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Paper Shredding Tips

Shredding documents is a good way to keep your personal information from getting in the wrong hands. This guide contains paper shredding tips.
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September 7, 2010

Do you use a paper shredder for disposing of sensitive documents like I do? After a while, the blades need a little lubrication; seeing as how I won't buy an expensive little tube of lubricant, I just do this: Run a piece of waxed paper through the shredder to make it work like new again!

By Brianna from Dutch Harbor, AK

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August 22, 20065 found this helpful

Save time and money by not shredding mail. The shredder costs money and the shredding can take quite a bit of time. But I don't want anyone to be able to get bank account numbers, etc, from my trash. So here's what I do. Take a bunch of the papers and tear in a few pieces. Soak in hot water until mushy and the water is cool enough to put your hands in. Squash the "mush" and roll into a ball. Let it dry and throw into trash. In case this sounds familiar, it's the same as making papier mache. Only I squeeze it into a ball. It's easy, fast, and the info on those pages is gone!

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By pam2cats from RI

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April 2, 2013

If your paper shredder has slowed down from when new, try lubricating the teeth. First clear out as much chewed up paper as possible, then use olive oil. Run the shredder without paper a couple of times, and hey presto! It now works like new again. Well, mine did! Good luck!

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June 17, 20102 found this helpful

While organizing my living area and entryway, I came across an idea that worked for me. In the past I had trouble shredding my documents because my shredder was not in a handy place. I don't like it sitting out since it looks messy, so I grabbed an old picnic basket and put the shredder inside, closed the lid, and ran the electrical cord through an existing hole in the weave. Now it can sit where it is handy but it is also in an attractive hiding place and no one needs to know it's there.

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By Susan from Elkhart, IN

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By 0 found this helpful
August 12, 2008

I try to shred my junk mail and papers that have any ID information. I was putting the shredding into a Walmart bag, but that is not very green for the land fill, so now I put it into paper bags and staple the top. I would rather find a way to recycle it, but this is better than the plastic bag.

By Lee from OH

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By 0 found this helpful
May 31, 2007

Beware of shredding those free address labels you get in the mail. I had a shredder that previously handled (quite nicely) the address labels - and then it didn't. I'll have to replace the unit. I spent an hour pulling out bits of labels with needle nose pliers and asked DH to check it out, too, after a long day at work. Expensive lesson.

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So how do you get rid of addy labels in this day and age of identity theft? I am thinking of getting rid of the shredder top and keeping it as a trash can (just to recycle). It'll be known as my "$100 trash can".

By Holly from Richardson, TX

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By 2 found this helpful
January 30, 2014

Spray the sheet of sticker labels with WD-40, then shred. The labels won't stick and your shredder gets lubricated at the same time.

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October 27, 2008

Here is a tip for your home office. I place the head of my shredder on top of a small garbage pail, with a bag ready to catch the strips. I have eliminated one step to make clean up easy.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 9, 2016

Please remember you unplug your shredder after each use. There have been reports of curious children and animals injuring their fingers (paws) and tongues because they inadvertently turned on the shredder. Even adults who forgot to unplug have been injured. Be safe!

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 30, 2010

I was shredding paper, and my home paper shredder just quit on me. No noise, no sparks, no anything. It's held together by phillips screws, and being a former electronics tech, I decided to take it apart. (Who can afford a new shredder, employed or not.)

Make sure it is unplugged when you do this! I don't know how many times I took the phillips screws out from the cover. Immediately I was aghast at all the paper dust and paper shreds that were all over the inside of the paper shredder. I immediately cleaned all of that out, wishing I had a brush, but using tweezers, a modified paper clip (just making one side of the paper clip long), and a couple of q-tips, then carefully oiling the fan drive shaft.

I put the Paper Shredder back together, screwed in all the screws, plugged it in, and reverse worked, but the paper part wouldn't work. After more examination, I realized that there is a secondary switch and lever that can't be seen when the whole unit is put together. This is what allows the paper to shred. I lined up the lever with the secondary switch, and using a small screwdriver, (instead of using paper at this point), listened to it, then put the unit back together. It worked. I truly hope this helps other people keep their paper shredders working.

If you use q-tips, or such, don't ever leave the hairs, or whatever they are called on the electronics - ever! Those hairs will just mess everything up.

By Carol L. from SouthBend, IN

Answers

August 30, 20100 found this helpful

My feedback got lost, but it was do not allow husband to continually run the address labels you get in the mail through a shredder. His became so gummed up even Liquid Wrench could not dissolve enough of the gunk to resuscitate the machine. I have cleaned many a shredder at work and home and had never had to deal with that. Very expensive lesson.

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August 30, 20100 found this helpful

The two shredders I have owned both had a timer to keep the shredder from overheating. It just stops in mid-shred. When it cools down (about five minutes), it starts working again.

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August 31, 20100 found this helpful

I'm not handy enough to disassemble my shredder, but I betcha my son-in-law could. He's the genius who taught me how to "de-clog" my shredder right after we bought it. :D
What helps me avoid jams and such is not to send too much paper through at once, and to remove all paper clips first. If a jam happens anyway, I use the tip of small scissors to gently pry free the worst of the jam. I work from both sides of the shredding mechanism without disassembling. Then if necessary, I hit the reverse a time or two.

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Anonymous
November 23, 20150 found this helpful

put or less papers at a time and the cards should only be one at a time

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May 8, 2013

Any suggestion on how to solve the paper shredding mess on the floor? When I take out the shredder container to empty it there is always a good deal of paper left in the teeth of the shredder that falls on the floor. No matter how much I dig it out some still falls to the floor. I always dread emptying the thing because of the mess. Someone recently suggested placing their shredder in a picnic basket. Mine is too large for that. I feel fairly sure someone will have a good suggestion because this group of people is smart as a whip.

