A paper shredder is a great investment for any home office and gives you the security of knowing any sensitive or personal documents you throw away are in a state where no one can retrieve your information. However, paper shredders can get clogged with dust and eventually stop working. To keep yours running smoothly, reader Eric reminds us that paper shredders should be oiled. He uses plain canola oil to keep his in working order.
Image: Rob Marquardt.
Most shredder manufacturers will tell you to avoid lubricants like hobby oil or WD-40, and to only use proper shredder oil, as their specific lubricant is designed to be heat-tolerant. However, reader Eric writes in and tells us that in his research, it's commercial shredders that need special oil-based lubricants. His old Fellowes model was out of warranty, and when he looked up with was in the Fellowes lubricant, he found it was just re-bottled canola oil (PDF link). He did the maths: canola oil at the store is $US0.07 per 30mL and the Fellowes-branded oil is $US0.87 per 30mL.
We did some more research and sure enough, Fellowes isn't the only shredder manufacturer that uses canola or vegetable oil for their home units. Plus, canola oil's smoke point ranges (depending on quality) from 107°C to 224°C, well above the temps your shredder should be running at. If your home paper shredder is on its last legs or you don't want to spend a bunch of money on it, grab the canola oil from your kitchen and give it a shot. Your mileage may vary, but it could save you a lot of money.
Thanks to Eric for sending in the tip!