Last updated on June 4th, 2021
Yes, it is possible to sharpen a paper shredder. Over time, when a shredder is subject to frequent use, the blades will become a little dull. As such, sharpening them will ensure that they remain in optimal condition and this will also enhance how well it performs.
Even if your shredder doesn’t show any visible signs that the blades have been overused and need to be sharpened, doing so is still recommended to eliminate any issues with corrosion and to generally maintain the quality of your shredder.
There are several methods that you can follow to sharpen the blades of your paper shredder. Some manufacturers will provide you with aluminum sheets that can be run through the blades. If this is not the case, an alternative is to use three sheets of aluminum foil. Repeat this process a couple of times until the blades appear sharper.
This provides a quick solution and should be done on a fortnightly basis. Although using aluminum foil is likely to be effective in the majority of instances, if your shredder is not properly maintained in between uses this may not be as successful as anticipated.
Another option requires the use of oil. Although this isn’t necessarily going to sharpen the blades specifically, this step is paramount in ensuring that the blades are sufficiently maintained. Oiling the blades will essentially reduce the amount of time that you spend sharpening them because it will keep them in good condition. Turn the shredder off before proceeding with this step.
Apply a light covering of oil directly onto the blades. Alternatively, you may choose to dip paper into the oil and then run this through the shredder, of course, the unit will need to be turned on in this case. If you have chosen to apply the oil directly onto the blades, once you have done so you will then need to turn the shredder back on and allow it to operate in reverse mode for approximately 10 seconds.
You can then turn the shredder off once the step is complete. This step is advised for the blades of shredders that have endured consistently heavy use (non-stop shredding) for a prolonged period.
If you have been unsuccessful in maintaining the sharpness of your shredder’s blades, this may be an indication that a replacement is required. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, if blades have already become a little dull, even when sharpened they may not remain sharp for very long because they have reached a point where they are overly worn.
Purchasing new blades provides you with a greater guarantee of their sharpness. You will need to remove the existing blades from your shredder and then replace them with new ones. Upon doing so, you will likely notice a drastic difference in how well they perform.
To ensure that the performance of the blades remains consistent, applying the necessary maintenance is paramount, otherwise, they will reach a similar state to the previous blades sooner than you would like.
In some cases, you may require the help of a professional who specializes in sharpening blades of paper shredders. For example, if the dullness of the blades is too severe that you are unable to rectify the issue yourself, or you may simply feel as though you do not have the skills that you need for tackling such issues.
The instructional manual that is provided with the shredder will also prove to be an invaluable resource. These manuals will typically specify the details for sharpening your shredder’s blades and also how to recognize when they need replacement or professional attention.
How often should you sharpen shredder blades?
The regularity of which your shredder blades require sharpening is going to depend on the severity of the bluntness and the method that you opt for to sharpen them, as some will be the most effective when done frequently. Conduction of general maintenance of the shredder is paramount.
If you are going to be lubricating the blades using oil, it is recommended that you do so following a lengthy time of continuous use where the shredder has constantly been in use.
This will benefit the performance of the blades and will also enhance their durability because they have been affected by possible deterioration that can be caused when a shredder is used excessively, but the care given to it is improper.
When you sharpen the blades using aluminium foil, this method will not be required as regularly. Instead of running the paper through the shredder following each dose of heavy use, it is advised that you follow this method on a 2 to 3 week basis.
This will ensure that the blades are kept in the best condition possible so that the shredder is always working to the best standard and is capable of cutting through the paper properly.
Do paper shredders wear out?
Yes, paper shredders will eventually wear out, especially those that are heavily used to shred through hefty piles of paper. As with anything, the more the shredder is used, the more worn the different components and mechanisms become. Not only does this, of course, place a significant amount of stress on the blades, but this can affect the functionality of the motor too.
You will find that there are some shredders that are designed for continuous use and they are equipped with the heavy-duty pieces that support this. For this reason, it is important to check the product specifications beforehand because this is where the length of time that the shredder can be used at once will be stated.
If your shredder is not equipped with a thermally protected motor, it is much more susceptible to burning out if it is subjected to intense use. Also, the quality of the blades of a cheaper model may be lacking in comparison to those that have been made to a higher standard, because of this, there may be a risk of them wearing out and requiring replacement sooner.