How to clean a dirty cd

Since you always take the best possible care of your CDs and DVDs, let’s assume the dirty CD or DVD you have is from the library. Some careless patron of that literary establishment spilled juice, coffee, ice cream, etc. on it, and now it won’t play properly. Or maybe he left the CD or DVD sitting on his desk for days on end and now it’s covered in dust. Well, here is what you’ll have to do to clean it. Don’t worry. It is pretty easy.

The CD Cleaning Process

1. Assemble your materials

The materials you will need for this task are very few. You’ll need a cloth that won’t shed a lot of fuzz, such as a special electronics cleaning cloth, a handkerchief or a rag made out of the arm of an old t-shirt. Also, you’ll need either a bottle of rubbing alcohol, or a bottle of dish soap for hand washing (the less abrasive the better) and some lukewarm water, and a small bowl, such as a cereal bowl.

*If your CD is simply dusty, you may be able to clean it with just a dry cloth or CD wipe. Try this first to make your life easier.

2. Carefully remove the CD or DVD from its case

Once you’ve assembled your supplies, it’s time to carefully remove the disc in question from its case. By carefully removing it from its case, this means holding it by putting your thumb in the center hole and your fingers on the curved sides of the disk. Don’t touch the main (flat) area of the disk, as you could scratch its surface or add even more smudges and fingerprints.

3. Wet the cloth

Mix about a teaspoon of the dish soap and a cup of tap or bottled water together in the bowl to form a uniform solution, or pour about a half cup of rubbing alcohol into the bowl, no water required. Then, get the cloth damp but dipping one corner of it into the liquid. You do not want the cloth to be dripping wet (if you get it too wet, wring it out immediately).

4. Wipe the CD or DVD with the cloth

Still holding the disc by it edges, or with the disc resting on a clean and dry table or countertop with the data side up (the side with nothing printed on it), use the cloth to gently buff out the fingerprints, dust or debris. Be sure to rub from the center of the disc outwards, as if you were drawing the rays of the sun on a piece of paper. If you follow the circular shape or the grooves of the disc you risk damaging it and losing your information. Also, use light pressure. You know how easy it is for CD and DVDs to break in half.

5. Dry the CD or DVD

Since you didn’t use a lot of solution to wipe the disc, you shouldn’t really need to rinse it off. Simply dry the CD or DVD carefully with the still dry corner of the cloth or with a clean one. You want to make sure your disc is completely dry before you put it away so that it doesn’t end up with streaks on it. And you definitely don’t want a wet disc in your computer, sound system or DVD player.

Didn’t work?

If you can’t seem to get the gunk off of your CD or DVD with the dish soap or the rubbing alcohol, there are some cleaners made especially for CD and DVDs that you can try. A good place to start to look for one is at your local music or electronics store. You may want to bring the disc in with you when you’re shopping so that the salesperson can recommend the right product for the substance spilled on the disc or refer you to a professional cleaner.

If your CD is clean but still doesn’t play properly, this may be due to a scratch. See the article, how to fix a scratched CD or DVD for more information.

Keeping your CDs and DVDs clean

This is pretty much a no-brainer. Don’t spill things on your CDs and DVDs. Keep them at a safe distance when you or your family members are eating or drinking.
Also, don’t leave your CD and DVDs out of their cases for extended periods of time, and if you must leave them out, try to avoid leaving the data side facing up, as it is more sensitive to dust and debris. Also, don’t put stickers or tape on your CDs and DVDs, since the glue can leave a residue that can be hard to remove. Again, if you must, do not attach them to the data side of the disc.

Happy watching and listening.

Filed Under: Electronics Tagged With: cd, disc

Ever wonder how to clean a CD, when it has fingerprints all over it, or even worse, when something gets spilled on it, like soda?

When a CD gets dirty it can skip or otherwise not allow proper access of the data stored on the CD, making it frustrating to use.

This dirt can be from various sources, several of which will be discussed below.

Dusting CDs

When a CD is merely dusty you don’t even need to use any type of cleaner on it, but can instead just wipe it with a clean, soft cloth.

I recommend using a microfiber cloth, which grabs the dust easily, and has a weave which will not easily scratch the CD. You could also use a lint-free, anti-static pad available at electronic stores.

Proper Way To Wipe CDs When Dusting Or Cleaning

When you either dust or clean CDs make sure that you do not rub them in a circular motion. Rubbing a CD in this manner can cause scratches.

