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How to Clean a DVD

When it comes to DVDs, there's such a thing as being too clean. Frequent cleaning can ruin your DVDs, so only clean them if it's absolutely necessary. When it is necessary to clean your DVDs, take care not to scratch them.

To clean your DVDs, you can use:

  • A water-based lens cleaner [source: TopBits]
  • A water-based detergent [source: TopBits]
  • A mild solvent, like rubbing alcohol or window cleaner. These evaporate quickly and don't leave a residue. A one-to-one solution of isopropyl alcohol and water usually works well [source: Hatch].

Reduce the risk of scratching your DVDs when cleaning them, as follows:

  • Use an air puffer to blow dust off the DVDs.
  • Use a soft, dry cotton cloth. Microfiber is a particularly good material because its tight weave and synthetic materials attract and lift dust and dirt particles into the cloth instead of spreading them around and scratching the DVDs.
  • Dampen the cloth rather than pouring solution directly onto the DVDs.
  • Wipe DVDs in a straight line from the center outward. Circular scratches, which follow the path of the laser in your DVD player, are more misleading than straight ones.
  • Rinse off heavy accumulations of dirt with one of the solutions mentioned above or with lukewarm bottled water [source: TopBits].

Stand your DVDs up vertically to dry them after cleaning [source: Hatch].

Don't use the following items to clean your DVDs:

  • Harsh solvents, such as benzene and acetone, which will dissolve the polycarbonate material on your DVDs
  • Organic solvents
  • Hard water
  • Canned air to blow dust off your DVDs. Canned air is very cold and can crack the DVDs.
  • Paper products, such as paper towels or tissues, which can scratch your DVDs [source: TopBits]

You can buff away minor scratches with some toothpaste (not an "extra-whitening" formula) mixed with water [source: Hatch].

You can also purchase a DVD cleaning kit or, as a last resort, take your DVDs to a DVD shop and see if the professionals can clean or repair the DVDs for you.