Mastering Effective Shredding: Can You Shred Paper with Staples?

Ever found yourself staring at a stack of papers, stapled together, and wondering if you can just shred them as is? You’re not alone. This is a common question that often pops up when it’s time to declutter your workspace.

The short answer is yes, you can shred paper with staples. But before you start feeding that stapled paper into your shredder, there’s a bit more to it. The type of shredder you have, the number of staples, and the thickness of the paper all play a role in whether you can successfully shred stapled documents.

Key Takeaways

  • You can shred paper with staples, but the number of staples and the shredder’s capacity need to be considered. Too many staples can reduce the shredder’s efficiency and potentially cause permanent damage.
  • Different types of shredders can handle staples to varying degrees. Strip-cut shredders may struggle with stapled paper, while commercial-grade and industrial shredders are typically built to manage small quantities of staples.
  • The thickness of the paper also matters. Thick paper or multiple pages bound by staples can strain your shredder, leading to a shorter lifespan.
  • To prolong the lifespan of your shredder, it’s advised to remove staples before shredding, especially if you are planning to shred stapled documents regularly.
  • The types of shredders vary-Namely, strip-cut (entry-level and less tolerant to staples), cross-cut (mid-level security can handle occasional staples), micro-cut (high security, could suffer wear and tear from frequent staples exposure), and industrial shredders (high-capacity and robust, can handle staples effectively).
  • Shredder maintenance is crucial for its efficacy and longevity. Keeping it clean, allowing rest periods, regular oiling, and matching the shredder to specific tasks (like shredding stapled papers) can help maintain its optimal functionality.

Shredding paper with staples can be done safely using modern shredders that are capable of handling small metals without damaging the machinery, as outlined by Fellowes, which manufacture high-quality shredders designed for this purpose. However, to avoid any potential harm to the shredder blades and ensure efficiency, removing large metal fasteners is advisable, a best practice supported by Staples, who provide guidance on pre-shredding procedures. For those interested in maintaining their shredders in optimal condition, following the manufacturer’s guidelines on what can safely be shredded is crucial, as Consumer Reports advises in their reviews of the best paper shredders.

Factors to Consider

Before you toss those stapled papers into your shredder, let’s delve into the critical elements you should keep in mind.

Type of Shredder: Not every shredder is built equally. Some are more equipped to handle staples than others. It’s essential to understand your shredder’s ability to tackle staples. Small office or home shredders might struggle with staples, impacting longevity. On the other hand, commercial-grade shredders are typically built to handle small quantities of staples, they have more powerful motors and stronger cutting blades.

Number of Staples: A singular staple might not harm your shredder, but a paper chunk fastened with multiple staples could cause trouble. It’s about the shredder’s blade endurance and the potential for staple jams. Too many staples might lead to a decrease in your shredder’s efficiency or, worse, permanent damage.

Paper Thickness: The thickness of the paper, along with the presence of staples, can also affect the ease with which your shredder operates. Thick paper such as cardstock or multiple pages bound by staples can overwork your shredder, leading to a shorter lifespan.

All of these factors are interconnected, and they contribute to the bigger picture of whether you should shred paper with staples. These considerations are especially important if you’re planning to shred stapled papers regularly.

Now that you’ve got these tips under your belt, you’ll be better equipped to care for your shredder and extend its lifespan. But remember, when in doubt, it’s best to remove staples before shredding – your shredder will thank you.

Types of Shredders

Before you decide whether it’s wise to shred paper with staples or not, it’s important to know the kind of shredder you’re dealing with. Shredders come in various sizes and capacities, all with varying levels of tolerance towards staples. By understanding your shredder’s capabilities, you can maximize its efficiency and longevity.

Strip-Cut Shredders are your basic, entry-level type. They’re often less expensive and while effective at destroying documents, they don’t provide the highest level of security. These shredders turn your papers into long vertical strips. However, keep in mind that stripping process can be significantly slowed down or even compromised with stapled papers.

Moving up the scale, you have Cross-Cut Shredders, a middle-ground option suitable for destroying more sensitive documents. Cross-cut models slice paper both horizontally and vertically, resulting in smaller pieces. While these shredders can usually handle the occasional staple, consistent staples can dull its blades over time, impacting efficiency.

For the highest level of security, Micro-Cut Shredders are your best bet. They cut the paper into tiny pieces, making it near impossible to reconstruct the document. While they’re designed to handle regular shredding needs, like the cross-cut type, they can suffer wear and tear if frequently fed with stapled paper.

Finally, there are Industrial Shredders, often used by large businesses and institutions. They’re built to handle substantial volumes of paper and typically robust enough to shred staples without any significant impact on their performance. But, even with these powerhouse shredders, repeatedly shredding stapled documents may hurt its longevity in the long run.

