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Topic: How to clean CD? (Read 265 times) previous topic - next topic
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How to clean CD?


Do you know how to clean an CD properly?

I recovery some problematics CDs that don't pass Accurate RIP or PureRead 4+ can't recovery information with the following method:

  • I rinse the disc for remove dust,
  • I wash by hand with clean kitchen liquid soap directly from bottle and clean gloves for wash dishes,
  • I rinse the disk
  • I dry with a clean rag for eyeglasses since center to external borders
  • I repeat the dry method with other dry and clean rag for eyeglasses.

But sometimes I got scratched my CD.

I see that someone use ultrasonic cleaner but I guess that my problem is when I dry my CD. I tried dry my CD with a blower but I get stains on it.

I dry and shake my rags for eyeglasses before I keep these in a plastic zip bag.


Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #1
Tried if CUETools can repair?

If you have access to a different CD drive, try that. It need not be an expensive one. Just a different one.
Last two months' worth of ad revenue has been donated to support war refugees from Ukraine:

Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #2
I didn't know that software.

I only have problems with CDs that came from carton box.

I ask because I read a really nice article shared by 2tec for cleaning vinyl, I guess that maybe someone could know a better method.

Anyone recommended use distilled water with ultrasonic cleaning machine and dry with a blower for computers in bathroom for avoid dust, but where I live is difficult find distilled water for a nice price.

I bought this Blu-Ray and CD drive when the seller published cheaper by wrong.  :D

Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #3
If they are straight outta the box, then the problem is probably at the pressing plant.

Also, if there are dirty scratches that are hard to get rid of, distilled water is unlikely to be of any help.
But, anyone: some places in the world, tap water is slightly chlorinated: is there any reason that this should be any problem to the plastic?
Last two months' worth of ad revenue has been donated to support war refugees from Ukraine:

Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #4
I've successfully used 1500/2000 emery paper (that you wet) and Meguiar's PlastX to fix scratches before.

Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #5
I use glass cleaner.   I usually have some handy and it does a good job.

CDs don't seem to be sensitive to slight dust like records.    Regular light fingerprints don't seem to be a problem either,   Occasionally, I've had a bad smudge that causes problems.    I'd guess that 90% of my CDs have never been cleaned!

They are easier to clean than records because they are smooth and polycarbonate is much harder/stronger than PVC.

I've NEVER had any luck fixing scratches...   Many years ago I bought a polishing gizmo but it never helped...   Some people have had success polishing-out scratches but the problem is - The data-layer is on top (the label side) and the CD is read through the full thickness of the polycarbonate.   They can be more-easily damaged from the top and attempting to polish the top won't help and it you can possibly cause more damage.   (If you sandpaper the top of a CD you'll destroy it!)    The laser isn't focused on the bottom surface so small scratches or dust usually don't cause any problems.

BTW - The data on a DVD is in the middle of a polycarbonate sandwich so they don't get damaged from the top.   Blu-Ray data is on the bottom with a thin-hard protective layer.

P.S.    My scratched-CD solutions -
I think I've had an unplayable CD (or a CD that had audible defects when played) CD 3 times.    Most CD players have good error correction/hiding so you usually only discover problems when ripping.

In one case the CD was a few years old and had "gone bad".   I bought a replacement.   (I hadn't ripped the CD.)  In another similar case, I borrowed a copy, ripped and burned, and I saved the ripped copy.

I bought a new CD that had audio defects and the track listing didn't match actual tracks on the disc so it was just overall careless manufacturing.  I ripped the good tracks and returned it for a refund.

It's more common to have a disc that plays OK but rips with errors or audible defects.    
Cue Tools has a repair feature, but I haven't tried it because I ripped my CDs before this was available, and I haven't had any problems recently.   This is obviously the BEST solution (if it works for your particular CD).

In the past, when I got a reported error but it sounded OK I've ignored it and I don't even remember which CDs/tracks those were.

With small (short duration) audible errors I've sometimes fixed them with Audacity or software made for removing vinyl clicks & pops. In most cases the result can be "audibly perfect".   In a couple of cases where I had skips or an unlistenable track, I just bought the MP3 of that one track.   Again, after time I don't even remember which tracks are downloaded MP3s.   (Maybe if it was my "favorite song" I'd buy a replacement CD instead of buying a lossy copy.)


Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #6
A very soft cleaning cloth usually won't scratch a CD, but if there is dirt there it can get scraped across the surface when you wipe and cause a scratch. So be careful when wiping and try to remove all dirt before wiping.

I find that anything big enough to cause a read error is usually visible. Take note of where on the disc the error occurs, then you should have a rough idea where to look. Remember that CD read from the inside to the outside, an error in track one will be near the middle.

Hold the disc up to a light. If you can see light coming though then there is a hole in the metal layer and there is nothing you can do.

Otherwise look for scratches in the area where the error happens, and if you want you can try to polishing them out.