Can the Cold Ruin a DVD?

By Kay Ireland

DVDs are useful for archiving videos and photos but sometimes they get tucked away and forgotten about, which could result in exposure to cold and damp conditions. DVDs stashed away in a storage box in a chilly basement, attic or garage are more prone to damage that will prevent them from playing correctly in your computer or DVD player.

Cold Effects

DVDs can become brittle when exposed to freezing temperatures. This means they're prone to damage in the form of cracking and breaking. Once a DVD is cracked or broken it can no longer be played and the chance of salvaging the content is small. While cold temperatures won't distort the media stored on the DVD disc, a cracked or broken disc is basically useless.

Damaged Labels

One area where cold could really do some damage is the DVD label. Adhesive paper labels absorb moisture, which could then freeze in cold temperatures. A frozen or damaged label could unbalance the weight across the surface of the DVD, resulting in poor playback.

Proper Temperatures

DVDs are best played and stored at temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, according to PC Magazine. Store DVDs in an environment with 20 to 50 per cent humidity to protect the label and the DVDs in general. Avoid sudden changes in temperature, which could affect a DVDs pliability.

Storing DVDs

If you have DVDs that you don't play regularly or DVDs that are purely for media storage and archiving, store them properly to protect the media. Choose cases made specifically for long-term storage that don't put excess and prolonged pressure around the center of the disc. Choose a dry, temperature-controlled storage area away from direct sunlight. Store DVDs in plastic bins to seal them against dirt, dust and moisture.