How To Unjam A Laminator

Laminating is a great way to preserve paper and card that you want to keep using for a long time.

While the process of laminating is reasonably simple to master, there’s always the chance of problems occurring with your laminating machine through absolutely no fault of your own.

One common problem people face in lamination pouches jamming mid-lamination. It may seem like a terrible problem, but you don’t need to panic! There are a few steps you can take to unjam the laminator causing minimum risk of damaging the laminator as you go about the process.

This article is here to guide you through those steps.

A. A Quick Reminder…

Have a read through this guide. It is comprehensive, and we’ve tried to make it easy to follow. However, if you are still not confident unjamming a laminator by yourself, either call the manufacturer’s appropriate customer service line or have your laminator checked out by a professional. You don’t want to cause damage to the machine or risk voiding any warranties that may still be valid.

B. You Will Require…

The good news is that for unjamming a laminator, you don’t need many tools. Most of the work can be done by your own hands, but have some screwdrivers nearby just in case the jam is really bad, and parts of the machine need opening up.

C. The Process

We’re looking at laminators that you find in the home. These laminators use pouches. Here are the steps to take to safely unjam a lamination pouch without damaging your laminator.


As soon as you detect a jam, turn off your laminator by pressing the power button.


Simultaneously, unplug the power cable of your laminator immediately. There is a motor inside the laminator which rotates to laminate documents and photographs. Shutting down the device will stop the rotation and prevent further damage.


Once you have shut down your device, check for any kind of observable damage inside or outside the machine. If there is clear damage to the machine, it is safest to let a professional check the machine out. If not, you can continue.


Try to pull out the laminating pouch from the machine. Be sure to be gentle while pulling. If you tried to laminate a thick material, then the thickness might be the reason why the laminating pouch has gotten stuck.

Reminder: Laminate pouches come with different levels of thickness. Every laminator has a minimum thickness and a maximum thickness it can laminate. Make sure you are not going outside the parameters your laminator can manage. When considering the thickness, don’t forget that the thickness of your print media (the thing being laminated) also needs to be taken into account. The overall thickness of print media and laminate pouch combined needs to be less than the maximum thickness your laminator’s specs say it can handle.


Even the most entry-level laminators should come with a reverse mode in which the laminating pouch comes back through the way it was initially inserted. Sometimes a laminating pouch can be curled inside the laminator. If this is the case, power on the machine and press the reverse mode button.


You can also open up the laminator. Before doing this, have a double-check and make sure you unplugged the laminator. You don’t want to risk getting an electric shock.

Most laminators open up just like a fax machine or a regular printer. However, if that is not the case, use a screwdriver to open the casing.

The rollers on a laminator are similar to the ones in a printer. Find the pouch jam lever and pull it down. This lever should create a gap between the rollers to make it easy for you to take out the laminate pouch.

Once done, close the machine back up.


Once your laminator is unjammed, you don’t want to go straight back to laminating.

Instead, give the laminator another quick check to make sure there is no damage.

If the laminator is damage-free, take some white card and run it through the laminator. This piece of card will collect up any debris and melted plastic that could negatively affect your next lamination job.

Repeat the process with the white card three times to ensure that the laminator is fully clean.

Should the next item you want to laminate be very important, do not immediately risk laminating it. Have a test run with an unimportant sheet of paper and a laminate pouch to ensure there are no issues with the laminator. If the test goes fine, you can get back to laminating.


Unjamming a laminator shouldn’t be a complicated process. Most manufacturers have built-in mechanisms to make it easy to get a jammed pouch back out within a few minutes.

The key to unjamming the laminator is first to make yourself aware of the mechanisms available for the unjamming process and then taking the time to do things carefully rather than giving the pouch a machine damaging yank.

Don’t forget, once the laminator is unjammed, a vital part of this process is cleaning up the debris and giving the laminator a test run. It may take a bit of extra time, but it is worthwhile doing.

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