Household Hack: How To Dispose Of Documents Without A Shredder

Failure to dispose of your documents can lead to information leaks, which in turn puts you in jeopardy for security risks. Thus, if you are handling documents with confidential information, make sure that you discard them properly. 

It is a decluttering day, but your paper shredder suddenly acts up. Do not fret! We have a list of alternatives to shredding paper for you below. Under each, we have also included all the detailed steps that you will need to take.

With that said, by the end of this guide on how to dispose of documents without a shredder, you will have a list of options in mind to consider. 

Dispose of Confidential Documents Without a Shredder

8 Ways: How To Dispose Of Documents Without A Shredder

Below, we have put together a list of alternatives to disposing of documents without a shredder for your reference! 


Pulping is a simple but effective method for disposing of documents without a shredder. You will only need three materials for this method – bleach, a bleach-resistant container, and an electric mixer. Follow the steps below: 

  • Step 1: Pour half a gallon of bleach into the container 
  • Step 2: Add five gallons of water into the container with bleach 
  • Step 3: Submerge the documents that you want to discard 
    • Note: Ensure that your documents are completely submerged 
  • Step 4: Let it settle, working its magic for 24 hours 
  • Step 5: Mix the deteriorated paper into pulp using an electric mixer
  • Step 6: Compost your paper pulp or lay it out to dry before discarding

A tip for this method, however, is to use protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, since bleach can irritate the eyes and skin. Better safe than sorry! 

With only six steps, you can dispose of your documents without a shredder. It does not have to be rocket science! 


This is a method that often appears in movies and films. This guide cannot be completed without it because it saves both time and effort. Simply do as follows:

  • Step 1: Dig a hole in your backyard using a shovel
  • Step 2: Clear our surrounding twigs, branches, etc 
  • Step 3: Start a fire in the hole using a lighter or matches 
  • Step 4: Throw in the documents that you need to discard 
  • Step 5: Wait until all your documents are burned into ashes 

This is the most common way to burn documents, but you can also burn them in a BBQ grill, fireplace, fire pit, or a burn cage if you have them at hand. 

However, one of the drawbacks of burning documents for disposal is that it is not environmentally-friendly. It releases harmful substances and pollutes the air. 

Moreover, it is not recommended if you are carrying out the method indoors. You will have to dispose of your documents in an open space, such as in a garden or backyard. If you are an apartment dweller, this may trigger the building’s fire alarm, and if you are in a confined space, the toxic smoke and particulates can lead to health issues. 

This is especially a concern if you have respiratory ailments. Plus, there is always a risk of the fire spreading, so be sure to check-in with your local fire department beforehand.


This is one of the less-known methods to abolish documents. Nonetheless, if you have ever forgotten a receipt in your pockets, you will know that this way of disposing works! 

  • Step 1: Stash your documents in a mesh laundry bag 
  • Step 2: Throw the laundry bag in a washing machine
  • Step 3: Run the washing machine with the typical chemicals

This is handy if you have a washing machine readily available. Indeed, who would have thought that you can dispose of documents in just three steps? 


This approach is similar to the one above. However, it uses a blender rather than a washing machine. Follow these steps: 

  • Step 1: Soak the documents that you need to get rid of 
  • Step 2: Place the soaked documents into an electric blender 
  • Step 3: Fill the blender with water
    • Note: Just enough water to submerge the documents
  • Step 4: Run the blender to crush the documents 

This is a simple and quick method to fully dispose of documents, but it may compromise the integrity of your blender if you do not handle it properly.


If you cannot shred your sensitive documents, you can censor the important pieces of information to prevent them from being stolen by others. 

Just carry out these steps: 

  • Step 1: Get a black permanent marker 
  • Step 2: Blacken out the sensitive pieces of information
  • Step 3: Discard your documents as normal

Censoring is a much more time-consuming approach. So, if you have a lot of time to kill, this is an ideal method. However, if you are short on time, we proffer the other alternatives in this guide.

Mulching & Composting

Composting is one approach to disposing of documents! (Cre: Danielle Davis)

If you have a garden, this is an ideal option for document disposal. This is a more eco-friendly option that does not take too much time and effort. Strip your documents with a wood chipper beforehand, then place them in your compost or yard waste. Over time, the paper will break down to serve as mulch for your garden. 

Additionally, you should be careful with certain types of documents that are not suitable for composting. For example, you should avoid using this approach on glossy papers!

Paper Mache

The paper mache approach may be familiar to professional artists. But, if you are not an artist, do not fret! It is a fairly straightforward method that expands into only three steps: 

  • Step 1: Soak the paper into warm water 
  • Step 2: Crumble the paper instantly into a compact ball
  • Step 3: Leave it to dry and harden before discarding 

Although the glue is not in this method, the approach is similar. It is an effective and fun way to dispose of documents. Therefore, if you have kids, this can double as a quality creativity-exploring and bonding session! 

Multi-Cut Scissors 

Also known as shredder scissors, these are designed to come to the rescue when a paper shredder is not working. 

Typically, a pair of scissors has 5 to 10 blades layered on top of one another, molded with grips to neatly and sharply cut documents. You can get a pair for yourself at an affordable price. 

They are lightweight and convenient, fitting into purses as well! With this means, you can discard sensitive documents on-the-go. This is good since you can avoid piling documents, which will become a hassle in the future. As such, you can be more neat and organized!

Shredding Services

There are many shredding services available, so this will not be difficult to find. Simply ask Google for nearby services. There are often also pop-ups of free-of-charge events/charities that offer shredding services, which will be neat and cost-effective if you can coordinate your decluttering plans. You can check with the UPS store or FedEx. There are also a sundry of recycling centers that you can seek for this service as well.


Now that you understand how to dispose of documents without a shredder, you should no longer worry about not having a reliable shredder on decluttering days! You have a handful of alternatives that you can opt for that does the work just as great.

If you have any other hacks on this topic, be sure to share them with us in the comments below. We are always delighted to hear from our readers!

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1 thought on “Household Hack: How To Dispose Of Documents Without A Shredder”

  1. Here s how I used to do it and it woks on yukky books: Get a couple cans of cheap, stinky fish like Mackerel and pour the juice all over the books, papers…then leave them in a garbage bag to get nice and warm and disgusting. This will keep about anybody away and cats cannot read well enough to cause any trouble.


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