That shiny, reflective surface within most your CD’s and DVD’s is not embedded within the plastic disc itself, it is attached to the back, underneath the label. If you scratch the label side of the disk deep enough, you will scrape right through the reflective surface and render the disc useless. That’s why stores like Blockbuster put stickers all over the back of their discs – if someone were to try and remove them, then they would destroy the disc in the process.
Cleaning a CD
You will need:
- A soft cloth
- Baby shampoo
- Mild dish liquid
- Tepid distilled water
- Isopropyl alcohol
Always wipe the disc surface in a back-and-forth motion from the center hole to the outer edge. Never wipe in a circular motion.
- Avoid touching the surface by holding the CD with your thumb inserted in the center hole and fingers squeezing the outside edge.
- Sticky, greasy, gummy, or caked spots should be cleaned with baby shampoo or mild dish liquid mixed in lukewarm water; gently rub the CD surface with this solution using a soft cloth.
- If there are fingerprints on the surface, dip a soft cloth in isopropyl alcohol and gently wipe the surface. Never use a petroleum-based solvent like acetone; it will permanently destroy the surface.
- Make sure the CD is completely dry (no water drops) before putting it away. Pat the disk dry and then let it air dry for about a half hour.
- Always keep the CD in its jewel case or a paper sleeve. CD’s exposed to the environment will get dirty and, even worse, scratched.
If there are light scratches on the disk, hold it up to a light. If light comes through any little scratches or holes, then the foil layer is damaged and the disc is irreparable. If no light shows, you can reduce the impact of scratches by using a soft cloth and one of the following:
- Pledge Furniture Polish (the clear wax fills in the scratches)
- Automobile wax or polish.
- Automotive rubbing compound (be very careful)
The pages of CD/DVD book cases are usually made of vinyl. Over time viny leaches a sticky residue that can get on your discs. If the general cleaning method above using mild detergent does not remove the stickiness, try using an oily product sometimes used to clean discs, such as cooking oil, creamy peanut butter, or Brasso.