Instead, always wipe in a straight line from the center of the CD to its outer edge.

How To Clean A CD When It Has More Than Dust On It

If you have something on a CD, such as soda or something else sticky, you definitely want to clean that off before placing the CD in your CD player.

When this happens first try removing the sticky stuff by wetting a clean wet cloth with plain warm (not hot) water, and wiping as discussed above.

Try not to get the CD too wet, if possible. That is why you always should, for any of the methods discussed that use liquid to clean the CD, wet or spray the cloth with the liquid, not spray or pour it directly onto the CD.

If plain water does not work, you can progressively use stronger cleaning products, but caution should be used with anything stronger than water. If a CD is too precious to be ruined, take it to a professional to be cleaned!

You can also use a cleaner made especially for CDs.

CD manufacturers have warned that household cleaners can be too harsh for cleaning CDs, and can damage them.

However, when you want to figure out how to clean a CD at home using household products two of the most used are alcohol and glass cleaner.

Glass cleaner can be used to remove oily fingerprints or other oily residue from CDs that water alone can’t easily remove.

A solution of rubbing alcohol and water, mixed in a one-to-one ratio, is also commonly used. It can remove fingerprints, and is useful because it evaporates quickly.

Proper Handling of CDs

To avoid additional dirt and scratches on your CDs in the future make sure to place the CD back into its case after each use.

In addition, hold the CD by the center, by placing your finger in the center hole, or by holding it on the edges. This will keep your fingerprints and the oil from your hands from getting on the CD and dirtying it.

What About Cleaning A Scratched CD?

Cleaning scratched CDs, and perhaps even fixing the scratches, uses a different method than just cleaning alone.

Check out this article on cleaning scratched CDs to learn more.

You may have heard some strange home remedies for cleaning CDs such as rubbing them with banana peels or applying automotive car wax to buff out the scratches. Do these techniques really work? Or do they do more harm than good? Optical storage devices are prone to scratching which makes home remedies for cleaning CDs necessary from time to time. Before peeling that banana, take a few minutes now to find out which CD cleaning tips are safe for your CDs, CD-ROMS and DVDs. When Does a CD Need to be Cleaned?
If your CD plays just fine and looks clean with no visible smudges or scratches, leave it alone. However, if your CD or DVD skips, gets stuck, shuts down, won’t play, shows no data when inserted in your computer’s CD-ROM drive or is physically smudged or scratched, it’s time for some cleaning. If the debris or scratching appears minimal, try playing the CD in a different player. Many CD players and DVD players are more sensitive than others. A disc that’s unreadable in one player may play perfectly in another. Look at the disc, holding it at different angles. Does it look dirty? Scratched? Smudged? Or is it spotless? A spotless CD may be warped or have other issues preventing proper playback. Once you’ve decided it’s time for a good cleaning, you’ll need to know what to do. No matter which home remedies for cleaning CDs you try, a few key points must be made. First, never wipe your CD using a circular motion. Granted, it’s counter-intuitive since CDs are round by design and have concentric circles. Avoid the temptation to follow these circles. Instead, all wiping should be done using a straight across motion. Next, never use household cleansers like glass cleaner or bleach.

Finally, never spray cleaning fluid, even fluid that comes in a home CD cleaning kit, directly on the disc. Instead, spray the fluid on a cloth. How to Handle the CD
When preparing to clean your CD or DVD, it’s also important to know how to handle it. Avoid touching the shiny surface. Instead, hold it by its outer edges and inner circle hole. For example, insert your thumb into the center hole and clutch the outer rim with your fingers. You can also hold it entirely by the outer rim with your thumb on one edge and your fingers on the opposite edge. Now that the precautions are out of the way, here are some popular home remedies for cleaning CDs: The Anti-Static Wipe Method
Anti-static wipes are a terrific tool to use when cleaning CDs at home. Because of their anti-static properties, dust is repelled. You can use the anti-static wipe on its own or spray a little CD cleaning fluid on it first (remember to spray the fluid on the wipe, not the CD). Start by wiping the disc from the center hole outward in a straight across motion. You will need to do this all the way around the CD working from the inside center to the outer rim, one wipe at a time. Continue until the CD is clean and dry. If you don’t have an anti-static wipe, you can substitute a clean, lint-free cloth or a tissue designed for cleaning camera lenses in its place.

