If you have just started using a paper shredder, it is very likely that you will soon discover these devices jam up and get clogged. Until you unjam the machine, it won’t be capable of operating. This is often highly annoying and frustrating, but in many cases, it is easy to solve. Keep on reading to find out more on how to unjam a paper shredder.
All shredders are capable of handling specific amounts of paper, after that clogging occurs easily. Shredding machines also jam up when the shredded sheets start to build up inside the mechanism that shreds the paper. If the blades can no longer rotate, the machine will fail to operate.
The premium range shredders are typically less prone to jamming, but these devices are often expensive and used for extensive use. When it comes to the lower-end devices that are commonly used in small offices and home offices, clogging is a common occurrence.
Tips on How to Unclog a Paper Shredder Jam
In this article, we will cover the different ways to unclog a jammed paper shredder. These tips include manual and automatic ways to repair a clogged machine.
This is the first technique we recommend as soon as you notice a problem. If this approach works, this solution is usually fast and easy.
Shredders come with built-in options to make the shredding mechanism operate in reverse. They typically clog up from rotating in a single direction, so the device can fix itself when it rotates in an opposite direction.
Here are the steps to follow for an automatic repair:
- Activate the Reverse Button to make the blades rotate in the opposite direction.
- If the device is successful in unclogging the jam, test the device again using a lot less paper.
- If the device is still jamming, try alternating between backward and forward movements.
- In either case, if the machine fails to rotate freely, avoid forcing the machine.
- If the automatic approach is unsuccessful, it is time to move onto the manual option.
When working on a shredder, you need to make sure the device is unplugged. The manual repair involves unclogging the mechanism that shreds the paper. The blades are sharp and dangerous so it is important that the device is unplugged to avoid an accident. Here are the different steps to follow to manually fix a clogged paper shredder.
1. Lift The Top
Most of the modern models feature a wastebasket and a mechanical part. Taking the mechanical part out will help you to access either side to unjam the equipment. You can unlock the wastebasket or lift the top part off.
2. Use Tweezers
Even when the machine is unplugged, the blades can still hurt you. This is why it is best to avoid directly touching the blades. Use tweezers to safely extract the paper that has clogged up the device. Check whether the device is clogged on the bottom or outside of the mechanism. Remove the largest sheets first.
3. Use Scissors Or A Sharp Knife
Shredders are designed to cut paper up into strips that often get caught inside the cylindrical-shaped rollers. This is one of the most common reasons why the machine gets clogged. Use scissors or a sharp knife to slice the sheet that is wrapped around the rollers.
4. Use A Screwdriver
If you are finding it difficult to reach the paper that is clogging the shredder, use a precision screwdriver or a narrow screwdriver.
Once you have removed the sheet that caused the jam, replace the mechanical part and the wastebasket. Plug the machine back in and make sure the blades can rotate forward and backward.
To complete the repair process, feed your shredder with more paper or card stock. That will push out any pieces and shreds that remain. Push the card stock or the sheet into the middle of the slot when running the device to make sure it works. If the machine is still not working here is another option to try to prevent making the problem worse.
Lubricate The Machine
The right oil for a shredder is one of the best options to clear up a nasty jam. Apply the oil to the jammed area and allow the oil to soak into the paper. Leave the oil for at least 30 minutes before you attempt to run the device again. Ensure that you only use one of the aerosol lubricants to prevent causing damage to the machine. You should refer to your vendor’s product manual.
What Causes A Paper Jam?
Paper jams are the most common and frequent frustration when using a shredder. When it clogs, it is usually caused by fast-feeding, misfeeding, or over-feeding paper into your machine. When you invest in a shredder with the correct jam-prevention technology and you are mindful of these common paper shredding mistakes, it becomes easier to keep your shredding experiences hassle-free.
Feeding excessive amounts of paper into the machine will result in a clog or jam. Finding out how many sheets the machine can handle at a time will help greatly to prevent clogging. It is also easy to prevent overfeeds when you invest in a paper shredder that includes jam-prevention technology that will electronically detect when you have inserted too many sheets into the device.
If you insert the paper into your shredder that is wrinkled, creased, or folded it can result in what is known as a “misfeed jam”. Many of the modern models feature jam prevention technology that easily powers through misfeeds. Some models are also capable of reversing the sheets out, allowing you to remove them. Both options are successful when it comes to removing the causes of common paper jams.
A fast feed occurs when trying to feed a pile of papers into the device before the shredder has processed the previous pile. The models that feature jam-prevention technology will detect a fast feed which will cause the machine to automatically pause. This will allow for a way to remove the paper before the shredder gets jammed up.
How To Avoid A Paper Jam In The Future
Here are the steps to follow to stop your shredder from clogging:
- Make sure that you keep the blades lubricated
- It is also important to make sure your paper shredder is clean and remains dust-free
- Allow your machine to cool down, especially after extensive use
- Avoid trying to force excessive amounts of paper into the machine
- Know how much and what type of materials your machine can handle
- Try to avoid shredding cardboard and plastic sheets
To make the most out of your shredding machine and to avoid jams, it is important that you use the machine properly. This includes making sure the paper is not creased or folded. It is also important to make sure there are no paper clips or staples unless you have a model that is designed to handle these types of materials. One of the most important maintenance tips is to make sure you keep the cutting blades lubricated. Most of the manufacturers recommend lubricating the blades each time you empty your shredder bag and waste bin.