The paper shredder is your friend. Whether tasked with a records retention schedule or going digital in the office, having a standard paper shredder available is vital. There are several different types, and this tutorial will cover basic maintenance and cleaning for most models, as well as how to solve paper shredder jams.
Know your shredder
Shredders have different capacities, and it is important to understand what your shredder is designed to do. How the paper is cut affects how fast the bin fills, and a shredder meant to handle multiple pages simultaneously will fill much faster than a single page unit. The ‘cut’ refers to the finished size of the destroyed documents. Cross-cut refers to strips of paper that are cut again every few inches and micro or confetti cut mean the paper is diced into tiny bits. Some units have the ability to handle tougher materials such as credit cards or even CDs.
Basic paper shredder maintenance
Follow these tips to make sure your paper shredder runs smoothly:
Have an office schedule to empty the shredder
Depending on the volume being shredded the bin should be dumped at least once a month, even if it isn’t full yet.
Occasionally run the shredder in reverse
Running the shredder in reverse will help keep the area between the blades from wadding up with paper.
Clean the shredder blades
Once a month, or after a major shredding project (such as at the end of a retention schedule), clear out the blades. After removing the remnant bits of paper, use a can of compressed air to clean out the dust and smallest pieces stuck in the blades.
Lubricate the shredder
Opinions on the use of shredder oil varies, but it is an inexpensive item that can extend the lifespan of a well-used shredder. Fellowes (one of the most common manufacturers of office shredders) recommends the unit be lubricated every time you empty the waste bin, while others suggest oiling only post-jam or once a month.
Beware of using alternatives to shredder oil, such as WD-40 or canola oil, since they can both gum up and ruin the shredder. In addition, canola oil may become rancid if stored in warm environments. Another similarly priced option is to use lubricant sheets, which are cleaner.