How to Clean DVDs

DVD and microfiber cleaning cloth

Learn how to clean DVDs in order to keep them working as long as possible. While DVDs have gone down in price, there is no reason to replace one if it can be restored to working condition.

Hallmarks of Dirty DVDs

Dirty DVDs are not necessarily "dirty" in the traditional sense. Even if surface smudges or dust is visible, they may still be working. A DVD that needs cleaning is one that has the following problems:

  • Screen selection issues
  • Distorted picture
  • Distorted sound
  • Skipping
  • Unplayable/unreadable

A DVD needs special attention when it comes to cleaning. An everyday household cleaner might damage the DVD, so follow proper cleaning instructions in order lessen any damage caused by cleaning.

How to Clean DVDs at Home

Information about cleaning CDs with home cleaners is similar to the information about cleaning DVDs. To clean a DVD without buying anything, follow these steps:

  1. Wipe the DVD off with a lint-free or microfiber cloth.
  2. Always wipe from the middle of the DVD towards the outer edge to prevent further scratching. Do not wipe in circles or wipe along the DVD circle.
  3. Try playing the DVD. If it still does not work, go to the next step.
  4. Rinse the DVD with room temperature water.
  5. Add a little mild soap to the water if sticky substances are stuck onto the DVD.
  6. Rinse with plain water.
  7. Air-dry the DVD. Do not use a hair dryer, compressed air or other extreme temperature forced air system.

Do not test DVDs in a player until they have been thoroughly cleaned, especially if they have sticky or messy stuck-on gunk. This can damage the DVD player itself. Replacing a DVD is less time consuming and/or costly then doing the same for the player.

Commercial DVD Cleaning Products

People who are wary of cleaning DVDs or do not know how to clean DVDs themselves can always purchase products and kits that will do the job. These kits usually come with fully instructions, cloths, cleaning solution and cleaning device. Be sure to read instructions thoroughly before using a commercial DVD cleaner.

Companies that produce DVDs and CDs often put out maintenance and cleaning kits. Electronics superstores, like Best Buy, and mass merchandise stores, like Wal-Mart and Target, offer a variety of cleaning solutions for DVDs.

Proper DVD Care

CD Cleaner

Cleaning a DVD is not necessary if the DVD has been properly cared for and stored. Follow these tips to avoid cleaning and repairing DVDs:

  • Handle DVDs by their inner circle and outer edge.
  • Store the DVDs in their cases or in a multi-unit storage device.
  • Keep the DVDs out of extreme heat and cold.
  • Do not use harsh chemical cleaning products on DVDs.
  • Store DVDs out of the reach of children and away from animals.

The National Institute of Standards of Technology (NIST) offers a handy quick reference guide for care and handling of CDs and DVDs. The Council on Library and Information Resources, along with the NIST, offers a detailed digital media report by Fred R. Byers. The Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs provides extensive information regarding the proper care, storage and cleaning that anyone will find easy to understand and helpful.

Clean DVDs As Needed

Cleaning DVDs is something that does not need to be done routinely or put on a schedule for cleaning house. DVD cleaning should be done when necessary. Proper storage and handling can make DVD cleaning a moot point for careful electronics owners.

How to Clean DVDs