Is the paper shredder you use in your office no longer working as efficiently as it used to? This is a common occurrence. What should you do, buy a new one? Or is it possible to sharpen the blades of the one you already have?
The answer is yes. Paper shredders can be sharpened to maximize their performance. And even when it hasn’t begun to show the symptoms of overuse, it’s still a good idea to lubricate and sharpen the shredder’s blades. Doing this reduces the chances of corrosion, minimizes the noise produced by the shredder, and enables optimal performance.
How to sharpen your paper shredder
1. The instruction manual has the answers
You don’t always have to sharpen the blades of your shredder. Some models come metal sheets that sharpen the blades as you shred your documents. The manual will let you know if that’s the kind you have in your hands. Note, however, that even such shredders can after a while get dull or damaged. Though you don’t have to worry about sharpening them, you should still lubricate the blades.
Other than that, the instruction manual will give you some tips on how to deal with the shredder’s rotor blades when they get dull.
2. Oil the blades
Oiling the blades is not exactly a step in the sharpening process. But it is crucial from the maintenance angle. Oiling the blades ensures the shredder operates smoothly and gets rid of the dust that over time dulls your blades. Too put it simply, lubricating the blades will ensure you don’t have to sharpen them too often.
To apply the lubricant, dip a piece of paper into the shredder oil, then pass it through the machine. The alternative method involves turning off the shredder, applying the lubricant along the top of the blades, then running the machine in reverse for approximately 20 seconds. After that, run some dry paper sheets through the machine.
Best practice dictates that you oil the blades after 30 minutes of non-stop shredding. This translates to about four or five hours if the shredder is in heavy use. But for normal use, a week or two will do.
3. Run aluminum foil through the machine
This is especially beneficial to shredders that don’t come with self-sharpening elements because the aluminum foil helps simulate the motion of sharpeners. Aluminum foil helps restore the cutting blades’ sharpness.
Three sheets of standard aluminum foil will do the trick. But if you have not been maintaining the shredder, oiling and sharpening the blades, and they have gotten too dull, this technique may not work.
Run aluminum foil through the shredder every two or three weeks, and your shredder will give you great performance for longer.
4. If symptoms persist, seek professional help
Sometimes even with your best intentions, the blades may be too far gone for your do-it-yourself to work. In this case, you should look for a professional who will sharpen the rotor blades for you.
The user manual has instructions on how to go about extracting the rotor blades from the shredder. Follow these instructions, and take the blades to a support center where trained professionals will sharpen them for you. I know you don’t fancy the idea of carrying the entire machine with you.
5. Get new blades
You could also simply get your shredder some new rotor blades. New blades are no doubt sharper and more efficient than old ones, even sharpened old ones.
After being used for a long while, and with poor maintenance, the blades wear down to a point where sharpening them has no effect on them. At that point, you have no choice but to buy replacement blades.
Just ensure you remember to regularly oil the blades and to sharpen them when you notice that they are getting a bit dull. Otherwise, the dull blades will cause paper jams, and may eventually even damage your shredder, prompting you to purchase a new one.
Sharpening your paper shredder’s blades is a cost-effective way of prolonging your device’s life. Ensure to oil the blades, and to sharpen them by running some aluminum foil through the shredder once in a while. Sharp blades do not cause paper jams, they don’t produce excessive noise, and they enable the shredder to run smoothly.