why is my paper shredder smoking

I recently had an experience that left me wondering why my paper shredder was smoking. I had been using it for a few weeks, but hadn’t noticed any problems until one day when I came back to the office and saw wisps of smoke coming out from beneath the bin. It turns out that there are several possible reasons why this could happen, including continued operations, shorter cooling times, being left on for too long, and mega shredding sessions. In this article I will share with you some potential causes of this issue as well as prevention tips so that you can avoid having your own paper shredder smoking episode in the future! To give you an idea of what we’re discussing here, picture a hot summer day where the sun is beating down on your lawn and slowly burning away all of your hard work – just like how neglecting to keep up with regular maintenance can cause a paper shredder to start smoking.

Key Takeaways

  • Regular maintenance and oiling is essential to prevent smoking in paper shredder
  • Follow recommended operating times and do not feed more than one piece of paper at a time to avoid jamming and overheating
  • Use only approved lubricating oil specifically designed for shredder type and do not over-oil shredder
  • Pay attention to shredder sensors and lights indicating when more cooling time is needed and check with manufacturer regarding their recommendations for usage times and any additional tips.

Continued Operations

Don’t worry, your paper shredder can keep going with a few simple steps. First of all, make sure that you are following the instructions in your shredder user manual and familiarising yourself with the features of your particular paper shredder. Commercial shredders are often equipped with specific features such as cross-cut blades or other security measures, so it pays to know what each of these does and how to use them properly. Secondly, if you have an oil paper shredder, regular oiling is essential for keeping it running smoothly and avoiding power issues or paper jams. If you don’t already use one, make sure to invest in some quality oil specifically designed for use in a paper shredder – this type of product will help maintain the integrity of your machine’s blades over time. Finally, be aware that some models can run hotter than others due to their design – if yours is prone to this then try not to overfill it as heat build-up can sometimes cause smoking. Keeping on top of regular maintenance should ensure that your paper shredder keeps running without issue for years to come!

Shorter Cooling Time

smoking paper shredder raises safety concerns immediately

Try reducing the cooling time of your shredder to decrease the chances of it smoking. For example, if you’re using a heavy-duty shredder which has a cooling time of 30 minutes, try cutting that down to 15 minutes and see if it helps reduce the amount of smoke produced. Shredders like Fellowes have sensors and lights that indicate when a product needs more time for cooling – so make sure you pay attention to those indicators. Additionally, most styles of shredders come with a reverse button which can help you clear any clogs or jammed papers in case something gets stuck inside while you’re working; this also helps keep your machine from overheating.

It’s always important to follow the instructions included with your product as these will have specific information regarding how long it should take for proper cooling – some machines may need even less than 15 minutes. You should also consider how many sheets you are feeding into the paper shredder at once; too much in one go can result in jamming or burning out the motor since more power is required to process larger amounts of paper at once.

So, make sure you keep an eye on your machine and adjust the settings accordingly: check what kind of model you have, read up on its features and follow recommended operating times depending on your style of shredder and amount of sheets being fed into it. Doing this will help prevent overheating or smoking issues in the future and ensure that your machine works properly without any hiccups!

Being Left On

If you forget to turn off your shredder after use, it could quickly overheat and quickly fill the room with smoke like a campfire. This is due to the amount of time it spends running in one session; if left on for too long of a period, the machine can become too hot to handle. In addition, if papers are fed into the shredder in reverse or if there are too many sheets of paper at once, then jammed papers will cause further issues and increase the heat generated during a shredding cycle. To prevent this from occurring, try running some cotton swabs through your machine after each session to clear out any debris that may be caught inside. Furthermore, when using your paper shredder make sure that you do not feed more than one piece of paper at a time; this will help keep the size of your documents uniform and reduce clogs within the blades.

It’s essential that you remember to turn off your shredder after each use as leaving it on can quickly lead to overheating problems which could result in smoking. Be sure to give your machine enough cooling time between uses and follow all safety instructions provided by its manufacturer before turning it back on again. Finally, be mindful of how much paper you feed into the shredding chamber at once as an overload can damage both its motor and blades as well as cause jams which will increase heat levels even further.

