Shev asked: How do I clean a CD ROM drive? I have a Sony CD R/W drive on my PC CPU. It’s started jamming and rarely opens. Is it because I use it infrequently?
Computers require plenty of regular maintenance to keep working. However, the CD-ROM drive is not one of them. It does need to be cleaned from time to time, but should only be done when there is a problem. In most cases where the tray refuses to open, the culprit is not dirt – but the hardware itself.
You Will Need:
- Soft cloth
- CD-ROM Duster (choose one):
- Air bulb
- Compressed air
- Cotton swab or
- CD-ROM Cleaning Disk
Steps to Clean the Drive:
- The first step is to remove the dust and dirt buildup inside of the drive.
- Open the tray compartment.
- If the tray is dusty, moisten a soft cloth with a small amount of water, then wring it out so it’s only damp, not dripping.
- Open the drive and allow the tray to eject.
- Once open, wipe the tray down with a damp cloth. Do not allow any excess moisture to drip onto the tray. The cloth should only be slightly moist.
- Allow the tray to fully air dry.
- Once the dust has been removed from the tray, remove any remaining dust from inside the device. An air bulb is the best tool to blow air and dislodges the dust and dirt.
- A straw can be used to blow air into the drive, but be careful not to blow saliva and moisture in as well. This creates a building ground for the growth of bacteria or mold and provides a sticky surface for dirt to collect.
- Use short, quick blows of air to move the dust and dirt.
- Compressed air can work effectively, but must be used carefully as the air comes out with quite a bit of force. Also, ensure the can is upright at all times to avoid blowing any of the liquid propellant into the drive.
- If any dust has been deposited onto the tray while removing it inside the device, wipe down the tray again with the damp cloth.
- Once the tray is wiped down, allow it to air dry completely, then reinsert it into the drive.
- If blowing the dust and dirt out of the way does not fix the problem, it may be that the lens is dirty.
- To clean the lens, it will be necessary to disassemble the cover and drive to expose the lens.
- Once exposed, wipe the lens with a cotton swab to remove any dust or buildup.
- If you don’t want to open the computer yourself, it can be cleaned with a CD ROM cleaning disk.
- These disks are designed to remove dust and buildup from the lens and will not void the warranty like taking the computer apart may. They are readily available at any electronics store and are reasonably priced. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If only one disk is causing problems, it is most likely the disk and not the drive. See our guide on How to Clean CDs and DVDs for the steps to clean the disk and repair any scratches.
- Opening the computer may void the warranty. If this is a problem, take it to a professional to have it serviced.
- To keep dirt from building up in the drive, keep it as far away from pets and the kitchen (greasy air) as possible. Store CDs and DVDs in cases to keep them free of dirt and scratches in between use.
- Most problems that are fixed with cleaning are errors reading the disks. If the drive itself is damaged, it is likely a problem with the computer and not caused by dirt buildup.