How To Reset a Paper Shredder?

If your paper shredder is overheating, sounding weird, or temporarily not working, a quick reset may be all you need. How do you perform this reset? 

Here’s how to reset your paper shredder:

  1. Turn off the paper shredder.
  2. Allow the paper shredder to cool for an hour.
  3. Pull out papers from the rollers. 
  4. Use a vacuum to remove paper dust.
  5. Oil the blades.
  6. Clean the shredder sensors.
  7. Turn on the paper shredder.

In this article, I’ll elaborate on the steps to reset and fix your paper shredder issues. I’ll also touch on how to maintain your paper shredder so you won’t have to keep resetting it too often.

1. Turn Off the Paper Shredder

First, switch off the shredder. The power function should be between the auto and the reverse modes. You should also switch off the power from the mains and unplug the power cable. This is necessary because the shredder has sensors that automatically sense incoming objects to shred them, and you don’t want your fingers to be one of those objects. 

Read: How To Use A Paper Shredder?

2. Allow the Paper Shredder To Cool for an Hour

Your shredder can become hot if you’ve been shredding papers non-stop for over an hour. Also, if your machine is flashing a red light before you turn it off, that’s a likely sign it was overheating. By allowing your shredder to cool off for at least 60 minutes, you can reduce the heat in the machine’s parts and return it to its normal condition.  

3. Pull Out Papers From the Roller

Modern shredding machines have two main parts: the shredding compartment and the waste compartment. The waste compartment stores shredded papers, while the shredding compartment houses the components that allow the machine to do its work.

To find the rollers, remove the shredding compartment (usually the upper section). If your machine doesn’t have a locking mechanism, this should be easy enough to do. Otherwise, read your user manual to know how to separate the two sections of your shredder.

After separating the sections, put the shredding compartment on a clean, flat surface. Gently pull out any chunks of paper stuck between the rollers. You can also use a pair of tweezers for this purpose.

Keep in mind that shredder roller blades are sharp. Avoid getting your fingers too close to the blades while taking out papers from the roller.

Read: How Long Can You Run A Paper Shredder?

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4. Use a Vacuum To Remove Paper Dust

When you continuously shred papers, paper dust is formed. You need to remove these together with other debris stuck inside your shredder using a vacuum. Although there are several types of vacuum cleaners you can use for this purpose, a handheld vacuum cleaner will work best.

It’s important to note that continuous exposure to paper dust can impair lung function. Therefore, wear a face mask when removing paper dust from the shredder.

5. Oil the Blades

If you want to reduce stiffness and keep your shredder running smoothly, you need to oil the roller blades regularly. You can do this using one of two methods: oiling with paper or direct oiling.

Oiling With Paper

  1. Prepare A4 paper (or something of a similar size). Ensure that it’s not damaged, folded, or creased.
  2. Put the A4 sheet on a smooth surface.
  3. Get the recommended oil for the shredder. This information should be in the user manual.
  4. Pour the oil gently on the paper. Ensure that the oil runs from end to end in a zigzag pattern.
  5. Switch on the machine and run the A4 through it.
  6. Repeat the process at least twice.

Direct Oiling

As the name implies, you pour the oil directly onto the roller blades instead of using paper to apply it. To do this process properly (i.e., avoid spilling oil onto unnecessary parts), follow these steps:

  1. Grab a bottle of the recommended oil for the shredder
  2. Switch the machine to manual mode. This will allow you to have better control over the direction of the blade.
  3. Gently pour oil along the paper line. This will spread the oil evenly along the blade.
  4. Switch the shredder to reverse mode and run for at least 30 seconds.
  5. Turn off the machine.
  6. Toggle back to auto mode and restart.
  7. Run at least three papers through the shredder to soak out excess oil.

Read: Jammed Paper Shredder Won’t Feed Paper. How To Fix It?

6. Clean the Shredder Sensors

There are several types of shredder sensors depending on where they’re located on your machine. They include the following:

  • Door sensor: This lets you know if the paper bins aren’t attached properly.
  • Load protector sensor: This alerts you whenever there’s too much load in the machine.
  • Bin sensor: This indicates when the bin section is full.
  • Overheat sensor: This detects when the shredder’s temperature goes above the acceptable limit.

To find the sensors on your shredder, refer to your user manual. Note that the sensor might be in a covered spot, so you’ll need a flashlight. Once you find these sensors, clean them with a microfiber cloth or handheld vacuum.

Read: How To Fix A Paper Shredder That Won’t Turn On?

7. Turn On the Paper Shredder

To reset your paper shredder:

  1. Put your shredder’s two compartments back together. 
  2. Connect your machine to a wall socket, and turn it on. 
  3. Run some papers through it to confirm that it’s in good working condition. 
  4. Check if the sensors are functioning as they should.

How To Maintain Your Paper Shredder?

If you don’t want to have to reset your shredder too often, you need to know how to maintain it properly as follows.

Turn Off and Unplug Shredder After Use

After shredding papers, turn off and unplug your shredder’s power cable from its socket. Otherwise, a small amount of power will continue to flow through the machine. Aside from safety issues, leaving your shredder powered when not in use will cause its electric motor to continue running, resulting in wear and tear over time. Also, if it’s turned on and plugged into a wall socket, it may cause your electricity bills to skyrocket without your knowledge.

Clean the Shredder Regularly

Dust particles can accumulate between your shredder’s blades and rollers, so you need to clean your shredder regularly.

If you use your shredder often (e.g. in the office), it’s a good idea to clean it at least twice every month. If you only use it occasionally, you can clean it at least once in two months.

To clean your shredding machine:

  1. Switch it off.
  2. Open up the shredding section.
  3. Empty the trash compartment.
  4. Gently remove the bits of paper that got stuck in the blades. Be careful not to get your fingers too close to them to avoid injury.
  5. Use a vacuum to suck out paper dust and particles. Avoid using water or blowing into the shredder with your mouth. Otherwise, the resulting moisture will corrode your shredder’s metal components.

Allow the Shredder To Rest After Long Hours of Shredding

Like humans, shredders need time to rest after working long hours. When you give your shredder enough time to cool down, you’ll ensure that it can function for as long as possible. 

Here are tips on how to let your shredder “rest”:

  • Shred in batches if you’re shredding a lot of papers. After every batch, let your shredder rest for at least an hour.
  • Know your shredder’s maximum page load capacity. The maximum page load capacity refers to the maximum amount of paper your shredder can shred at once. Maximum page load capacities vary between designs. For instance, auto feed shredding machines have a greater load capacity than manual shredders. 
  • Shred at or below your shredder’s maximum page load capacity. For manual shredders, you shouldn’t shred more than ten papers at the same time. For auto feed shredders, you can do up to 50 at once.
  • Give the machine time to rest after shredding, depending on the amount of paper shredded. For example, you should allow a rest time of at least 10 minutes if you just shred over 20 documents.

Oil Your Shredder Regularly

If you’re experiencing slow shredding or hearing unusual noises from your machine, the rollers are likely getting stiff. For this reason, you need to lubricate your machine components at least twice a week. You can lubricate more often depending on how much you use your machine. 

Read: Why Do Paper Shredders Overheat? – Troubleshooting Guide


I’ve shared what you need to know to take good care of your shredder yourself. At the same time, you should also take your machine for a professional check-up at least once every four months. Finally, read your shredder’s user manual to know more about what and how much you can shred with your machine so you don’t ruin it more than you have to. Protection Status