How to Clean a DVD Disc Safely

Updated August 4, 2020
hand holding DVD disc

DVDs do not need to be cleaned often, but if you do clean them, it is important to do it properly. They can easily become scratched and damaged if you use the wrong cleaning products.

How to Clean a DVD

To clean a DVD, you will need a few supplies first:

You can also opt to purchase a DVD cleaning kit, which will have all of these supplies included.

Safe DVD Cleaning Solutions

You can use a few different products for a cleaning solution without worrying about them damaging the DVD:

Steps to Clean a DVD

wash DVD with water

Once you have your supplies ready, take the DVD and hold it with one finger through the center hole. Other than cleaning the surface, try to avoid touching the playable side of the DVD as much as possible.

  1. Remove any loose dust on the DVD with the air puffer. You can also use a feather duster.
  2. Spray your choice of cleaner on the DVD or drop some of it on the DVD depending on what you are using.
  3. Place the DVD on top of a microfiber cloth with the playable side that you will be cleaning facing up.
  4. Using your fingertips, gently rub the cleaner moving from the center hole of the DVD out to the outer edge in a straight line. You want to try to clean using straight motions rather than circular ones as this is less likely to damage the data.
  5. Put the DVD under running water to rinse off the cleaner. Shake off the excess water.
  6. Take your microfiber cloth and gently dry the DVD. Dry from the center hole to the outer edge in straight-line motions and avoid circling.
  7. Allow the DVD to air dry. It should be fully dry before you place it back in its case. The DVD will dry fastest if you set it up vertically rather than laying it down flat.

Clean DVDs With Vinegar

Another excellent cleaner for DVDs is plain white vinegar. You can use it as the cleaning solution in the outlined steps. Either drop a few drops of it on the DVD or dampen the microfiber cloth with it and use it to wipe down the DVD.

How to Clean a DVD That Will Not Play

If you have a DVD that is freezing and skipping, or the DVD will not play at all, it is possible that there are scratches on the playable surface. Using toothpaste, microfiber cloth, running water, and some rubbing alcohol, you can gently buff out the scratches. Any type of non-gel toothpaste will do except for ones that have whitening agents. If you do not have toothpaste, you can substitute a paste of water and baking soda. You can use Brasso metal polish instead of toothpaste as well.

  1. Put a few small dabs of toothpaste on the DVD along the center ring.
  2. Using the tips of your fingers, rub the toothpaste evenly over the DVD surface so that it is entirely covered with paste. You want to move your fingers from the center out to the edge in a straight line and avoid rubbing in circles.
  3. Rinse the paste off under running water, using your fingertips to move the paste off the DVD.
  4. Dry the DVD gently using the microfiber cloth using the same straight direction technique from the center to the outer edge.
  5. Place a few drops of the alcohol on a cloth and use it to rub out gently any remaining toothpaste.
  6. Rinse the alcohol off with running water.
  7. Dry gently with the microfiber cloth.
  8. Make sure the DVD is completely dry before you place it in its case.

Avoid These Cleaning Products With DVDs

There are several common cleaners that can damage your DVDs. Avoid using any of these when cleaning them:

  • Paper towels or tissues, which are too abrasive
  • Any type of abrasive cloth, sponge, or brush
  • Acetone
  • Benzene
  • Canned air for electronics

Preserving Your DVDs With Safe Cleaning

If you know how to clean a DVD properly, you can usually solve most problems with skipping and freezing, unless the DVD is too badly scratched. Just be sure that you use the right cleaning tools and products as harsh solvents and abrasive tools can permanently damage the data on your DVDs.

How to Clean a DVD Disc Safely