The Toothpaste Remedy
Toothpaste is thought to smooth out scratches on a CDs surface. By its nature, toothpaste is a gentle abrasive. Start by rubbing a thin layer of toothpaste on the CD remembering not to use circular motions. Allow the toothpaste to sit for about five minutes and then rinse it off under running water. This particular home remedy can cause additional scratches because of the abrasive action of the toothpaste. Use it as a last resort for large scratches where other home remedies for cleaning CDs have failed. The Baby Shampoo Method
Use a clean, lint-free cloth and a solution of water and baby shampoo. Dip your cloth into the soapy water and wipe the CD clean, using the approved wiping technique. Rinse thoroughly with water and dry using a dry, lint-free cloth, once again using the proper wiping method. This method is designed to clean a CD that’s greasy or sticky. If you don’t have baby shampoo on hand, a mild dish detergent is a suitable substitute. The Home CD Cleaning Kit
Several commercial home CD cleaning kits are on the market and are safe to use for cleaning CDs and DVDs. Typically, these kits contain a small bottle of cleaning solution and an approved cloth. More deluxe kits such as radial cleaning kits consist of housing to place the CD. A chamois or foam cleaning disc and cleaning solution work to clean the CD without damaging it.

Other Home CD Cleaning Tips
You can make your own cleaning solution using a solution of distilled water and dish detergent. The ideal ratio is about one quart of distilled water to one drop of mild dish detergent. The detergent adds just enough emulsion to help lift and slough the dirt away. If your disc is severely scratched but playable, burn a copy of it right away as insurance against the inevitable day that it stops playing. You can do simple tests to see if your CD is repairable. Hold the disc with the reflective side facing you. Now, hold it against a bright light. Do you see light coming through the tiny holes or scratches in the disc? If so, the aluminum layer is damaged beyond repair. If not, it could be fixable. Another test is to look at the scratch carefully and then tip the CD. Do you see a reflection of the scratch in the disc? If so, you may be able to fix it. If not, it has punctured the aluminum layer. If the scratches are deemed repairable, use a commercial CD scratch repair product to buff them to oblivion. When going through this list of home remedies for cleaning CDs, don’t overlook the value of cleaning the actual CD tray and laser unit (or CD-ROM drive). Did you know that these components get dirty too? A dirty optical system will have difficulty reading the CD or DVD so even if you have a spotless disc, read errors may occur. To clean these units, it’s best to buy a commercial CD-ROM drive cleaning kit. These kits remove dirt, debris, dust and even hair.

A typical CD-ROM drive cleaner has a cleaning disc and cleaning solution inserted directly into the tray. The cleaning disc usually has a small brush that cleans the laser as the disc spins. In addition, you ought to clean out the tray that holds the disc by using a damp soft, lint-free or anti-static cloth. Dry the tray completely before closing it. While you will stumble across some bizarre home remedies for cleaning CDs, such as rubbing banana peels or peanut butter on the damaged discs, many home remedies are effective. Always follow the golden rule of wiping CDs clean by avoiding circular motions and wiping perpendicular to the CD’s tracks. You can test the scratches on your CDs to see if they’re worth repairing with the light and reflective tests. In addition to the home remedies, many fine commercial products are available and they don’t cost too much.

Do you know how to clean a CD or DVD? Every time you keep your CD outside the pouch, there is a high possibility that the CD could get dirty, smudged or fingerprinted. And the problem with most of you is that you want to clean it but you don’t know how to clean it in such a dirty condition. How do you remove fingerprints, dust and debris?

Clean Dirty CD, DVD

How to clean a dirty cd

For all those who want to clean a dirty CD with minimum effort in the cheapest way, follow the process with simple steps given below in order.

  • Find yourself a container (a medium sized one which is good enough to submerge a disk in it)
  • Squeeze into the container a table spoon of liquid soap or window cleaning solution. You can also use all-natural cleaning liquid made out of distilled water.
  • Now pour clean water into the container and fill it. Now the water should become soapy once it gets mixed with the cleaning solution added whatsoever.
  • Now put the dirty disk into the container filled with soapy water. Leave it there for about a minute or two.
  • Now remove the disk from the soapy water container and rinse it with running warm water.
  • Repeat the process if the disk is still a bit dirty. In case the smudges on the disk are stubborn, you can use a soft cloth to rub soap on those parts.
  • Finally shake off the excess water and let the disk to dry naturally. Do not use any artificial blower or hair drier.

