Shredder Paper Jams
How to clear a stuck paper shredder
Paper jams are fairly common with shredders, especially if you put in too much paper at one time, run the shredder too long, or try to shred something you shouldn't. Always start by turning the shredder off and letting it cool down for at least ten minutes. Overheating from too much use can contribute to jams and other problems. In some cases, clearing a shredder jam is not that different from trying to clear a printer jam, except for the matter of the blades. Depending on the severity of the jam, one of these solutions should probably work:
- Reverse Mode: This is best for minor paper jams. If your shredder has the option, switch from Automatic Mode to Reverse. Oftentimes, the shredder will spit all the paper back out and you can start over.
- Pull It Out: With the shredder off, grasp the end of the paper that's still sticking out of the top and pull it firmly back out the way it came. Don't do this if you feel major resistance, but it's possible to unwind a jam this way if the paper isn't stuck too firmly.
- Take It Apart: If the jam is really in there good, try taking the top of the shredder off and looking at the underside. Since this is where all the blades are, make sure that the shredder is off and unplugged at this point. See if you can unwind the paper from the blades. Avoid pulling too hard, because you'll just tear the bottom off and leave the top part stuck in the blades.
- Use Tweezers: If the bits of paper causing the jam are very small, or if the jam is caused by a shredded credit card, try using tweezers or pliers to get them out. Again, take the top of the shredder off and look underneath at the blades themselves. Use the tweezers to wiggle the pieces back and forth until they come loose. Make sure you don't scrape up or dull the blades with the tweezers while you do this.
- Soften the Paper: If the problem is paper and nothing else works, pour a little shredder oil along the feed. This will soften the paper and after a half hour or so you can run the shredder again and hopefully it will all go through. If you choose this option, make sure that you only use shredder oil and not another liquid. Anything else could harm the blades or cause the paper to stick together and gum up the works again later on.
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