How to Fix a Paper Shredder Jam – Latest Guides

In this article, we give you tips on how to fix a paper shredder jam or blockage and how to prevent it in the future.

Oh no, the paper in your paper shredder is jammed. And your shredder now doesn’t do anything anymore. Do not panic. Jammed paper in a shredder is quite common (unfortunately).

Inserting more paper than a paper shredder admits may end up in a jam. Especially if the paper shredder is domestic and low capacity. How to clear a jam in the paper shredder?

>> This guide shows you what is the best paper shredder for home use

How to fix a paper shredder jam?

The first thing we should try is to reverse the rotation of the blades. Almost all paper shredders include the reverse or reverse function. But before doing so it is essential:

  1. Disconnect the machine
  2. Empty the trash

how to fix a paper shredder jam - Empty the bin of a paper shredderEmpty the bin of a paper shredder, the first step to clear a jam

With the empty chip container, we will proceed to connect the paper chopper and activate the reverse function.

how to fix a paper shredder jam - Clear jam in paper shredderTo clear a jam in a paper shredder you must activate the reverse mode

If the paper jam is not too important to keep the machine turning a few seconds in the opposite direction will be more than enough. Sometimes you have to toggle between forward and reverse mode to make it easier for the cutting head to eject the jammed paper.

If after alternating the direction of rotation of the machine still does not work we will have to clear the jam by hand. To do this, we will disconnect the cable again, remove the wastebasket and turn the top piece.

With the help of a tip pliers, we will remove all the pieces of paper and plastic fragments that we find in the cutting head.

Blades of a paper shredderBlades of a paper shredder

When we believe it is ready, we will reconnect it. It will also help to eliminate the jam by introducing a lubricating sheet or a few drops of oil.

Causes for a jammed paper shredder

How does your paper shredder get stuck? A paper jam can be caused by:

  • Too much paper input: Every paper shredder has an input capacity. That is, the maximum number of sheets of standard A4 paper that you can put in the feed slot at the same time. With some shredders, you can shred 5 sheets of paper at a time. And with other shredders, you can destroy 25 sheets at a time into fine shreds. Please note, this is the maximum number of sheets of paper. We advise you to shred a little less at the same time to prevent blockage.
  • Shredding too thick paper: Can your shredder shred 8 sheets of paper at a time? That means 8 sheets of standard printing paper. It is therefore not possible to shred 8 sheets of thick paper (from certificates or promotional material) at the same time. Make sure that you do not shred paper that is too thick. Shred certainly not brown cardboard or covers of writing pads, for example.
  • Feeding paper too quickly: Give your paper shredder some breathing space to process the paper. So do not feed paper too quickly if the shredder is still busy with the previous ‘batch’. As a result, too much paper can end up in the blades, causing the blades to jam and the engine to overheat.
  • Feeding skewed paper: A shredder works best if the paper is fed straight down. But it may happen that you or the shredder skew the paper. The paper folds in half, causing the blades to handle a thicker stack of paper and possibly jam. Do you see the paper skew in the feed slot? Then use the reverse function to put the paper back into the feed opening.
  • Creased or folded paper: Creased or folded documents are somewhat thicker than a sheet of smooth paper. Shredding too many of these types of documents at the same time can result in a paper jam. It is best to shred damaged documents one by one.
  • The input of the wrong material: A paper shredder can do one thing very well and that is shredding paper. Some shredders can also shred small staples and paper clips. And there are paper shredders that can also shred CDs, DVDs, and cards. But a paper shredder cannot destroy cardboard, plastic folders, foil, elastic, rope or other material. So don’t try to experiment with this.
  • Too little maintenance: Your shredder needs regular maintenance. All you have to do is lubricate the blades with shredder oil. Do this after emptying the drip tray or after intensive use. The blades need the oil to keep running smoothly and for a smooth feed of the paper. In the event of poor maintenance, the paper shredder will work stiffer, jam more often and make strange noises.

Causes of defective or non-functioning shredder

Does your paper shredder stop turning on and is there no paper clogging? Then there are possible causes:

  • Shredder is cooling: Almost every shredder has a maximum runtime. This is the maximum number of minutes that a paper shredder can destroy paper in succession. The machine becomes warm as a result of shredding, after which it must cool down. It may be that you have used your paper shredder for too long and are now cooling down. This can sometimes take up to half an hour. In the manual, you can see how long you can use your shredder consecutively.
  • Sump or cutter head is skewed:  Is the cutter head straight on the sump tray? Or is your collection tray properly positioned in your shredder? Some shredders only become active when the collection tray is properly connected to the cutting head.
  • Sensor: Some paper shredders have sensors for extra safety. For example, the device stops if fingers are detected near the input opening. The sensor may be dirty or keep your hands too close to the entry opening.
  • Check plug: Is the plug connected correctly? Is the socket working? Does the power strip work correctly and is it switched on? Did you switch on the shredder? Sometimes there is an on / off button at the rear of the shredder.
  • Defective shredder: A paper shredder is an electrical device. And a technical defect may occur in the shredder. Have you checked the above points and are you still not responding to the shredder? Then opt for safety and contact the store, webshop or manufacturer for advice.

How to prevent a paper jam in your paper shredder?

With these tips you can prevent a paper jam or defect in your paper shredder as much as possible:

  1. Lubricate the blades regularly
  2. Keep your paper shredder dust-free
  3. Allow the machine to cool off during intensive use
  4. Empty the catcher with chips regularly
  5. Do not shred too much paper at a time


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