Now you have your shiny good as new CD which can be easily run on your computer and there are less chances of getting data copy errors on running it.

This guest article was written by Amit Bhawani (amitbhawani.com)who writes different articles on cleaning anything. Photo by Violets and Handshakes (under CC)

WARNING: Use this technique at your OWN RISK. If you have important stored data, seek professional help to clean your CD. We take no responsibility for data loss or CD damage.

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Proper care and cleaning of your CD, DVD and Blu-ray is important to ensure the data contained on the disc plays correctly, and lasts for lifespan of the disc, which should be about 20 years.

Fingerprints, scratches, dust and dirt on the data side of the discs are usually the main cause of any damage incurred to a disc.

Unlike CDs and DVDs, Blu-Ray discs usually have a harder coating and are therefore slightly less prone to the data being unreadable due to scratches. However, Blu-ray are susceptible to smudges dirt and dust, so should be thoroughly cleaned to remove these artefacts as soon as possible; this will maintain the playability quality of the disc, as well as its lifespan.

For discs that are vitally important, it would be advisable to duplicate these and make back-up copies. This can be physical backups or using disc imaging software to create soft backups. This would apply to your critical data, and music. If your master disc was to get damaged beyond readability then you would have a backed up version to revert to if necessary.

What you need

To clean a CD or DVD a microfiber cleaning cloth or cotton based tissue or cloth is recommended.

Any materials used should be checked to ensure they are non-abrasive. In most instances water will suffice as a cleaning agent. If water does not remove everything then a more powerful cleaner such as isopropyl alcohol can be used, but this should only be used in the most extreme of cases.

Dedicated CD and DVD wipes are also available which are already coated in a suitable cleaning solution.

For Blu-ray discs a soft cloth can be used instead of the tissue because it has a much harder surface, and a very mild detergent can also be used if necessary.

How to clean

Once you have your cloth and appropriate detergent ready, you’re ready to start cleaning.

Hold the disc from the outer edges with the index finger and thumb of one hand. Avoid directly holding the playing surface, as this is likely to introduce further smudges, and possible damage. If a detergent is being used then it should be sprayed on the cloth or tissue rather than directly to the disc.

The discs must be cleaned in a specific pattern; Do not move the cloth in a circular pattern, rather wipe the disc from the centre, out towards the edges. This greatly reduces the chances of spoiling the disc as any scratches caused by such a motion will have very minimal effect on the readability of music or data. Specifically, Blu-ray discs should never be wiped in a circular pattern.

How to dry and maintain the discs

After the initial cleaning using water or any other detergent, it is important to wipe off the cleaning agent from the surface of the DVD, CD or Blu-ray using a dry cloth; if it is still not as clean, repeat the process again until the grease, fingerprints or any other smudges are removed. Make sure you repeat the cleaning in the same motion as described above.

Once you are satisfied that the disc is clean, let it dry completely before attempting to play it, or place it inside any electronic equipment. Playing a wet CD, DVD or Blu-Ray will damage the machine and the disc.

It is also advisable to routinely clean the internals of your equipment used to play the discs, as this can also contribute to the dirt on a disc, due to years or months of accumulated dust within the machine.

Ideally, discs should be looked after from the start to avoid emergency cleaning, and the best way to store discs is in their original casing, or a multi-pocket CD wallet. Well maintained discs will last for a long time and will need very little cleaning.

If you have a large collection of discs that require cleaning then it is advisable to invest in a disc cleaning kit which will have a selection of cleaning cloths and liquid solutions.

How to Clean a Dirty CD

How to clean a dirty cd

Cleaning Dirty CDs

For all those who want to clean a dirty CD with minimum effort in the cheapest way, follow the process with simple steps given below in order.

  • Find yourself a container (a medium sized one which is good enough to submerge a disk in it)
  • Squeeze into the container a table spoon of liquid soap or window cleaning solution. You can also use all-natural cleaning liquid made out of distilled water.
  • Now pour clean water into the container and fill it. Now the water should become soapy once it gets mixed with the cleaning solution added whatsoever.
  • Now put the dirty disk into the container filled with soapy water. Leave it there for about a minute or two.
  • Now remove the disk from the soapy water container and rinse it with running warm water.
  • Repeat the process if the disk is still a bit dirty. In case the smudges on the disk are stubborn, you can use a soft cloth to rub soap on those parts.
  • Finally shake off the excess water and let the disk to dry naturally. Do not use any artificial blower or hair drier.

