Instead of buying a CD cleaning kit when your compact discs get dirty, smudged or fingerprint covered, you may find that cleaning CDs with home cleaners is just as effective. You can use items you probably already have in your house.
Before Cleaning CDs
Before getting started, it's important to note that just because a CD doesn't play does not mean it is necessarily dirty. It could be that it's scratched or that the problem lies with the CD player. Before attempting to clean CDs, rule out these other options by examining both sides of the disc carefully (a scratch on the label side is actually worse than on the data side, believe it or not) and attempting to play another disc in the machine to see if it's a universal problem.
Procedure for Cleaning CDs with Home Cleaners
Once you've determined the problem really is that the disc is dirty, it's time to get the materials. Fortunately, only three things are required for cleaning CDs with home cleaners. These are:
- Lint-free cloths, which will prevent a CD from getting covered in fuzz
- A bottle of isopropyl alcohol or unscented liquid dish soap (not the dishwasher kind!)
- A bowl containing one cup of lukewarm distilled water
Keep in mind that you don't have to use an expensive microfiber cloth. An old cotton t-shirt or even a handkerchief will do just fine. In fact, ripping up one shirt can make for several cloths in one go. It's also important to note that It's never wise to use hydrogen peroxide, commercial glass or metal cleaners or other abrasives on CDs.
After assembling the materials, take the disc out of its case, being careful not to touch any part of it except for the sides and center (essentially, the parts that curve). After all, you don't want to transfer more dirt on the disc with your fingers. Next, follow these simple steps:
- Dip the cloth in the water, wringing it out in the sink so it doesn't drip on the disc. Then wipe the disc down and see if the grime comes off. It's important to use straight lines from the inside of the disc outwards (think spokes on a bike wheel). Rubbing in a circular motion or following the rings could mess up the data on the disc. Dry the disc with a new cloth in the same fashion.
- Add a teaspoon of the soap to the bowl of water and mix. Dip in a new rag and wring it out. Then try wiping the disc again with the soapy solution. Afterwards, wipe the disc with the original water rag to rinse off any soapy residue. Then dry it the same way as before.
- Open the isopropyl alcohol and put a new rag over the top of the opening. Overturn the bottle to get a small amount on the rag, preferably on a corner. Rub the CD as before. Don't worry about wiping it dry since the alcohol will evaporate quickly.
Beyond Home Cleaners
In most cases, home cleaners will remove dirt on CDs in no time. However, there may be other times when something stronger is needed. In these cases, you might want to spring for a CD cleaning kit. One cleaning kit allows you to disinfect multiple discs. Keep in mind that CD cleaning kits do not have magical powers. If you have a CD that is covered with chewing gum or the disc contains sensitive material, then it's best to seek help from professionals, so you don't do further damage.