How to Oil a Paper Shredder the Right Way

by Julien Gandelin
Secretary destroys documents using a special apparatus

If you’re a business owner or have a home office, chances are you own a high-security shredder. Although many new shredders include automated oiling options, some models lack this feature.

Therefore, if the latter applies to you, it’s essential to know how to oil a paper shredder. Fortunately, this guide covers a few methods on how to get the job done and ensure your pricey machine doesn’t go to waste.

How to Oil a Paper Shredder Properly

Here are 3 methods of oiling a paper shredder.

  • A lubricant sheet 
  • Single paper oilin
  • Double paper oiling

1. Single Paper Oiling

With this method, all you need is suitable lubricant oil for proper and A4 paper to oil the blades properly. Next, follow the steps below.

  • Put the A4 sheet of paper on a flat surface and let it run through your shredder for a few seconds
  • Turn off the entire shredder
  • Squirt the oil onto the piece of paper from the left, slowly making your way to the right
  • Run it through the paper entry. Doing so means that the shredder blade will be well-oiled
  • Repeat the process thrice to make sure the shredder blade absorbs the excess oil.

2. Double Paper Oiling

It’s an indirect method that entails shredder oil and two A4-size papers. To get started:

  • Put two A4 size papers on a flat surface
  • Pour the oil from the top left to the far right corner of the paper. Doing so maintains a crisscross pattern
  • Likewise, pour the oil from the top right corner of the paper to the bottom left. It’s worth keeping in mind that the oil shouldn’t dry from the paper
  • Carefully put the second A4 paper onto the oiled one
  • Activate the reverse button on your shredder for a few seconds
  • Pass the sandwiched paper through your shredder
  • Allow the shredder to shred the papers correctl
  • Re-activate the shredder feature for 60 seconds
  • You can let the blade rotate a few more times for the oil to spread evenly.

3. Oil Shredder Lubricant Sheets

If you gravitate towards a more natural method, using oil shredder lubricant is your holy grail. It’s a more natural process compared to the other methods discussed. You have free rein to oil the shredder more naturally. Oiling using lubricant sheets is the same as regular shredding whereby lubricant sheets replace oiled A4 papers.

How Frequently Should You Oil Your Paper Shredder?

It boils down to the different criteria. For a personal shredder, you can oil it a few times annually. However, we recommend oiling your machine after 30 minutes of continuous operation. If you’re shredding a boatload of papers in a short timeframe, then you may notice your shredder running slower. For that reason, we recommend oiling your shredder after every use.


Let’s discuss the answers to the most commonly asked questions about oiling paper shredders.

1. What oil is best suited for your shredder?

The kind of oil for your machine varies from one shredder to another. For instance, a cross-cut paper shredder pairs well with vegetable-based oil such as Fellowes Powershred. Contrarily, top-grade oil is suitable for commercial shredders. Most importantly, the Fellowes shredder comes with an automated oiling system.

2. How frequently should you lubricate your shredder?

For occasional use, oil the shredder every two to three months. However, with frequent use, you should practice oiling after each shredding.

3. Where can you purchase shredder oil?

You’ll get the most suitable oil from the manufacturer of your machine. That’s because they produce different oils for various machines. Furthermore, in today’s digital era, you can easily find oil manufacturing companies online.

4. What is an industrial shredder?

It’s a large-sized mechanical device that gets the job done in reducing a boatload of product sizes such as metals, plastics, and tires. Although it will dent your wallet by thousands of dollars, it’ll secure your technical documents.

5. What does shredder oil consist of?

It’s the perfect blend of mineral oil and vegetable oil. That’s because the combination of these two oils results in optimum shredder performance. It’s worth keeping in mind that the WD40 isn’t appropriate for shredder oiling. Usually, it causes paper jams to the shredder due to the paper stick.

6. What is a cross-cut shredder?

Crosscut is a machine with the uncanny ability to cut papers vertically and horizontally, providing additional security. The Swingline Stack counterpart is perfect for personal use.

7. Can olive oil be used in place of a lubricate shredder?

Yes! Olive oil can come in handy as a substitute for shredder oil. However, keep in mind that if you opt for shredder oil, don’t pour it directly from the squeeze bottle as you’ll end up putting too much. Use a tablespoon at a go, slowly working your way across your machine until you have a fine coat.

8. Is there a great substitute for shredder oil?

If you’re using an out-of-warranty or old paper shredder, canola oil is a great option rather than buying oil. The oil generated by some brands typically repackaged canola oil, allowing you to cut down on costs.

To Wrap Up

An office shredder plays a key role in your life. It helps protect delicate documents from getting into the wrong hands, making it a worthwhile investment. Now that you know how to oil a paper shredder the right way, the ball is in your court to keep your machine running in tiptop condition. Once you choose the ideal oil for your machine, you’re good to go.


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