Now you have your shiny good as new CD which can be easily run on your computer and there are less chances of getting data copy errors on running it.

WARNING: Use this technique at your OWN RISK. If you have important stored data, seek professional help to clean your CD. We take no responsibility for data loss or CD damage.

A common cause of skipping, a quick clean may save you cash.

The most common causes of your CD or DVD player skipping can be scratched disks, dirty lens or faulty laser pickup. The first thing to do is to test your unit with a known good CD, check for scratches and never touch the shiny side with your fingers. If it looks like a new CD and is not a recordable CD (some players don’t like recordable CDs) then this is the CD we will use for test. Put it in the player, most players should read the table of contents (toc) within 2 to 3 seconds, now press play. Did the player take a long time to play track one and is it skipping? now try the last track, it too should play within a few seconds and not skip.

If your unit failed any of these tests it maybe time to clean the lens. CD lens cleaners do work in 50% of cases but if it’s too dirty, cleaning it manually is the only way to go. If your unit is a multi disk unit or 3 in one I recommend trying the CD cleaner as access to the CD lens in one of these type of units ranges from difficult to impossible and best left to the experts.

Other home component type units are often easy to work on sometimes with only 4 screws needing to be removed. Firstly unplug the unit unscrew the top and remove, you should see the CD deck in the unit. Take a look for a box with a blue lens (it maybe under the CD clamper) this lens is what you want to clean. You will need cotton buds and we recommend isopropyl alcohol, never use turps, thinners or anything sharp. All it takes is a quick twirl of the cotton bud and perhaps a quick go of the dry end to clean away any excess alcohol. If the lens was dusty or cloudy this should have fixed your skipping problems (smokers unit often suffer from a cloudy CD lens). Reassemble your unit before plugging it back in to try it out. If the problem persists, it maybe time to take it for repair but remembering a laser replacement may be more expensive than a new unit perhaps it’s time you purchased a new CD or DVD player.

The information presented here is for a guide only. If you doubt your technical abilities do not attempt to perform the procedures documented here. We will not be held responsible for any damage to your equipment or injury to yourself.

How to Clean a Video Game Disc

Gone are the days of blowing into a cartridge to clean your games. Depending on what systems you own, you’ll be caring for and cleaning games that are burned onto DVDs or Blu-rays (and if you like vintage gaming, perhaps even some old-school CDs). Luckily, the cleaning process is the same for all disc-based games. However, there’s some disagreement about the best technique to clean your discs. A quick Internet search will give you countless methods and variations for game cleaning, but not all of them are going to work. In fact, some Internet solutions (such as the banana-cleaning method) usually make the situation worse and will turn a game that skips occasionally into an unplayable piece of plastic trash. Therefore, if the only boss you can’t get past is dirt on your discs, try following the manufacturer’s guidelines to get back into the game.

Most instruction manuals and console manufactures will tell you to clean your games with a clean, lint-free, soft, dry or slightly damp cloth and wipe in straight lines from the disc’s center to its outer edge. Don’t wipe in circles: That’s how the discs are read, and doing so could cause further damage. Also, be sure to hold onto the outer edges of the video game disc as you clean — grasping it any other way will just add fingerprint smudges to your already smeared or scratched-up disc.

This cleaning method will buff out smudges and some small scratches, but if your game is badly damaged, you’re going to have to break out the big guns. In this case, that’s toothpaste.

Yes, you heard that right — we said toothpaste. Cleaning your scratched game with toothpaste is a long-standing Internet rumor that actually works … if you do it right! First, squeeze a moderate amount of toothpaste (a little more than you’d place onto your toothbrush) and evenly rub it onto the disc in straight lines from the center to the edge. (Remember what we said about forgoing circular wiping motions?). Leave on the paste for about five minutes or so, then off wash the disc with warm water until all the solution has been removed. Dry off your game with a clean, soft cloth, and you should be back in front of the TV, controller in hand, in no time. Of course, this technique isn’t foolproof, and extremely deep scratches may be unbeatable and force you to restart with another copy of the game.

You can also always pick up a specialized disc-cleaning tool or machine. There are numerous products out there on the market, but the truth is that if damp cloths and toothpaste didn’t work for you, these products probably won’t, either.