How to Clean a CD (Without Scratching It)
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If you are still using CDs, you may have a special place in your heart for your collection. You want to keep them in their best shape. We are all guilty of leaving a CD out of its case, and usually, when we do, a CD can gather dust and dirt or even get scratched. There are many methods to properly care for your CD collection, even when you do leave them out.
You’ll know when a CD needs to be cleaned if you go to play the CD and the CD skips, shuts down, or won’t play. Dust and scratches interfere with the laser in a CD player, preventing it from playing. Usually, you can also tell by holding the CD up to the right light to detect streaks, or you can determine if it’s not dirty and scratches that are preventing the CD from playing.
Using your best judgment, follow the tips we have laid out, going over the easiest, most effective ways to clean your CDs. We also cover the best ways to buff out scratches, including those strange remedies you may have heard of.
Here’s how to properly clean a CD
When you go to clean a CD, you need to ensure you are taking care not to scratch the surface and use soft and not abrasive materials. To clean a CD, you will need:
- Compressed Air Can
- Microfiber Cloth
- Mild Dish Soap (Unscented)
- Small Bowl
Always handle CDs carefully as they are delicate and can break easily. Hold the CD around the edges to prevent adding additional smudges.
Follow these steps to clean your CD without scratching it:
- First, you will want to use compressed air to clean off any loose dust or debris.
- Use a clean, lint-free microfiber cloth to gently wipe the CD from the center to the outer rim.
- Fill the small bowl with warm water and mix in a tiny amount of dish soap. You can also use hand soap as both are easy on CDs. Stir the water and soap together to make a bubbly mixture.
- Submerge the CD entirely in the water for up to one minute to loosen up any tough, stuck-on grime.
- Rinse the CD in running warm water to clear off the dirt and soap.
- Wipe the CD using a lint-free microfiber cloth completely dry. To minimize damage, work the cloth from the center of the CD to the outer rim.
How to clean tougher CD messes
If your CD is covered in a sticky substance that might be harder to get off, the simple cleaning method with dish soap might not do the trick. You can use rubbing alcohol to cut through those tough messes. For this cleaning method, you will need:
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Microfiber Cloth
- Distilled Water
- Small Bowl
To clean up those messes using this method:
- Mix 1 part isopropyl alcohol to distilled water in a small bowl. You do not need a lot as you will not be soaking the CD in this mixture.
- Using a microfiber cloth, dip it in the rubbing alcohol solution. Shake off any excess.
- Begin to wipe the CD using the solution wiping from the center of the CD to the outer edge. Use gentle straight strokes. The isopropyl alcohol should cut through the tough, stuck-on substance with ease.
- Allow the CD to air dry. The CD will dry quickly as isopropyl alcohol dries quickly.
How to repair a scratched CD
You can use a couple of unconventional methods to buff out scratches on your CD and get them back to working condition playing your favorite albums.
Toothpaste – Toothpaste with baking soda is great for repairing minor scratches on CDs. Using a microfiber cloth or your fingers, rub the toothpaste on the underside of the CD gently. Rinse the CD off with warm water until all toothpaste is no longer on the CD. Use a microfiber cloth to dry the CD, rubbing the CD from the center to the outer edge. Note: Do not use gel toothpaste.
Banana – Many people swear by this method, and it never hurts to try it. Rub a fresh-cut banana on the underside of your CD where the scratch is located, smearing it to cover the CD completely. Using the underside of the banana peel, gently wipe off the banana you smeared on the CD. The wax from the banana peel will help fill in the scratches. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe off the remaining banana from the CD, moving from the center to the outer edge. You can rinse the banana residue by running under warm water or using a window cleaner and microfiber cloth to dry.
In many electronics stores, you can find CD repair kits or cleaners made especially for cleaning CDs and DVDs. DVD care is the same as CD and DVD, and Bluray discs are still standard. You can also use household glass cleaners to clean your CDs. Be sure to use gentle cleaners that are less abrasive, and always use a microfiber cloth.
Properly caring for your CD collection can help you preserve the CD exterior allowing them to be played for years to come. Be sure to avoid direct sunlight. Remember to put the CD back in the case, and be careful when handling your CDs. The cleaning process is easy and quick, and you now have the tools and the know-how to buff out minor scratches.
Cleaning and caring for your home is made easy when you are able to set a schedule that you can keep up with. Read our article on how to Create a House Cleaning Schedule you can Handle to make your life easier.