Knowing your shredder’s type helps you best utilize its features and prolong its lifespan. Whether it’s okay to shred stapled papers should not just be a matter of convenience, but also a factor of what type of machine you’re working with. Take time to understand your shredder’s capabilities and find a balance between convenience and the longevity of your machine. In most cases, the time spent removing a few staples now might save you from a headache later. It’s a small effort that may lead to significant savings in maintenance costs.

Shredding Stapled Documents

When it comes to shredding your documents, you might be wondering, “Can I shred paper with staples?” The short answer is yes, but there’s a tad bit more context needed to fully grasp the implications.

Not all shredders are created equally. Some shredders can handle shredding paper with staples while others may struggle or even get damaged. Let’s delve deeper into different types of shredders and the staple tolerance of each.

Strip-Cut Shredders are the simplest and most common type of shredder out there. They can handle staples to an extent, but continuous input may strain the machine and shorten its lifespan.

Cross-Cut Shredders provide a higher level of security by cutting papers both vertically and horizontally. They are more accommodating when it comes to staples, but it’s not recommended for large volumes.

Micro-Cut Shredders offer the highest level of security. They cut into tiny confetti-like pieces. However, the complex cutting mechanism may suffer from regular encounters with staples.

Lastly, Industrial Shredders are heavy-duty equipment that are more than capable of handling staples, and other metal objects, with utter ease. However, they are not usually found in regular office or home scenarios because of their massive size and operational cost.

While feeding your papers wishing staples included into the shredder might seem like a convenient idea, you might need to assess the potential risk and damage you are subjecting your machine to. It’s essential to maintain the balance between your shredding convenience and the longevity of your shredding machine.

So, if you find yourself frequently shredding staple-heavy documents, consider investing in a heavy-duty shredder. It may initially be a little more pricey, but it’ll surely pay for itself in the long run.

Maintaining and taking good care of your shredder machine is as important as understanding which type of shredder is suitable for what kind of paper.

Tips for Efficient Shredding

As you delve deeper into the world of shredding, there are a few tricks and tips to keep in mind. These will help you navigate the sometimes complicated process of shredding documents, especially those with staples.

Keep It Clean

Keeping your shredder clean is the first step to avoiding unnecessary damage or straining. Regularly inspect the shredder and clear out any jammed staples or paper pieces. This helps maintain your machine’s efficiency and prolongs its lifespan.

Sort Your Paper

Before sending your documents through the shredder, be sure to sort them properly. If you often need to shred documents with staples, divide them into separate stacks. For instance, one stack may contain staple-free papers, while another may have documents with staples. This allows you to adjust the settings or change the shredders according to the type of paper.

Allow Resting Periods

Depending on the model, some shredders need rest periods after continuous use. Make it a habit to give your shredder these small breaks. This reduces the risk of overheating and ensures a smoother operation.

Regular Oil Maintenance

Certain shredders require regular oiling. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding this. Regular oiling reduces friction and keeps your shredder running smoothly and efficiently.

Find the Right Shredder for Your Tasks

Matching the right shredder to your tasks is key. If you’re predominantly shredding papers with staples, consider investing in a more robust and staple-tolerant model. This way, you can avoid straining your machine and prolong its service life. Getting a high-capacity shredder, such as an industrial or micro-cut model, can be a wise move.

By adhering to these pointers, you can ensure your shredding runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Remember, balance is integral when it comes to shredding convenience and machine longevity. So, as you continue further into your shredding journey, keep these tips in mind.


There’s no denying it, shredding paper with staples can be a breeze if you’ve got the right shredder at hand. Remember, maintaining your shredder isn’t just about keeping it clean. It’s about ensuring its longevity and optimal performance. So don’t forget to sort your documents, give your shredder a rest, and regularly oil it. It’s all about finding that perfect balance between convenience and machine care. With these tips, you’ll not only shred effectively but also keep your shredder running smoothly for years to come. Happy shredding!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some tips for efficient shredding?

The article suggests sorting documents before shredding, giving the machine rest periods, and performing regular oil maintenance as key practices for efficient shredding.

Why is maintaining a clean shredder important?

Maintaining a clean shredder prevents damage and extends the machine’s lifespan, ensuring optimal performance and efficiency in the shredding process.

What role does matching the right shredder to the task play?

Using the right shredder for the task, such as a model that can handle staples, prevents unnecessary strain on the machine and assures longer lifespan.

How can I strike a balance between shredding convenience and machine longevity?

Striking the right balance involves adopting efficient shredding practices, using adequately equipped shredders for specific tasks, and properly maintaining the machines to prolong their aliveness.