By weinerdog41 from Ft. Worth, TX

Answers

May 10, 20130 found this helpful

Spread out a couple sheets of newspaper where your shredder will sit.

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May 10, 20130 found this helpful

Before you take it out, try running the shredder backwards. the paper inside should then back out.Turn it upside down and shake into the container. I use a small waste paper basket to mount my shredder on. It is a lot bigger than the container it came with.

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May 10, 20131 found this helpful

You could set it inside a large opened trash bag lying on the floor, so that when you're done all you need to do is move the shredder, pick up the bag - no mess! Good luck!

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May 10, 20130 found this helpful

Does your shredder have a reverse? If so, reverse it before taking off of collector basket.

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May 11, 20130 found this helpful

I put my shedder on a cookie sheet. After emptying the big bucket, the scattered scraps are easy to slide off cookie sheet into trash.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 3, 2017

Is it okay to line the waste basket area of a shredder with a small trash bag to make emptying easier, or does this create a problem with operation of the machine?

Answers

January 3, 20170 found this helpful

Depending on the switch on your shredder, this should work just fine. We started doing this at work to avoid the huge mess. Good luck!

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January 4, 20170 found this helpful

i cannot see where this should cause a problem as the shredder mechanism should not be near the plastic bag. I use a small trash bag in mine all the time and have never had a problem.

Of course, there are different styles/types of shredders so please be sure to check that your bag is fully down in the holder/container.

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Anonymous
January 4, 20170 found this helpful

I do this all the time. I then compost the shredded paper.

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Anonymous
January 4, 20170 found this helpful

I've done this before but then I found that it was just as easy to empty the basket by putting the garbage bag over the basket and turning it upside down into the garbage bag. Using one a little larger makes less mess.

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January 9, 20170 found this helpful

You can always prop the shredder on top of any receptacle, like a tall plastic pail. If you already use a receptacle for recycling of other paper you could prop the shredder on half of the top and have room to still toss in other paper. You may need to fashion something to hold the shredder on top or it may just fit already.

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By 0 found this helpful
August 18, 2005

I think the blades of my paper shredder are getting dull. Has anyone ever sharpened theirs?

Thanks,
Amanda

Answers

By guest (Guest Post)
August 19, 20050 found this helpful

Yes I have!!! send one sheet of fine sand paper through the shredder. wwaaaalllaaaaaaa works great!

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August 19, 20050 found this helpful

We oil ours regularly. The sales clerk at Office Depot said most of them wear out because people don't know to oil them. They have a special oil, probably like sewing machine oil, a fine machine oil that you put on a piece of paper or just squirt a little over the blades every 100 sheets or so. This keeps the workings from drying out and the blades sharp.

The sandpaper idea sounds like a good one, too if the blades are already dull.

Susan from ThriftyFun

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August 31, 20050 found this helpful

Just recently started having problems with my shredder. It painfully shreds thin paper, but when I put in regular A size all I hear is the motor churning and the paper doesnt get sucked in to be shredded. I opened the darn thing and couldnt quite figure it out. Any help is appreciated.

I think it has something to do with the gear assembly but dont know what to look at. The company is Royal, shreds 9 pages at times(never really did that though)

Thnx

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 26, 20070 found this helpful

I run a piece of aluminum foil through mine monthly & have never had problems.

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

August 30, 20100 found this helpful

How do I clean shredder cutters? The paper is bunched up around the cutters so badly I can't even see the blades. I tried oiling it, hot soapy water, nothing works. I spent 4 hours already literally picking the pieces out with tweezers. The shredder works, but new paper keeps getting stuck around the same area.

By Roberta L. from Boca Raton, FL

Answers:

Maintaining a Paper Shredder

Try operating the shredder in reverse and forward motions a few times. Then shred some wax paper through. This should clear out the teeth. (10/12/2009)

By Cajun62234

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October 12, 20090 found this helpful

I have inherited an Aurora Cross Cut AS700X paper shredder without a manual. I searched the manufacturers web site for information. This model is no longer listed. I e-mailed the manufacturer and never received an answer. I would like to know, how do I maintain this shredder? I do believe it should be oiled and sharpened. What type of oil is used, and does it get sharpened? I will use it weekly for light to medium shredding. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks to all.

Mike from NE PA

Answers:

Maintaining a Paper Shredder

Office Depot sells special sheets that you put through the shredder, and the sheets oil it as they go through. (11/14/2008)

By Suanne

Maintaining a Paper Shredder

Here is something I found on the web to oil the cutters. I didn't look for a way to sharpen the cutters. Maybe you just buy a new shredder when it gets dull. I have had a shredder for a number of years and don't do anything for maintenance except empty the bucket.

How often should I oil cutting head and how do I do it?

It is recommended that you oil the cutters more regularly for Cross-Cut Machines than for Strip Cut. We suggest oiling the cutters once a day before the machine is first used. This can easily be done by taking a sheet of paper and covering it with oil. Then simply shred the paper as you normally would. Alternatively you can spray the oil into the entry throat as directed on the can. It is important to use a non-flammable oil. (11/14/2008)

By Harry

Maintaining a Paper Shredder

Try shredding a sized piece of aluminum foil. I use it to sharpen scissors by cutting through a sheet several times. I haven't tried this with a paper shredder, but I suppose it could not hurt trying. (12/06/2008)

By LeAnn from Tampa, Fla

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