How to clean a DVD-RAM?



Hi, I have a LG RC199H. It is supposedly Super Multi. Either way, it reads DVD-RAM’s and plenty of others. Right now, I have a finky DVD-RAM. It is a Maxell DVD-RAM. I have the 5-Pack, if it matters. I have about 5 others exactly like it and they work fine, so it isn’t a compatibility issue. Anyways, whenever I put it in my player, it gives me a variety of errors. Sometimes it says “Disc Error” or “Cannot read DVD-RAM, Initialize: Yes/No”. I’m pretty sure intializing wipes the disc and I need the data on the disc. The first few times, I could read about 1/3 of it before it froze. Everytime I try it now, it gives me those errors. I’m afraid to use conventional methods to clean it because I’m not sure if they will work for the DVD-RAM. Frankly, those weird lines on the back scare me. How can I clean it?



P.S. On a side note, does anyone know of a program that will read UDF-Formatted DVD-RAMs? I think XP supports DVD-RAMs, but only FAT32-formatted ones…


I clean using the same items used to clean camera lenses.


Thanks for the response. Would it be, eh, dangerous to try,like, cloth or the good 'ole rub-on-the-shirt?

And initializing does, in fact, format/erase the disc?



good old tee shirts works OK microfiber cloth even better
format does erase the disc


Microfiber cloth and camera lens cleaner, got it!

Did you mean “Initialize does erase the disc”? 'cause I know format does erase. A friend of mine found that out the hard way, lol.



Initialize same-same as format is the disc will not read and could have been erased using a different method on machine.


Tried a few cleans, :(, nothing. And it doesn’t even have a scratch on it, weird…

I’ll try the cloth and cleaner, thanks!



It could be just a bad one in the batch, that kind of thing just happens. I have good luck with Panasonic DVD-RAM


Got it. Thanks for the explaination.



Probably right. Panasonic, ironic. My burner is a Panasonic, the LQ-MD800. I guess they should work better. Glad I only bought a five-pack of the Maxell stuff. Would the Panasonic media be longer-lasting? As you can see, I need this medical data to stay “alive” for as long as financially possible, lol…

Now, for the data. Is it gone for good? I mean, it isn’t impossible for me to get some more of it, but it would be much better…



Gone for good is hard to answer, someone somewhere may be able to extract the data for $$$. Best advice is backup-backup with 2 HDDs and multiple other places.


Yeah, I’ll have to look around to see if there is one locally.

I might actually be updating the DVD Recorder to Sony’s, which has a built-in 80GB hard drive.

Nothing against this site and certainly nothing against you, but I don’t trust recordable media much and that hard-drive looks darn entertaining. (This site might change that, though!)

Sometimes, I wish for my old VHS…

Thank you so much for all your help and the site is great. I feel there is a lot I could learn here. So many things I had no idea about, like there are actually certain good brands. I thought that it was just luck of the draw. Why couldn’t I find you guys before, lol!



Same as you do with DVD+/-R disc.


Yeah, I think I was just a bit wary of the lines on the back earlier. I haven’t been back at the office yet…I think I’m just going to get the data again, it’d be simpler.



Cleaning of disks is something that many simply don’t care too much about, as in most cases the disk is on hire from the local video shop or borrowed.

If however you own the disk that might well be the only mint condition master of an expensive imported movie it pays to clean the disks properly.

It should go without saying that ANY disk should go directly from it’s container to the player and likewise from the player / PC back into it’s container via a few fingers on the outside of the disk, it ain’t hard, never putting a disk on the table, carpet, shirt, couch or whatever is handy, to start bypassing the container is a recipe for a scratched or ruined CD.

The good housekeeping basics aside, the only thing that should ever get on a CD is dust, apart from just blowing it off, the best and only good way to clean them is with a single / dual wheel rotary cleaner with a “very light” spray of isopropyl alcohol, these rotary cleaners are not expensive and pay for themself many thousands of times over, I have worn out 2.

To use your shirt is pure lazyness and should be avoided, plastic buttons will scratch a disk real quick, I have master disks here that are many years old and have been played 100 times and they are still as purchased, brand new, they always live in their case when not in a player, rest assured that if put on the coffee table they will eventually be dropped and just like buttered bread they always land data side down.

As for claening either the pickup head or disk, the proper cleaning disk or rotary cleaning unit is the only way, sure there are other incorrect ways but to do otherwise will scratch/mark the disk or damage the pickup head, it is only a simple habit to do the right thing, it is not hard.

Then again I do NOT EVER loan CD’s, not even to my best friend, unless I am physically there, and even then the basics apply in advance, scratch or mark it in any way and you buy it, that may seem a tad rough but then again all my DVD’s are still like brand new.


Did you try to read that disc using a dif drive?
Your 2nd question:
XP supports DVD-RAM but can only format them as FAT32 in a native way. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t support UDF just for reading, as that is a dif story. If you have the UDF reader facilities, XP will read the disc from your DVD-RAM drive.
You can test your disc using Nero CD-DVDspeed
Here you can find a guide to use it: