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Sharpening a Shredder

Easy methods for keeping a paper shredder's blades sharp

If you shred a lot of documents, you may notice that the blades start to dull after a certain amount of time or use. If you have a self-sharpening shredder then the blades are constantly being kept sharp within the machine. If those have gone dull, there's nothing to do but take them to a professional and have them changed out for new blades. If your blades are not self-sharpening, you can try one of the following solutions for keeping blades up to standard:

  1. Aluminum Foil: Take a sheet of tin foil that's the length of the paper feed. Try to get double-thick foil or fold the sheet in two. Run two or three of these sheets through the shredder. It creates the same effect as sharpening a knife on a piece of metal. This works best with shredder blades that are not yet completely dull. With completely dull blades, this might not make much of a difference.
  2. Use Oil: Shredder oil is essential in keeping a shredder running smoothly, and that includes the blades. Apply shredder oil periodically, especially if you use the shredder often. For shredders that are being used more than 15 minutes at a time, oil should be used daily.
  3. Buy Shredder Sheets: There are shredder sharpening sheets for sale that can help with dull blades. Buy a few and run one through the shredder. Insert another sheet and put the shredder in reverse and run it until the sheet is completely shredded.
  4. Replace: For blades that are completely worn down, no amount of sharpening will help. In that case, it's best to just buy a new set of blades. If you have an older shredder, it's worth it to do a little research first. Check and see if it would be cheaper to buy new blades or to simply replace the entire shredder.

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