How To Clean A Paper Shredder For Better Performance

A paper shredder is an absolute necessity if you deal with confidential and sensitive documents regularly. Also, if you are a student or work in a high-pressure job with tons of documents, you don’t want to have them scattered all over your desk or on the floor in your garage. A paper shredder helps you shred them and makes your life much easier.

Also, screen privacy and securing personal data has become a necessary job in this increasingly data-driven society. It is an essential operation that prevents your electronic records from being tampered with.

But there is one of the most important aspects of home appliance maintenance, and that’s cleaning. Therefore, if you want to keep your shredder in good working condition, you need to clean your paper shredder frequently.

While figuring out how to clean a paper shredder may seem like a bit of a daunting task, you don’t have to worry if you take the time to learn the proper steps. And in this article, we will be guiding you through the whole process step-by-step.

So, without further talk, let’s get started.

Paper shredders are one of the widely used household and official items around. They help us secure our private documents from others and safely shred them for efficient storage.

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A fresh new paper shredder model runs very smoothly and shreds all your documents cleanly. But over time, the shredder gets dirty, sticky, and clogged. If you don’t clean the shredder frequently, the shredder making noises, and dust particles accumulate between the shredder’s blades. Also, it affects the lifespan and performance of the shredder.

So Yes, paper shredders also require cleaning regularly. Cleaning the shredder makes it perform better and cut your documents like a knife through butter. Also, if you oil it properly and clean its blades properly, you will experience a massive improvement in your shredder’s performance. Therefore, it is essential to perform maintenance regularly.

How to clean a paper shredder?

Cleaning a paper shredder is a relatively easy and risk-free task. So, follow these easy steps to clean your paper shredder correctly.

1. Turn the shredder off

When cleaning any electrical machine, it is crucial to ensure safety. Therefore, make sure you turn the paper shredder off and unplug its cable from the power source before starting the process.

This is an essential safety precaution to protect yourself while cleaning the shredder. Because you are going to clean the shredder with your hand, and you do not want the paper shredder to shred your fingers accidentally.

2. Open the top part of the shredder

Once you have successfully turned the shredder off, now it’s time to start disassembling the shredder.

Most of the paper shredders available out there come in two parts: one is the dustbin or waste bucket, and another one is the lid of the paper shredder, which is responsible for all the shredding. In this step, you have to separate the top portion from the paper container.

Removing the lid from the shredder is pretty straightforward. Most of the time, you have to simply lift off the bucket. But some shredder models come with a lock mechanism. So, please go through the instruction manual of your shredder to avoid breaking it. Also, make sure you don’t apply too much strength to open the lid.

3. Clean the shredder blades

After you remove the top portion of the shredder, you now have easy access to both sides of the paper shredder to clean. This one is the foremost step of the whole process.

In this step, you have to remove all the jammed sticky pieces of paper from the blades. To do this, take a tweezer and try pulling the stuck papers from the edges. You can also use your hands to remove those stuck papers out. But make sure the paper shredder is unplugged.

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If you look correctly at the blades, you will notice some strips of paper wrapped around the blades, making it very difficult to remove them. It is pretty challenging to remove these strips with a tweezer. So, you will need to cut these pieces of paper into slices using a sharp knife or a blade so that the shredder can easily shred them afterward.

Also, if you are used to shredding CDs, credit cards, or plastic particles in the shredder, you may notice some plastic particles stuck in the blades. Use a screwdriver to remove these stuck particles. But while using the screwdriver, don’t apply too much strength as this can damage the blades and lead to costly repairs in the future.

4. Lubricate the shredder blades

Lubricating the blades of your shredder is very important to avoid future jams and blocking. There are several ways to lubricate shredder blades that you can follow.

The easiest way to lubricate your shredder’s blades is by using dish soap and water solution. Take just a bit of dish soap and water in a cereal-sized bowl and mix them well using any teaspoon or your hands. Then take a clean wet cloth, dip it and clean the blades with it.

Using lubricant sheets is another way to lubricate your shredder. These lubricant sheets are made for lubricating paper shredders. You can purchase them from any local store or Amazon.

But when cleaning the blades, there are a few things that you should consider –

  • When cleaning your shredder’s blades with dish soap and water, make sure you don’t overdo it.
  • Using excessive water can damage your shredder.
  • The blades are sharp enough to cut your fingers. So, make your you take proper precautions.
  • Don’t pour the water and dish soap solution directly on the shredder.

