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.


Office Paper Shredder Maintenance Tips & Advice

Posted by: James on June 23rd, 2011

Paper Shredder MaintenanceIf you use a paper shredder in the office, chances are pretty good that you rely on it and need it to stay healthy.  Many people don’t realize that office equipment requires special treatment. Paper shredders are very similar to cars in that there they have certain limits and require regular maintenance to keep up optimal operation. Here are a few tips on how you can keep your shredder purring for years.

To begin with, you need to be aware that paper shredders are not indestructible machines. They have limits, albeit those limits vary greatly depending on the make and model. I recommend that you first familiarize yourself with the shredder. Break out the owner’s manual and learn how much paper it can shred, what the bin capacity is, etc. If you can’t find your shredder’s manual, contact our Service Department at 1-800-543-5454 x129 and see if you can get a new one faxed or e-mailed to you.

Having used paper shredders for years myself, I have developed an understanding on the most important things you can do to maximize the life of your shredder. Here are the most important things to keep in mind.

Paper Shredder OilShredder Oil
– Paper shredders, especially those of the cross cut variety, have a lot of moving parts that generate dulling and heat generating friction. A special oil has been manufactured that keeps things lubricated and running smooth. You can find our shredder oil here. Keep in mind that a can of WD-40 or vegetable oil will not cut it. WD-40 is too lightweight and vegetable oil…are you kidding me? This is a machine, not a French fry cooker.

Shredder Bags
– As a paper shredder cuts paper, it begins to create a lot of dust. While not all shredders have the luxury of a dust-proof gearhouse, using the proper size of shred bag can help cut down on dust and particles from winding back up into critical shredder components. Proper shredder bags (found here) also make bag changes cleaner, faster and easier. While garbage bag may cut it, it usually leaves gaps and limits the maximum bin capacity.

Staples and Paper Clips – While some paper shredders feature specially hardened cutting blades and shafts, many shredders can become damaged when a paper clip is run through. As a good habit, I personally like removing staples and paperclips (especially paper clips) prier to shredding paper.

Motor Temperature
– Most home office and deskside paper shredders require a cooldown period. The general rule is 30 minutes use and 30 minutes cooldown. While many shredders will automatically shut off when they become too hot, this isn’t always the case. Don’t overwork your shredder. I recommend no more than 30 minutes use. If you have a continuous-duty shredder with a thermally protected motor, use it all you want. Thermally protected shredders are designed to be run all day long.

Capacity – All paper shredders, regardless of make, model or brand, have a maximum sheet capacity. While many modern shredders have load detectors that will back paper out if too much is fed through, not all shredders have this luxury. Some shredders, lacking load detection, will simply jam and break down. This can cause permanent damage to motors and gears. Make sure you know if your shredder has load detection, and if not, know how many sheets it can handle.

I hope these tips help you out. If your shredder has already failed and is no longer working, it may simply need a replacement gear or belt. Feel free to contact our Service Department at 1-800-543-5454 x129 (or by filling out this form) to see if your shredder can be repaired. We are official dealers for Dahle, Destroyit, Fellowes, Formax, GBC, Kobra, Intelli-Shred, HSM, Intimus and Martin Yale.

If your shredder is irreversibly damaged, you can find our entire selection of brand new paper shredders here. If you aren’t sure what type of shredder to order, please feel free to call and speak with one of our paper shredder specialists at 1-800-543-5454.


Why do you Need to oil a Paper Shredder?

Posted by: Morgan on December 15th, 2010

Paper Shredder OilThis is a question we hear on a frequent basis at Office Zone. Our customers want to know why we encourage them to buy a bottle of shredder oil with their machine. It would initially appear that the main benefit would be in providing lubrication to the shredding heads. Shredder oil indeed helps cut down on the wear and tear that paper shredders endure when they are used. Shredder oil helps lubricate the moving parts in the shred head, and does help extend machine life. By the way, Office Zone recommends you oil your shredder at least every time you change the shred bag or waste bin.

Those are all valid considerations why you should use paper shredder oil. However, the most significant reason why consistent shredder lubrication is important has to do with maintaining the machine’s maximum shred capacity. Each shredder has a paper shredding rating handed down by the manufacturer. This lets you know how many regular sheets you can safely insert into the machine and shred at a time. Consistent oiling helps prevent build-up of paper dust and other substances that can gum up the cutting blades, thus decreasing performance. This ensures maximum shredding operation and extends the life of the machine.