How to Clean a Paper Shredder

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Home and office shredders provide a secure device with which to help safely dispose of personal papers and maintain privacy. Strip and criss-cross shredders cut documents into small pieces to deter identity theft from nosy dumpster divers. Since shredders process paper, regular cleaning involves removing caught strips of paper and dust that may jam the mechanism. Whenever you clean and lubricate your shredder, you also prolong the utility of the device.

Things You'll Need

  • Small bowl
  • 1 tsp. liquid dish soap
  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol or vinegar
  • Spoon
  • Paper towels
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Shredder lubricating oil
  • Cotton swabs (optional)
  • Small flat brush (optional)

Surface Cleaning

  • Combine liquid dish detergent and alcohol or vinegar in a bowl and stir to mix.

  • Lift the top shredding unit from the basket/waste receptacle and set both pieces aside.

  • Wipe away dust and particles from the receptacle and the shredder unit.

  • Dampen a paper towel with the soap and alcohol mixture and wipe any ink stains from the surface of the shredder components. Use a cotton swab instead of a paper towel to reach crevices.

  • Wipe dry with a lint-free cloth and allow the components to dry completely.

Lubricating Blades

  • Place a paper towel at the bottom of the paper basket (if the paper basket is empty).

  • Place three sheets of paper on a flat surface and drizzle thin lines diagonally across each page, about one inch apart, in a zig-zag pattern. Make sure the oil doesn't saturate spots on the paper; use a brush to distribute the oil on the page.

  • Turn the shredder on and insert one lubricated sheet into the paper feed. Repeat with each of the remaining lubricated sheets.

    Press the "Forward" or "Shred" button if the paper feeder is not set to "Auto."

  • Feed three more sheets of plain paper separately through the shredder to absorb excess lubricant in the blades.

  • Remove and discard the contents of the paper basket.

Tips & Warnings

  • Establish a regular routine for cleaning and lubrication based on the shredder manufacturer's suggestions. For example, Fellowes recommends lubricating the blades monthly or when the paper basket is full--set a schedule to run lubricated sheets through the feeder before you empty the paper basket, then wipe off the basket and shredder when replacing the receptacle.
  • Check the manufacturer's instructions for your shredder to determine which lubricating oil to use.

References

  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images
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