5. Clean the shredder

After you are all done with the top portion of the shredder, make sure you clean the waste bucket before assembling all the parts back together. Collect all the papers from the bin and move them to the trash. In this step, you can also check whether your paper shredder was cutting your sensitive documents properly.

6. Reassemble the shredder back together

So, you have successfully cleaned your paper shredder. Now it’s time to reassemble the shredder back together.

You can do this easily by simply reversing step number two. But it is always recommended to follow the manual instruction. Make sure you put every screw back that you have unscrewed.

Go for a test run

Once you have reassembled the shredder back together, now you are all good to start securing your confidential documents by shredding them.

But before you start shredding papers, it will be better if you run the shredder in reverse for some time. It is necessary because there might be some paper still stuck in the shredder. Also, when you run the shredder in reverse order, the lubricant that you have applied on the blades will spread all over the blades.

Then shred a paper to make sure that the shredder is working perfectly without any jam or blocking. If you don’t experience any blocking, continue shredding!

How to clean a sticky paper shredder?

The paper shredder is one of the essential home office appliances. These machines are used by many people, from those who are just getting started in the official sector to those who work in the field. But most people don’t clean this machine correctly, and as a result, it gets dirty and sticky.

One of the most common reasons that make a shredder sticky is not taking proper care of the shredder. If you continuously use the shredder for a long time without any maintenance, it can even get clogged. Also, using excessive water or oil to lubricate your shredder’s blades can make it sticky.

To clean a sticky paper shredder, you have to open the shredder following the instructions above. Then take a wet cloth and wipe off the sticky residue from the blades; after cleaning all the sticky residue from the edges, oil the blades carefully.

While oiling, make sure you don’t pour the oil directly on the shredder and don’t overdo it. Once you are done oiling the blades, let the machine dry.

How to oil paper shredder?

After sometimes using a paper shredder, the shredder becomes a bit rusty and starts making weird noises. Because, over time, dust and paper particles accumulate the shredder’s rotating cutting blades. Therefore, it is important to oil your paper shredder in the right way.

Oiling a paper shredder is a pretty straightforward task. There are several ways to oil a paper shredder. Here are 2 of the most general methods for oiling a paper shredder –

1. Directly Pour The Oil

The first method is pretty simple and cost-effective. In this method, you will be pouring oil directly into the shredder. To do this, you can use any oil. But make sure the bottle you are using to pour oil has a narrow spout in the opening to avoid spilling. Now follow these steps –

  1. Run the shredder in reverse mode.
  2. Pour the oil directly into the shredder’s blades in one smooth motion.
  3. Keep the shredder run for half a minute.
  4. After a while, turn off the shredder.

2. Using Shredder Lubricant Sheets

Shredder lubricant sheets are specially made for lubricating your shredder. In simple words, they are just oiled sheets of paper. Oiling a paper shredder using lubricant sheets is probably the easiest way to lubricate your paper shredder.

  1. Turn the shredder on for half a minute.
  2. Take your lubricant sheet and shred it.
  3. Switch the shredder to reverse mode and let it run for half a minute.
  4. Turn the shredder off, and you are all done.

how often should you clean your shredder?

If you want to get the most out of your paper shredder, it is very important to clean your shredder frequently. Also, taking proper care of a shredder can improve its lifespan and shredding performance. If you don’t clean and lubricate the shredder properly, the dust will accumulate over time and damage your shredder’s blades.

So, it is essential to clean your paper shredder frequently. If you use it continuously every day, it is recommended to clean the shredder 3-4 times a month.


Cleaning a paper shredder is a straightforward task. But most people don’t know the proper steps to clean a paper shredder. Therefore, in this article, we have shown you how to clean a paper shredder in the right way.

Also, it is crucial to go through frequent maintenance to extend the lifespan of your paper shredder. Because over time, the shredder gets rusty and starts losing its performance.

Hopefully, you got all the required information from this article, and you don’t face any problems during the process. Thanks for being with us 🙂

Samuel Anali

Tech enthusiast, gamer, programmer, and reviewer, Samuel is always on the lookout for the latest and greatest in technology. With an eye for detail, he loves nothing more than getting his hands on new gadgets and tearing it apart to see how it works. When he's not gaming or programming, you'll find him reading a good book.