Best way to clean CD's and DVD's?

I’ve just been using water and paper towels and cleaning from the inner edge to the outer edge. Is alcohol recommended for cleaning (and don’t say for medicinal purposes only! :iagree: ).

When you want to get dust or stuck on dirt, what’s the best solution?

Paper is bad, too abrasive. Soft cotton, preferably lint-free cotton, is the thing.

NOT geting your discs dirty in the first place is better. :iagree:

“NOT geting your discs dirty in the first place is better”

Sure :iagree: , but er… what about these discs borrowed from friends, or rented movies …? Most of the time = HEWW! :bigsmile:
Because of this I actually have to clean discs very often… I use isopropyl alcohol and cotton.

As RDgrimes states, paper is too abrasive. If you look closely and with the proper light, you’ll see you’re creating scratches (very very thin but numerous) with paper towels.

I have a chamois cloth I use to wipe them if it’s just dusty. But if it’s actually got some fingerprints, or other stuff on there, I use a little alcohol and DISTILLED water mixed in a spray bottle. Then I use another chamois to dry it with, works wonders. I keep the chamois cloths, and the spray bottle in a glass jar so they don’t get full of dust. I have them sitting on the shelf behind me, It’s my CD reconditioning kit. Another NEAT way I use to fix BADLY scratched CDs is to clean them as best you can. Then I have a portable CD player that I have just the motor working in on a little toggle switch on the side. I have the rest of the guts taken out of it. I put the CD on the spindle upside down, (it has to be the type where the CD will stay on the spindle with the lid open) and I put a few drops of the runniest super glue I can find around the middle of the disc. Then I close the lid and turn on the motor. It slings a nice even coat of super glue across the surface of the disc filling in all the scratches, and slinging the excess off the edge. I turn it off after about 20 seconds, and give it like 20 minutes to dry before I open the lid. Then I take out a disc that looks BRAND SPANKING NEW, you’d never know it was scratched!! It only works IF the reflective layer is OK, and I’ve had LIMITED success doing DVDs like this. BEWARE, some super glue clouds the discs, so TEST IT FIRST. Take a CD-R and put some on it, and see if it turns cloudy after a few days. If it doesn’t, it will work. I had this really cheap super glue that clouded after a couple months. I noticed it happening, so I copied all the victim discs I had done that to before they got completely hosed. I find the closest to the pure cyano??? it is works the best (not sure what the name of the chemical is). So, there you have it, my secrets for fixing screwed up CDs. :bigsmile:

By far the best way I have is to use either water and one of those microfiber eye glass cleaning cloths. Wiping from the center of the disc out.

Now that I have a good idea as to how to go about cleaning the media, what’s the best solution for cleaning the hardware. Aside from dusting the tray, do any of you use the laser cleaning products for cleaning the inside of the unit?

I just use windex and a soft cloth like a old soft dishtowel for those tough stains on DVD from Block buster, soaking it with the spray wiping from center to outer edge. I’ve had some pretty nasty ones from them, finding that out after I’m watching the movie and it starts skipping or stops playing. I check them all now before I ever play. Fingerprints just my breath and the front of my clean teeshirt. Main thing is that you don’t want to scratch them.

Windex IS NOT a good idea! It will CLOUD THE PLASTIC after a while. Maybe NOT on the first cleaning, but after a few times it WILL cloud. You should use a WEAK alcohol solution, and a SOFT cloth, like a chamois. Any kind of ammonia is NOT good. :rolleyes:

“Fingerprints just my breath and the front of my clean teeshirt. Main thing is that you don’t want to scratch them.”

Actually you ARE scratching them by doing that. Look closely… under a strong light… :bigsmile:

Ok, thanks for the pointers. I very seldom need to clean any of my discs. If anything, its a hair or piece of lint on the surface which i just blow off. I use a old soft undershirt or hand towel. I wouldn’t think that very minor scratches which are hard to see would effect the playback. They have always played fine afterwards. Actually sometimes I just use water unless it is something that is tough. What would be the ratio of alcohol to water if I want to get a spray bottle to put it in?

“I wouldn’t think that very minor scratches which are hard to see would effect the playback”

And you are probably right, at least with good medias. Maybe on the long term, though… who knows.


If you are near a Costco - they have these great microfiber large cloths (16 x 16) in the auto section - 20 for $9 or so - great on discs with a little alocohol/distilled water solution (1:20)-


I’ve been using Windex or a Windex-knockoff on my CDs, DVDs, and CD-Rs for 15 years, I think, and I’ve never seen this happen, and I’ve never heard of it before. Have you actually seen this yourself? Does the clouding actually interfere with reading the disc?

I have seen situations where the coating on coated optics (like binoculars or fancy eyeglasses) appeared to break down under a Windex barrage. But I didn’t think CDs and DVDs have any fancy coatings on the business side to break down.

It’s not that I don’t believe it’s possible, but I’d definitely like to know more, for the sake of my data.

Are these cloths blue by any chance?

When you guys say Alcohol… do you mean rubbing alcohol?

lol… yeah… 50-50 isopropyl alcohol and water…

You have convinced me.
I just went out and got some distilled water and 99% isopropyl alcohol.
I thought I had remembered it as 20% alcohol.
I mixed it 200ml with 50ml alcohol. I hope that’s not too strong.

I assume you can use this on antiglare coated eyeglasses too?

eyeglass cleaner spray and eyeglass wipes are the best for cleaning cd/dvd’s. There are kits from staples,b-buy or any of these stores for sealing scratches on the disks. Never had a failure using these techniques.

For commercially-pressed CDs and DVDs, 70% isopropyl alcohol is best.

For consumer-burned CDs and DVDs, plain water is best.

In both cases, use soft cotton or other non-scratching cloth material.

For getting rid of dust or lint, use tall-size canned air. Do not use the compact air cans, as they tend to spray liquid. Also, always make sure to keep the can upright, do not tilt more than a little.

For example, I’m currently using 3M 10oz Dust Remover canned air. I intentionally avoid the OfficeMax brand canned air, as their tiny cans spray liquid and cause damage. Not all canned air is created equal.

Where I am, the water is medium-hard, limestone area. So water is out of the question for me.

A few years ago, I got a disc cleaning and scratch repair kit in my local supermarket. It came with a rotating applicator hand-cranked thingy, a fine cloth, 3 or 4 replacement pads and some scratch repair/cleaner fluid.

After a while I found that the applicator caused more damage (in the form of circular scratches) than it fixed but I still use the rest of the kit whenever a disc needs attention. The repair/cleaner fluid does a good job getting rid of dirt, not so much fixing scratches.

[QUOTE=SeanW;2110456]Where I am, the water is medium-hard, limestone area. So water is out of the question for me.[/QUOTE]

Even the bottled water, or is that a U.S.-only phenomenon (everyone drinking water out of plastic bottles)?

I don’t even remember what tap water tastes like. :doh: