How to Unblock a Garden Shredder Safely

Written by: - Landscape Gardener
How to Unblock a Garden Shredder Safely

It sometimes doesn’t take much for even the best garden shredders to become blocked. Fortunately, it’s also usually easy to unblock a garden shredder – here’s what you’ll need to do: 

1. Press The Reverse Button

Many garden shredders are designed with a reverse button. This simply spins the blades in the opposite direction, which is sometimes enough to unwind and untangle any material that may be stuck within. If this works, then great! You can continue using your shredder as normal. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to manually clear the jammed material. 

2. Unplug Your Garden Shredder

Since you’ll be opening your garden shredder up to clear the blockage, make sure that it’s unplugged first. You may also find it easier to work on your shredder if you place it onto a level surface. 

3. Locate the Blockage

Most garden shredder blockages can be found near the blades. To access the blades, you’ll need to first remove the hopper, and possibly also the flywheel housing. Chances are that you’ll need a tool of some sort to take these pieces off – an Allen key or a spanner will usually suffice. 

4. Removing the Blockage


Once you’ve found the blockage, you’ll need to remove it. This is often a case of using your hands to pull the clogged material out. However, be careful – it’s so easy to accidentally cut your skin on the blades. If the blockage is in an awkward position, wear protective gloves when doing this. 

Alternatively, if the clogged material is stubbornly refusing to budge, use a long-handled screwdriver to manoeuvre it out. 

5. Reassemble Your Garden Shredder


Once you’ve cleared the blockage, you can put your garden shredder back together and plug it in again. Then, if your shredder has a reverse button, press this first to release any extra debris that may be stuck in your machine. If the blades run freely, then you’ll know that the blockage is gone. After this, you can switch back to forward mode and continue shredding. 

6. Preventing Future Garden Shredder Blockages

Clearing blockages can take time – life is much easier if you can prevent your garden shredder from jamming in the first place. There are a few ways to do this, with the first being to make sure that you’re not shredding materials that are too large for your shredder. 

You should also try to alternate between the types of materials you’re shredding. Shred a few twigs and branches before feeding in some green material, and then moving back to woodier waste. Avoid putting clumps of grass or large amounts of soil into your shredder too. 

Finally, make sure that your garden shredder blades are sharp. The blunter your blades are, the greater your chances of experiencing a jam. 

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