The Key To Keeping Your Paper Shredder Sharp Involves One Handy Kitchen Staple

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A paper shredder is always useful, whether it's in the office or at home. It can help you dispose of any confidential data, bills, and school files. More powerful shredders can even destroy cell phones and hard drives. However, when a shredder stops working as well as it used to, it's time to take action and fix the issue, especially when working in government offices or for big companies that need to dispose of information daily.

Fortunately, a kitchen staple like aluminum foil can save your paper shredder's blades, making them sharper again and allowing them to continue working efficiently for longer. Aluminum foil is commonly used for lining cabinets and drawers, preserving food, and roasting potatoes. However, many people may not know that it can be used to sharpen bladed surfaces. By cutting a few sheets of aluminum foil with your kitchen scissors, you can restore their sharpness. You can use a similar process for your paper shredder.

Why use aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is a versatile household item that can be used for many purposes, but why does it work on paper shredders? The answer is simple: Aluminum foil is tough enough to sharpen the blades of your paper shredder. However, it is delicate enough to run through your paper shredder without damaging anything inside the machine. To sharpen dull blades, simply run two to three sheets of regular kitchen aluminum foil through the paper shredder, replicating the shredding motion.

This works best on shredders with no self-sharpening features or blades that are relatively new or still have some sharpness. It's advisable to do this every few weeks to keep your shredder's blades in peak condition. Unfortunately, if your shredder blades are too dull, aluminum foil may not make them sharper. In this case, you may need to buy new ones.

When aluminum foil doesn't help

If aluminum foil doesn't work, there are other ways to re-sharpen your shredder's dull blades. First, check the shredder's user manual to see if the manufacturer has included sharpening sheets inside the rotor that will sharpen the blades each time you use the shredder.  Additionally, make sure to regularly oil the shredder's blades to lubricate them and help them run smoothly.

You can also use sharpening elements like this one from Amazon ($10.99) that will replicate the aluminum foil trick while applying lubricant at the same time. Run one sheet through the shredder to sharpen the blades, then run the shredder in reverse to allow the lubricant to get between the blades. Finally, if nothing else works, take the blades to a professional sharpener for service or purchase a new set of blades for your shredder. You can then try aluminum foil again to maintain the sharpness for longer.