There are many reasons why using paper shredders in a household is not the best option. It might be an unnecessary expense since you don’t have a lot of paper to shred. Also, cheaper household shredders tend to have low capacity, overheat, clog up, take up space, etc. Whatever the reason, you can easily substitute paper shredder with household items.
5 Easy Ways to Shred Paper or Letters Without a Shredder Machine
Probably the most straight forward way is to burn the documents in your back yard. Make sure to burn the paper in a confined area, like a fire pit. Just make sure that some papers won’t get blown away.
Even though burning is a great solution, for some people, this may not be an option. In this case, they can turn to another element, water.
2. Dissolving in Water
Another way to dispose of documents with sensitive information is to soak them in water. You can use plain water or add additional ingredients to accelerate the process, e.g., vinegar, citric acid, bleach, soap, sand, ice, etc.
I have tried vinegar, citric acid, lemon juice, and, as a bonus, baking soda. For some reason, baking soda often saves the day, so why not try it here. After 30 minutes of soaking and a bit of stirring, the baking soda mix seemed to have the best results, but not by much. After all the testing, In my opinion, putting the documents into a bucket with plain water is enough. For my 9 page document, 15 minutes of soaking was enough.
🤓 Dissolving paper is not as easy as you might think. According to Sciencing.com, most commercially used papers are quite durable and need a strong acid to dissolve completely (source). Even though you could use hydrochloric acid (also known as muriatic acid), which is strong enough to dissolve paper, you have to follow strict safety precautions when working with it. Additionally, the acid has to be neutralized before disposed of. On top of that, you have to dispose of the neutralized mixture at the hazardous waste facility. That is a lot of hustle!
After the paper is soaked, mix it with a spoon to break the larger pieces, rinse the pulp, and trash it. If you want to be extra cautious, you can dry the pulp before discarding it.
If you want to shred your paper to the littlest pieces, you can use a blender for that. First, soak all documents in water to weaken the paper structure (at least 15 minutes). Then blend it to shreds. This option is suitable for small amounts of paper.
However, in my opinion, leaving the paper in a bucket of water and stirring it with a spoon is enough to shred the paper.
4. Paint Mixing Drill
I know that it sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. Using a paint mixing drill is a time-saving option if you have a lot of documents. Put paper into a large bucket with water and soak it for at least 15 minutes. Some people advise even 24 hours. Then use a paint mixing drill to shred the documents to pieces. After that, drain the leftovers, let them dry (optional), and throw them away.
This is probably the most effective way to dispose of a larger amount of documents.
5. Shredding Scissors
If you have just a couple of papers here and there and don’t want to hassle with fire or water, there is a small gadget that might be right for you. Shredding scissors – they will help you go through the paperwork faster than with regular scissors, and as a bonus, you can use it on parsley or chive in the kitchen. Here is an Amazon link for the scissors.
Thanks so much!