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Topic: How to clean CD? (Read 2053 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.

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?

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.

Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #7
Data on a CD is interleaved, such that radial and tangential scratches and even small opaque areas can be corrected. A CD has enough parity information for that. CIRC with EFM is pretty much tested through time by now, etc.

Surface reforming a CD, can be done by wet-sanding it with 3000-grit sand paper, and then polishing it with Polycarbonate polishing compounds. Some people have used Acetone vapor polishing methods, but I'd advice against that, since the vapors can attack the back side with the metalization.

For regular surface cleaning, I'd use no-wipe polycarbonate plastic cleaner. You can also use Isopropyl Alcohol for removing stains, and then follow it up with no-wipe PC cleaner.

When cleaning with water, get yourself a squirt bottle and de-ionized water. It's pretty cheap and cleaning a CD with that, is done in seconds.

However the real trick is not to get the CDs dirty in the first place. Put them back into their sleeve or jewelcase when not using them, etc.

Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #8
Do you know how to clean an CD properly?

We do use *transparent* glass-cleaner spray (to reduce unwanted residues) 1st, then slight mist dryed by a microfiber cloth.

Black painting of the external CD edge - using a permanent marker - sometimes *may* (remember the GreenCD myth) help the reader to retrieve worst parts.

Using a better reader (that supports C2, slow speed ripping, etc) is, of course, the best option.

Hope that helps.
Forward Agency NPO

In progress we (always) trust.

Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #11
Sunlight and tap water ~

Scratches in the plastic side can sometimes be buffed out using toothpaste and a polishing cloth.

Nice joke O:) .

I tried with toothpaste and car wax and for eyes it looks great but for laser looks worst. I tell that becase these CDs don't pass the accurate RIP and PureRead can't recovery none track.

Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #14
I thanks all suggestions.  :)

Maybe the unique method completely reliable is with a Japanese machine for polish the disk. I found that some videogame stores could offer this service. But where I live, I'll never found this service.

But the machine is really expensive, is over 6000 dollars!  :o

Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #15
I thanks all suggestions.  :)

Maybe the unique method completely reliable is with a Japanese machine for polish the disk. I found that some videogame stores could offer this service. But where I live, I'll never found this service.

But the machine is really expensive, is over 6000 dollars!  :o
you don't really need a machine to do a few CDs, start with detergent, then baking powder toothpaste, then a metal polish, then try wax and or try several different CD drives that recognize c2 errors, then use cuetools to fix rips that aren't perfect,

often even less than perfect rips actually sound fine, however if the CD is quite scratched, replacing the CD is often easier than repairing it, irreplaceable CDs can be 'recovered' professionally but the cost can be high, typically in the hundreds of dollars
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?  ;~)

Re: How to clean CD?

Reply #16
For ~£20 you can get the emery / wet/dry paper and PlastX that will almost certainly work.

My tip is to get a CD you don't want and use that to test the technique first. So, don't be making circular rubs with the emery paper; instead keep it to straight lines in a back and forth way. You'd also be surprised at the pressure you can put on the CD with it to buff out the scratch.