Washing CDs



Hello, I am going to ask a question, which you might think as a joke, but i am perfectly serious.

Is it correct to wash CD/DVD s under running water with liquid soap. I learnt this from a friend and tried on three previously unreadable CDs, two of which started to work magically. However isn’t applying anything on the written surface of CD/DVD s dangerous? Should I try to wash other CDs? This washing idea is new to me, please recommend.

P.S - I am neither mad nor a experimenting newbie.


The fact is that if done correctly there is little harm that can be done to a commercial CD with water only. If you add certain kinds of detergent then there is the possibility that you can remove some of the protective coating on the label side-rendering that part of the CD useless in some cases.
The better approach, and the one I use, is to buy a commercial CD/DVD cleaning machine. Some come with a special solution that is made to not harm the coatings or plastic of the disc. To add to this-NEVER touch the read side if possible and mainly when your hands have any sort of oil on them.
That’s my experience-others may be different


Thank you for the quick reply. You see, the fact that CDs can be washed came as a surprise to me. Now that you say that water won’t harm it is quite comforting. Anyone having contrasting opinions is welcome.


I would avoid water unless it is distilled water. If the read site is so dirty I usually use rubbing alcohol and soft cloth to clean the read surface brushing away from the center. Another cleaning solution I use is lens cleaner cloth and lens cleaner lens to clean the read surface and this has worked well for me. As when you do clean always bush away from the center to avoid creating scratches or grooves that would affect playback.


I would avoid water also, if there is any ‘printing’ on the non-play surface. Often it’s a paper based label and water and paper don’t react well. :rolleyes: :slight_smile:

I’ve been cleaning CDs and DVDs for a number of years (mostly rental DVDs) that have become so dirty that they don’t play (or play poorly).

I found that the best thing is isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. It’s best to squirt it on or use an eye dropper and let the alcohol soak into the dirt for 30 seconds or so.

Then I remove the alcohol with a soft cloth (I get the free ones form my eye doctor) by wiping lightly. I often read that one should not use a circular motion when wiping the surface, but that has never been a problem. Just don’t rub hard. Rub hard and you end up with a clean disc that is scratched. :frowning:

If dissolving the ‘crud’ with acohol and wiping lightly (almost like polishing) doesn’t clean the surface you probably need to go to a DVD store that offers re-surfacing (about $3 per DVD).

When the surface is clean but [U]scratched[/U] to the point that you get mis-reads, I’ve saved a few DVDs with liquid furniture polish, maybe 20% of the time.