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CDs or DVDs do not require routine cleaning. It is best to clean the disc only when it is absolutely necessary, specifically:

  • before storing, when surface contamination is visible
  • before recording, when surface contamination is visible
  • before playing, to prevent surface contamination from being “flung off” while the disc is spinning in the disc drive
  • when readability (playability) is impaired and surface contamination is visible

In general, avoid using organic solvents. Harsher solvents (acetone, benzene) will dissolve the polycarbonate and damage the disc beyond repair. Mild solvents (isopropyl alcohol, methanol), however, may be used. These mild solvents evaporate quickly and will not dissolve the polycarbonate.

Other solutions that are not harmful are water-based lens cleaners or water-based detergents (with mild soap) formulated for cleaning CDs or DVDs.

The polycarbonate substrate is a relatively soft and transparent type of plastic. Each time a disc is wiped, rubbed, treated with some solution, or otherwise manipulated for cleaning, that substrate, and thus the disc itself, is at risk of scratching or contamination.

If the disc needs cleaning, remember these tips:

  • Use an air puffer to blow off dust.
  • Use a soft cotton cloth or chamois to wipe the disc.
  • Try cleaning with a dry cloth first, before using any cleaning -solutions.
  • Do not wipe in a direction going around the disc.
  • Wipe from the center of the disc straight toward the outer edge.
  • Avoid using paper products, including lens paper, to wipe the disc.
  • Avoid using anything abrasive on the surface of the disc.
  • If the disc has a heavy accumulation of dirt, try rinsing it with water first.
  • Use commercially available water-based detergent formulated for cleaning the surface of optical discs.
  • Use isopropyl alcohol or methanol, as an alternate to water-based detergents, to clean the disc surface.

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