My Shredder’s Jammed, What Should I Do?

Posted by: James on October 19th, 2012

Paper Shredder JamsJams are one of the most common issues people have with their paper shredders. Either the shredder won’t work anymore, paper is stuck or another issue results in the machine no longer functioning correctly. There are some very easy solutions to fixing a jam and preventing future paper jams. At Office Zone we have a lot of experience with paper shredders (found here). Here are a few tips that should help keep your paper shredder on track towards a long life.

How to clear a jammed shredder:

  • The first thing to remember when clearing a jam is not to force the shredder to continue trying to pull the paper through. This could result in long-term damage to your shredder. Many people don’t realize that forcing paper through a shredder can strip the cogs off of the nylon gears inside the shredder.
  • If you’re shredder is jammed as a result of being fed too much paper and the motor is over stressed, there are a couple of things you can do. First, try to put your shredder into reverse (if it is so equipped). If that doesn’t work, or if your shredder doesn’t have a reverse, try putting vegetable or shredder oil over the opening. This should help soften the paper enough to pass through.
  • Another option, especially if you tried shredding a credit card that jammed the shredder, is to unplug the shredder, take the shredder head off and try to remove the jammed particles from the underside of the shredder. Be sure the shredder is unplugged and that you are extra careful. A pair of pliers may be needed to help remove clogged or jammed paper / plastic.
  • If you’re shredder is now cleared out, but it is not functioning correctly, you may need to get a replacement part or purchase a new shredder (found here). Regardless of what you decide to do, I recommend you contact our Service Department at 1-800-543-5454 x129 to see what they recommend. There may be a very simple fix that requires a cheap replacement part.

How to prevent a paper jam:

  • Paper Shredder OilNow that we have established how to clear a jammed shredder, I would like to cover a few things that can help prevent future jamming issues.
  • Keep your shredder properly oiled by using shredder oil (found here). Oil helps keep your shredder running at maximum power and efficiency, which means far fewer jams for you.
  • Try to be careful when shredding paper. If it seems like to much paper, it probably is. Shredding too much paper is the most common culprit in a shredder jam.
  • I highly recommend you consider buying or using a shredder with load protection. These shredders use sensors that detect how much load and stress is being put on the motor. If the shredder detects that too much paper is going in, it will quickly stop the shredder and put it into reverse. Intimus, Intelli-Zone, HSM, Destroyit and Dahle are all shredder brands that often feature load control.
  • If you are looking for a paper shredder, you may want to consider buying one with a chain drive or with metal gears. These shredders have a reputation for chewing through paper quickly without jamming.

If you still have questions about paper jams or finding a jam-proof shredder, please feel free to call and speak with one of our experts at 1-800-543-5454. They can help point you in the right direction, answer your questions and provide you with affordable quotes. You can find all of our paper shredders here.


How to Oil a Paper Shredder

Posted by: James on September 14th, 2011

Paper ShreddersPaper shredders are important to any business or home. Not only do paper shredders help conserve garbage space, but they also help prevent fraud by keeping your private information secure by destroying documents with sensitive information.

Paper shredders can provide years of use so long as they are properly used and maintained. Since paper shredders have engines, cutting blades and other moving mechanical parts that can heat up and wear out, it’s important to keep the paper shredder properly oiled. Proper lubrication will extend the life and functionality of the paper shredder, and will allow it to run quieter. Failure to do so will drastically reduce the operating life of your shredder, and cost you more in the long term through premature replacement.

The way you oil a paper shredder, and how often it needs to be oiled, will depend of the type of paper shredder you own.  Low volume and low use paper shredders don’t require as much maintenance. Low volume paper shredders that are regularly used should be oiled once or twice a month. High volume paper shredders or paper shredders in constant use will require regular oiling, sometimes every four hours depending on how heavy it was being used. As a general rule of thumb, you should oil the paper shredder each time you replace the catch-bag or empty the bin.

Paper Shredder OilBefore adding oil or other lubrication (found here) to your paper shredder it is recommended that you review your owner’s manual. Liquid oils are the most common type of lubricant used to oil a paper shredder, although there are aerosol options also. It is recommended that you only use oil that is specifically made for lubricating paper shredders. Using WD-40, motor oil or other types of lubricant can actually damage the machine because it isn’t designed to adhere to the moving parts of the paper shredder. Using oil not designed for lubricating a paper shredder may also void your service warranty.

To begin oiling your paper shredder, begin by unplugging the paper shredder from the wall electrical outlet. You wouldn’t put your hand in a car engine while it’s moving, and paper shredder accidents can be equally as nasty. There are two ways to add oil to your paper shredder; the direct way and the indirect way.

For the direct way, you’ll apply the oil directly to the cutting blades by squeezing the bottle to squirt the oil through the paper feed opening. This will coat the lubricating oil on to the cutting blades of the shredder. Be sure to spread the oil along the length of the blades. Once your fingers or any dangling clothing is clear, plug the shredder back in and turn it on to the reverse setting. Let it run in reverse for 15 seconds. This will work the oil into the motor and on to the different parts of the paper shredders cutting head. Once this is done you should feed a few sheets of scrap paper through the shredder. This will remove any excess oil from the blades and will prevent potential messes.

The indirect way to oil your paper shredder is by adding oil to paper and running it through the shredder. The proper way of doing this is by spreading a small amount of paper shredder oil in a wide zig-zag pattern down the length of the paper so each blade will be touched by the oil. Make sure the oil is zig-zagged over the over the entire sheet, but don’t soak the paper. Soaking is unnecessary and will waste oil. After the paper is properly oiled, feed it through the paper shredder like you would any other document. One the sheet is completely fed through, switch the paper shredder to reverse mode. This will work the oil into the motor and on to the different parts of the paper shredders cutting head. Depending how heavily the paper shredder is used, this process may need to be repeated two or three times. As with the direct lubrication method, you should feed a few sheets of scrap paper through the shredder to remove any excess oil from the blades to prevent potential messes.

Once oiling is complete, your paper shredder will run quieter, faster, and will not wear reduce the wear and tear on the motor, gears, blades and bearings. You can find Office Zones paper shredder oil here and Office Zone’s entire line of paper shredders here.