Mega Shredding Sessions

For mega shredding sessions, it’s important to keep an eye on the machine as it can quickly become a blazing inferno. Plastic is especially problematic as it tends to melt when overheated and cause damage to the interior components of the paper shredder. It’s highly recommended that you limit your shredding sessions to small batches at a time, in order to prevent any kind of fire hazard or permanent damage from occurring.

When tackling large projects, be sure to ask yourself if there are other methods for disposal available – like burning or recycling – instead of running the risk of using your paper shredder for hours on end. Additionally, make sure that all plastic material has been removed prior to beginning your mega-shredding session; this will help reduce unnecessary heat buildup within the machine itself.

Finally, check with your manufacturer regarding their recommendations for usage times and any additional tips they have for preventing overheating issues or smoke emission during larger jobs. Taking these precautionary steps can ensure that you’ll get optimal performance out of your paper shredder without having to worry about putting anyone in harm’s way.

Insufficient Oil

smoke pours out of paper shredder alarming users

Without regular oiling, you’ll quickly find that your shredder starts to labor under the strain of daily usage and may start emitting smoke. Many people don’t realise how important it is to keep their paper shredder lubricated in order for it to work correctly. If you’ve been neglecting to oil your machine, there’s a good chance this is what has caused the smoking and any other problems you’re having with it.

If this is the case, then you need to act quickly or risk further damage being done by heat generated from continuous running without proper lubrication. You should purchase some appropriate oil for the model of your machine and get to work on applying it as soon as possible, following manufacturer instructions carefully so as not to damage the device further.

In addition, once you’ve completed the process of oiling your paper shredder, make sure that you continue with regular maintenance intervals in order to keep it working properly over time. This includes cleaning out any lint buildup which can affect its performance too. Taking a few minutes each week or month will ensure that your paper shredding sessions are carried out without incident!

Prevention Tips

To avoid any further disaster, it’s best to heed the advice of regular maintenance and oiling of your paper shredding device so that you don’t find yourself in hot water. Prevention is key when caring for a paper shredder, and there are several steps you can take to keep your machine running smoothly.

Empty Waste CompartmentMonthly
Clean Shredding Head & TeethMonthly
Oil the Shredding MechanismWeekly/Monthly (depending on usage)

Taking preventative measures such as emptying the waste compartment monthly, cleaning the shredding head and teeth monthly, and oiling the shredding mechanism weekly or monthly depending on usage will help extend its life. It’s also advisable to use only approved lubricating oil specifically designed for your type of machine and not to over-oil it – a few drops is all that’s required. Being mindful about how much you’re using your machine is important too – giving it a break every 15 minutes or so prevents overheating which could lead to smoking. Making sure these tips are followed will ensure your paper shredder runs like a well-oiled machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of paper should I use with my paper shredder?

It is important to use the right type of paper with your paper shredder. Generally, it’s best to stick with standard office paper, such as printer and copy papers. It is also recommended that you avoid thick or special papers such as cardstock, postcards, glossy paper and photographs since these can overheat your machine and cause it to smoke. Additionally, make sure that all staples and other metal pieces are removed before shredding any documents.

How often should I empty the paper shredder?

I recently read about a case study where a man had to empty his paper shredder after every 10 pages he shredded. This is an example of how often you should empty your paper shredder, depending on the size and capacity of the device itself. Generally speaking, it’s best to empty your paper shredder as soon as it’s full for optimal performance. If you’re using large amounts of paper to shred frequently, then it’s recommended that you empty your machine once a day or more if needed. On the other hand, if you only use it occasionally for small jobs, then emptying it once every week or two should suffice.

How do I clean and maintain my paper shredder?

To maintain and clean your paper shredder, start by unplugging it from the power source. Then, use a vacuum cleaner or brush to remove any debris or scraps of paper that may have accumulated inside. Additionally, be sure to check for any obstructions in the blades such as staples or paper clips. Finally, lubricate the blades with oil once a month to keep them running smoothly.


It’s never a good sign when your paper shredder is smoking. Thankfully, there are some simple steps that can help prevent this from happening. Most importantly, you should ensure that the machine has adequate oil and allow for a cooling time after extended shredding sessions. On average, a paper shredder works best if it’s no longer than 10 minutes of continuous operation at once. Finally, remember to switch off your device when not in use – this will save energy and extend its life expectancy significantly. In fact, an unused paper shredder could last up to ten years! Taking these measures will keep your paper shredder running smoothly and smoke-free for many years to come.

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