How To Shred Paper Without A Shredder

How To Shred Paper Without A Shredder

Most of the papers that you have will contain sensitive information that might be personal or work-related. Many people depend on shredders to do away with the piles of paper that do not serve any purpose to them.

However, other alternatives will still handle the process equally well. Read on to know how to shred paper without a shredder.

Before you decide on the ways to do away with your papers, it is essential to acknowledge the documents that you should consider not necessary. Let me point you in the right direction.

Table of Contents

  1. What sensitive information should you destroy?
  2. How to destroy paper without a shredder
    1. Pulping or bleaching the documents
    2. Burning the Documents
  3. Wrap-up

What sensitive information should you destroy?

The first question to answer is if the documents hold any sensitive information.

If a document has sensitive information, it’s better to shred it. You could just dispose of it like you’d do with adverts but it’s better to prevent less than well-intentioned ones to get hold of your information.

Some of those elements include the following:

  • Your name
  • Home address
  • Your employer
  • Account numbers
  • Social security number
  • Card statement
  • Bills
  • Receipts

You wouldn’t want any of these documents to be available to strangers, right?

These are the general pieces of information you should track for shredding. When you’re disposing of documents always remember to consider if it has sensitive data that you’d like to keep private.

With that said, let’s find out how to shred paper without a shredder.

How to destroy paper without a shredder

If you’re going to regularly destroy documents with sensitive data, the best option is, by far, to get a paper shredder. Yes, it costs more initially but in the long run, it’s cheaper. Not only that, with a paper shredder you can destroy paper in a matter of a few seconds, effortlessly.

Let’s see how to destroy paper without a paper shredder. If for some reason these options are not suitable for you, please read until the very end of this article.

For those of you who have decided to make that move yet, read on. The same applies if you’ve just ordered your paper shredder but you need to destroy documents now.

In my opinion, there are two main options:

Pulping or bleaching the documents

This process requires a few items and some of your time. But in the end, your sensitive data will disappear.

The goal of this process is to remove the colorants of the ink. It is an ideal way to recycle paper.

The process requires you to use a large trashcan that can hold all the documents that you intend to shred. It should hold around 8 gallons (30L) to dissolve the documents with about 5.8 gallons (22L) of a mixture of water and bleach.

If your trashcan holds a different volume, please adjust accordingly.

This is the way to do it:

  1. Start by gathering documents before starting;
  2. If applicable, remove content from their envelopes;
  3. Keep the sheets unfolded to make the process much easier;
  4. Add about 0.5 gallons (2L) of bleach into the trashcan and add water until the paper saturates completely;
  5. Use a rod to hold the documents into the mixture until they submerge entirely into the mix;
  6. Leave the documents to sit for twenty-four hours if you want them to break effectively.

For faster results, in an emergency, you should consider using a different process. All you need to do is use a paint turbine mixer to blend the paper until they break completely. You should occasionally check if there is any content that you can find and break the documents into much smaller pieces and re-blend them.

Since your garbage services might fail to collect the wet pulp, you should decide to dry the pulp. So, lay it out in the sunlight and leave it to dry. You can use the dry pulp as mulch (although you should avoid using bleach) or dispose of it using the normal process.

Make sure that you use the right safety precautions in this process when handling bleach. It can be dangerous to your skin and eyes. Inhaling it or accidentally consuming it is also dangerous. Read the instructions and safety precautions on the bleach bottle.

Burning the Documents

Burning your sensitive documents might seem to be a simple task but there are a few precautions you must consider.

The best way to handle it is by using standard fire pits since they allow a better flow of air, which burns your documents completely. At the same time, it’s off the ground and prevents the escape of any burning paper.

In many places, it is illegal to burn paper or other objects openly, which requires one to employ other means. Please inform yourself of local legislation on this matter.

One excellent way to handle the process is by using professional burn cages.

However, if you cannot use such equipment, you can use a fire pit or a cast-iron bathtub.

Keep away any and every inflammable object. Also, keep a bucket with water near the chosen place or even a hose or a fire extinguisher ready. I know you know that starting a small fire can be dangerous and you’ll take every safety precaution. Still, I must insist.

You should burn the documents starting with a small fire and continue adding them up until they are finished. Check whether there are any remaining documents and burn them as well. Once you have completed and the ashes are cool, you can scatter them in your yard.


Now you know how to destroy paper without a shredder easily.

With these techniques at hand, you can get rid of your sensitive documents without spending too much on a shredder. It also gives you the confidence of doing away with your data. Just be sure to follow the best safety precautions.

If this will be a regular activity, as mentioned before, it’s probably too much hassle. Get a paper shredder, it’s faster, easier, and safer.

To know what to look for, check out our paper shredder buying guide.

Also, read our article about paper shredders for home use. But if you want a device for more intensive use, you need a paper shredder for office use.

If you have a paper shredder, it’s good to know how to fix a jammed paper shredder.