How to Unjam a Shredder

Shredding documents is vital to the security of many businesses’ security, so your shredder is an important part of a home office. Like any other piece of equipment though, even a good shredder can break down. The most common source of frustration with a shredder is a jam.

A shredder can get jammed up from being fed documents too quickly, becoming overloaded, or just from something that managed to float its way in there in-between uses. 

Most shredder jams can be sorted out with relative ease. These jams shouldn’t be a problem, but others can be tricky. Trying to unjam a shredder in the wrong way can cause some real problems. You can damage the blades or the motor of a shredder permanently.

The inner workings of a shredder aren’t often repaired, so an incorrectly cleared jam might mean a whole new shredder. Using the right method to unjam a shredder can avoid any problems and get your equipment back up and running as soon as possible.

How to Unjam a Shredder

How to unjam a shredder is going to vary depending on how bad your jam is. This solution will work for the majority of shredder problems.

  • If you’re in the process of shredding when you notice the jam, stop immediately.
  • Unplug the shredder.
  • Empty the shredder bin and ensure that it isn’t full. This can be the cause of shredding stopping or material getting tangled around the blades.
  • Remove the top of the shredder.
  • You should then try to remove the paper from the underside, below the shredder head and blades.
  • Slowly pull out the larger paper caught in the blades.
  • Use a screwdriver to pry out the smaller pieces of material that are jammed in there.
  • When turning the shredder back on, check everything is functioning properly before you begin feeding high numbers of sheets again.

How to Unjam a Shredder – Other Solutions

That method will work for the simple jams that are usually to blame for shredder problems. However, some shredder problems can’t be solved that easily. In these cases, there are some extra steps you can take. 

  • If your shredder has a reverse function, then this is going to come in handy. Run your shredder in reverse to try and clean out any jammed paper. Turn it back off afterwards, and once again try to get out anything that might still be in the blades.
  • The best thing to do if you still can’t clear a shredder jam is to apply some oil to the shredder. Shredder oil can be applied along the opening of your shredder. Leave this to soak in for 20-30 minutes. Once this is done, your paper will have softened and will be easier to unclog.
  • Oiling a shredder can take care of even the worse jams, those that come from shredding hard materials.

These methods should allow you to clear up a shredder jam with relative ease. These issues can be avoided most of the time though by being a bit more careful with the device. If you’re using your shredder quite a bit, remember to take it at a slow pace. When shredding things that are tougher than paper, even more care should be taken to avoid having to unjam it in the future.

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