Tips for Cleaning Discs

Hand holding several compact discs

If you own a CD or DVD player you will want tips for cleaning discs, especially if you find your favorite disc is scratched.

Why Should You Clean Your Discs?

CDs and DVDs get dirty and scratched. Dirt and scratches can interfere with a disc's ability to play with out skipping. A CD is a compact disc that may contain digital information such as documents, pictures, or music. Devices that utilize compact discs are home and car stereos, and computers. A DVD is digital video device disc that contains video. Devices that utilize DVD discs include DVD movie players and computers. Over time, through handling, discs get covered with oil from your hands, dirt, and grime that could cause a CD or DVD to skip. Cleaning your discs will prolong their life and ensure decent play back.

Tips For Cleaning Discs

Following are various tips for cleaning discs. You can start with the first method and progress through the list until you find one that works on your disc.


  • Wipe down your disc with a lint free towel
  • Rub from the center hole and work outward
  • Dampen a clean soft cloth with a little water and wipe from inside circle outward
  • Dampen a lint free cloth with a small amount of rubbing alcohol and wipe disc
  • Mix a half-teaspoon of mild soap in water and dampen the soft cloth to clean the disc
  • Purchase a disc cleaning kit from the store
  • Use the disc cleaning kit to clean the discs and a head cleaner to clean the player


  • Rub the disc in a circular motion; this can scratch the disc
  • Use the shirt you are wearing to clean a disc, it may have something abrasive on it

Repairing a Scratched Disc

The material that discs are made from tends to scratch easily. Following are some reasons your discs may be getting scratched:

  • They get scratched in the machine you are playing them in because the laser lens is dirty
  • Improper handling
  • Wiping a disc on your shirt, pants, or abrasive cloth
  • Storing discs improperly such as stacking them or laying them directly on a surface when not in a protect sleeve

When an important disc gets scratched you can panic, or try to repair it. Scratches in discs may be able to be repaired by a scratch repair kit.Scratch repair kits come with a polish or gel that cleans and fills the scratch until it hardens so the disc can be read in the player. Purchase a scratch repair kit at most video rental stores and department stores. If you are able to fix the scratch so the disc can be read, you should make a copy of it as soon as possible in case the scratch reappears.

Proper Storage of Discs

Properly storing, handling and transporting your discs will reduce the amount of cleaning and replacement you need to do.

  • Store each disc in a protective sleeve
  • Hold them by the rim only
  • Do not touch the playing surface with your fingertips
  • Do not stack discs on top of each other if they are not in a protective sleeve

Develop Good Disc Habits

When thinking about tips for cleaning discs, you should consider avoiding products and habits that will damage your disc further.

  • Never use hydrogen peroxide to clean your disc because of its abrasive qualities.
  • Avoid using baking soda, metal cleaners, or abrasive pads.
  • Never leave your disc in a hot car in direct sunlight; it may warp.
  • Clean your CD or DVD player with a head cleaning kit.

If you have a disc that contains important information with no back up… call a professional to clean and retrieve the information from the disc.

Tips for Cleaning Discs