you’ve found it’s not working as quickly as it used to, it might be time to invest in some maintenance and learn how to oil a paper shredder. Using shredder oil or shredder lubricant is often an important part of keeping shredders in top condition.
Unfortunately, a lot of people forget about this kind of maintenance when they add a shredder to their home office. It’s when you start to notice problems with the performance that you might remember that you do need to consider regular oiling.
Here’s what you need to know to keep your shredder working properly.
Hey, did you know you're supposed to oil your paper shredder? I sure didn't. #til
— untitled goose greg (@ivanvector) February 15, 2014
Do All Shredders Need Lubricant?
It’s not just expensive or old-fashioned shredders that require regular lubrication. Paper shredders work best when the blades inside can move freely. Taking the time to oil your shredder means that you can keep the blades in better condition.
Over time, paper can damage the performance of your standard shredder, generating dust and debris. The addition of oil means that you should be able to enjoy your cross-cut and zig-zag pattern shredders with no paper jams or problems.
The frequency with which you should use a lubricant to remove dust and debris from your shredders depends on a number of things. Generally, manufacturers recommend keeping a bottle of oil handy, so you can oil the machine every time you go through a period of intensive use.
Check the instruction manual for tips on oiling for your machine and insights into the kind of lubricants you can order, such as shredder oil sheets.
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What Kind of Oil Do You Use For a Paper Shredder?
If you’re not used to buying lubrication oil for your shredder, and your bin has been full for a while now, you might be wondering which products are best for your machine. You can often find oils online that are specifically designed for shredders and their blades. You can also check the manufacturer’s website for an article or FAQ page that shows you which lubricant to use.
If you can’t find dedicated lubricants for your shredder cutting blades, there are alternative oils available. Some people use a bottle of vegetable oil, carefully applied to reduce clogging. Aside from vegetable oil and shredder oil, you could also look into canola oil.
Avoid using any shredder oil that’s not recommended by the instructions in your shredders. You don’t want to cause damage or paper jams.
The shredder is squeaking and I'm out of shredder oil sheets. Uh oh.
— Sally M (@proverbial_one) October 4, 2012
Can You Use WD40 on a Paper Shredder?
There are many kinds of canola oil and dedicated shredder oils you can use to keep your device in good condition. However, there are also options that are best to avoid. Even if your cross-cut shredders have been struggling for a while, don’t use WD40 on the device.
Universal lubricants like WD40 don’t provide the right lubricating experience for your shredder. The penetrating oil can damage the blades and make paper entry and cross-cut shredding more difficult in the future. Even if you have this oil on hand for other tools, it’s best to stick to alternative home options like vegetable or canola oil.
How to Oil Your Paper Shredder
Once you’ve checked the instructions and shredder information to determine the kind of oil you can use, you’re ready to get to work.
Remove any shredded documents from the bin, and avoid shredding any A4 paper (besides shredder sheet options) while you’re maintaining the device.
Grab the bottle you’re using for application and hold the reverse button on the shredder to keep it running for about ten seconds. At that point, turn off your shredders and pour the lubricant into the paper input area. Follow left to right smooth motion with your lubricants, thoroughly oiling the blades.
You can put some documents through the shredder afterwards to clean away excess oil. Don’t cover your blades in water, as this can cause rust.
DIY Oil Sheets
If using a bottle application of oil doesn’t appeal to you, there are other ways to improve the life of your shredder. If you don’t have shredder oil sheets, you can make your own with two sheets of A4 paper. Apply a thin amount of oil from left to right in the sheet without completely soaking the paper. Allow the oil to settle for a few seconds and follow the same instructions above.
Turn the reverse function on your shredder blades, and shred the sheets of paper, avoiding any oil spillage as you feed the paper into the paper entry system. You can use the cross-cut function during this maintenance process. Turn the reverse function on again and allow the shredder to rotate for another 30 seconds for optimum lubrication.
Shredder Oil Sheets
If you’re still unsure about the best way to oil paper shredders, you may feel most comfortable using lubrication sheets that are designed to make maintenance easy. These sheets get rid of dust and debris easily. You also don’t have to worry about getting oil on the document you shred for security purposes.
Maintaining Your Shredders with Oiling
A shredder can be a valuable security product for any homeowner or professional. The right paper shredders eliminate the old fashioned story of having to shred documents and article content manually with a pair of scissors. However, paper shredders of all shapes and sizes do require regular care and oiling to operate properly. In the same way, you would oil the components of a car to keep it running as it should; you must apply regular oil like canola oil to your paper shredders from time to time.
Thanks for reminding me: must oil paper shredder! #swoon
— Rob Roglev (@velgor) January 19, 2017
An Oil in Time Saves Nine
Keep in mind that knowing how to oil a paper shredder is important. You can’t sharpen shredder blades like you would a knife or pair of scissors. Oiling paper shredders help to remove dust and even elements of rust. It is the best way to avoid having to replace your paper shredder entirely.