Can I Use Sewing Machine Oil On My Paper Shredder

Sewing Machine Oil Effects on Paper Shredders

When it comes to protecting confidential documents, personal information, and financial records, a paper shredder can be an invaluable tool. Without the ability to shred documents, discreetly disposing of sensitive papers can be quite difficult. Regular maintenance is key to keeping your paper shredder running right, and part of that maintenance may include oiling the shredding blades. It’s important to understand what types of lubricants can and cannot be used on your paper shredder and the possible effects of using anything other than the correct lubricants.

The general consensus among paper shredder experts is that a thin, non-abrasive oil should be used to furnish the blades on a paper shredder and keep it running smoothly. The oil does not necessarily have to specifically be sewing machine oil, but any light non-abrasive oil should do the trick. Commercial paper shredder oil is available for purchase, but it is not always necessary as other non-abrasive thin oils can be used. For example, paraffin oil, graphite oil, silicon, or olive oil can all be used in place of commercial paper shredder oil.

Unlike most other machines, a paper shredder should not be heavily oiled, as heavy oils may attract dirt and dust, which can cause paper jams and may reduce the cut quality. Additionally, use of sewing machine oil or any other prolonged lubricant can damage paper shredders. To prove this point, constant lubrication will cause the build up of resin eventually creating a residue that may affect the blades on paper shredders in the long run.

In short, sewing machine oil is an acceptable thin oil that can be used to lubricate the blades of a paper shredder; however, it’s important to note that the use of oil should be kept to a minimum to prevent build-up of residue over time. Furthermore, when using any thin oil to lubricate paper shredders, the oil should be used sparsely and must be a non-abrasive, thin oil. It is crucial to read the paper shredder owner’s manual for specific guidance regarding the type of oil to use and the amount.

Sewing Machine Oil/Commercial Lubricants

It’s important to note that there is a large selection of lubricants used for paper shredders, some of which are specifically designed to provide both short and long lasting lubrication. Those lubricants can be found in various forms, including liquid, aerosol and gel. But even more important is to make sure that the correct lubricant is used on the paper shredder.

The differing kinds of lubricants are likely to provide a different level of lubrication. Some may be better for particular types of paper shredders, and some may have no effect or may even be detrimental to the machine or user. For example, the use of thicker oils, such as sewing machine oil, may provide a short-term effect, but it can also cause a film that may build up on the blades, potentially leading to paper jams and reduced cut quality over time. Longer-lasting lubricants that are designed specifically for paper shredders can provide more efficient results.

For the best results, it is advisable to use a paper shredder lubricant designed specifically for paper shredding. Doing so will reduce the risk of damage to the machine and may provide more efficient lubrication. Many paper shredder lubricants are available in aerosol form, allowing for easy application and thorough coverage of the blades.


It is also important to understand that besides lubrication, a paper shredder should also get regular cleaning to ensure efficient performance and a long service life. To ensure that the paper shredder runs at optimum performance, the blades must be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, or whenever the shredder’s performance starts to decline. Regular, routine cleaning must also be performed in order to prevent a buildup of paper residue and dust, which may attach to the blades and cause paper jams.

When it comes to properly oiling and cleaning paper shredders, it is paramount to always read the manufacturer’s instructions. Not only will doing so provide guidance on how to properly clean and lubricate the blades, but it may also provide instructions on how to handle large paper jams and other types of issues.

Also, it’s important to note that periodic maintenance of a paper shredder may involve the replacement of blades and other components, as they can become worn over time. Worn blades and other components can reduce the efficiency of the machine, so it’s important to periodically inspect the paper shredder and to replace components, if necessary.

Alternatives to Sewing Machine Oil

Sewing machine oil is by no means the only type of non-abrasive oil that can be used for lubricating the blades of a paper shredder. Several other types of non-abrasive oil can be used for this purpose, including culinary grade non-detergent mineral oil and light machine oil. While these types of oil may work, it’s important to always use the appropriate oil recommended by the paper shredder manufacturer.

It is also worth noting that while oil is an important part of a paper shredder’s maintenance, it’s not the only factor. Regular cleaning of the paper shredder should also be part of the maintenance routine. Experts recommend that paper shredders be cleaned at least once a month to remove any build up of paper residue and dust. Additionally, occasional removal and cleaning of the blades may be necessary to prevent the accumulation of debris and paper residue.

Safety and Environmental Considerations

There are also safety and environmental considerations when using oil on a paper shredder. It is important to always ensure that the oil is a non-abrasive, light oil and to keep the amount of oil used to a minimum, as lubricants can sometimes have adverse effects on a paper shredder. Additionally, non-detergent mineral oils and other types of lubricants may be combustible, so proper safety measures must be taken when applying oil to a paper shredder.

It is also important to consider the environment when using oil on a paper shredder. Mineral oil, for example, can have adverse effects on soil and aquatic life if it is not disposed of in the appropriate manner. To prevent environmental damages, it is important to always dispose of waste oils in the appropriate manner, as recommended by local and national regulations.


In conclusion, sewing machine oil is an acceptable thin oil that can be used on paper shredders. However, it must be used sparingly and should always be a non-abrasive oil. On the other hand, it may be better to use a paper shredder lubricant specifically designed for paper shredders, as those lubricants may offer more efficient lubrication and may be better for a particular type of machine. When using oil on any paper shredder, it is also important to consider safety and environmental considerations, as well as to regularly clean the machine to ensure that it runs at optimum performance.

Geoffrey Kirby is an experienced author and sewist who has been creating sewn projects for over 20 years. He has a passion for teaching beginners and inspiring more advanced sewists both online and through his writings. Outside of writing about sewing, Geoffrey loves to explore new techniques and styles of sewing that incorporate upcycling fabric remnants into sweet items with personality.

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