paper shredders are such simple to use machine, many people tend to overlook the fact that you can prolong the life of your shredding machine with proper maintenance. So, we have put together a few tips on the proper maintenance of an easy to maintain machine.
Oil your paper shredder on a regular basis.
All paper shredders should be properly lubricated on a regular basis with shredder oil. This helps to keep the cutting heads moving and operating to their maximum efficiency. Proper oiling of your paper shredder will lengthen the life of the machine.
Over time the dust from paper builds up inside of the cutting blades of your machine. Eventually this dust can become packed together, forming a tight "brick" that can be difficult to remove and cause jams. It can dull the blades and burn out the motor.
Oiling your machine regularly softens the sediment in the blades and allows the cutting head to move more freely, pushing it our further. We suggest oiling, at the very least, once a week, but more often is better. Extremely heavily used shredders could even be oiled once a day. Cross cut shredders tend to require more oiling than a strip cut shredder might, due to the finer particles of dust they create.
Paper shredding oil comes in a squeeze bottle and is very easy to use. Oiling your paper shredding machine is very quick and can be accomplished in a couple of ways.
The paperless oiling method involves holding the bottle of oil over the shredder paper cutting blades, from the top of the machine, squeezing the bottle as you pass it along the length of the opening. It only takes a few seconds. Make sure your machine is turned off when doing this. After the oil has been applied, turn the machine on, in the reverse function, for about 15 seconds to allow the oil to transfer to the blades uniformly. Then simply shred a few sheets of paper in the machine, which will help remove any excess oil.
You can also use the paper method to oil the machine. Place a sheet of paper above a surface that will not be damaged if you spill oil on it. Apply the oil to one side of the paper, in a wide zigzag pattern, across the whole face of the page to ensure good coverage. Don't totally saturate the paper sheet, however. Turn the shredder on and run the oiled paper through the machine. As the paper shreds, the oil that has been absorbed will lubricate the cutting blades and distribute the oil. Follow up by feeding a few more sheets (non-oiled) through the shredder to absorb and extra oil left behind.
Do not attempt to oil your machine with anything other than proper paper shredder oil designed for this use. This oil is specially formulated to leave no residue in the machine's cutting blades. Use of a non-shredder oil, like WD40 or cooking oils will attract paper residue and dirt, leaving the cutting head clogged, and may cause damage to your machine.
Make sure you are aware of the paper capacity of your shredder.
Paper shredders are sold with a recommended number of sheets they can handle. Know your shredder's capabilities before you start shoving paper into the cutting throat. Remember, as with most types of machines paper ratings, these numbers are based on standard 20# bond paper, which is basically the weight of copy paper.
If you are shredding heavier paper, say card stock, you need to adjust the number of sheets you run through the machine down a bit, to ensure they will go through the cutting blades properly. Stuffing too much paper into the throat of the machine will surely cause it to jam your cutting blades.
Properly de-jam your paper shredder, should a jam occur.
The majority of jams in a shredder can be easily fixed by backing the paper out with the reverse switch on your machine. More difficult to remove jams may require you to gently pull on the paper while backing it out.
If you cannot back the paper out at all, at this point, there may still be hope. Many paper jams are caused by overuse or over capacity on the machine. Sometimes turning the shredder off for a while, to give the motor a chance to rest, is all that is needed to get it back up and running again at full capacity. Try turning it off for 15 minutes and then try the reverse button again to see if the paper comes free.
If it does not use your shredder oil to try and loosen the paper jam. Soak the jammed paper with shredder oil and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Once it is soaked in, try to run the paper through again, using both the forward and backward buttons. Usually this will clear the majority of jams.
If it still doesn't work it gets a bit more tricky. Unplug your paper shredder and look to see where it is jammed. Try soaking the blades with more oil, from the underside and see if you can manually get the paper to budge. However, be very careful when doing this. Even not moving, the blades on a paper cutter are still very sharp.
If you still have not luck you may be in need of repairs. Check with your paper shredder manufacturer for their authorized repair centers. Don't attempt to take your paper shredder apart yourself, if you don't know what you are doing, as this may void any warranty you still have left on it.
Don't run your shredder non-stop, without giving it a break.
Paper shredders are not made to run continuously without a break. Doing so will shorten the life of the machine and, most certainly, cause problems in the way it functions over time. Even heavier duty "continuous rated" motors need a break once in a while. Overuse causes parts to wear down faster than they normally would with proper use.
Good paper shredders will come with a manufacturer's warranty. The time frame for the warranty can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so be sure to read all the information that came in your paper shredder box. It's also a good idea to keep the paperwork from the box, along with the receipt for you paper shredder purchase, in a safe place, in case a warranty repair is needed. The manufacturer will ask for this receipt, in all likelihood, as proof of the date you purchased it.
Many manufacturer's also warranty the cutting blades on their machines even long than they do the motor, so be aware of that as well.
Proper care and maintenance of your machine will give you a more stress free experience with it, but no matter how well you take care of it, it can still run the risk of defects or other problems. So be aware of where you stand with your warranty and make sure you don't abuse the machine, which could cause the warranty to become void.
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