How to Clean a DVD

By Carol Finch

Dust, smudges and dirt on a DVD can prevent it from playing correctly. Typically, you can solve this issue by cleaning your disc. If you've simply left your DVD out of its case for a while and it is a little dusty, a simple wipe may work; you may need to use a liquid fix if you're dealing with stubborn marks or residue. If you're having problems playing more than one DVD, you may need to clean your player.

Clean a Dusty DVD

Blow across the DVD, or use compressed air if you have it, to remove the top layer of dust. Using a lint-free and nonabrasive cloth, gently clean any remaining dust off the disc. Wipe the cloth across the DVD in lines, working from its central hole to the edge. Don't wipe round the disc in circular movements, as dust or debris may then scratch the disc and possibly damage its data.

Clean a Smudged or Dirty DVD

Using a damp cloth, wipe the DVD in straight movements from the central hole to the edge. If this doesn't remove greasy fingermarks, stains or residue, try a commercial DVD cleaning fluid, making sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, or apply a mix of equal parts rubbing alcohol and water. Don't use strong solvents or abrasive cloths as these may damage the disc's surface, and always apply liquids to the cloth -- not to the disc. Let the DVD air dry before using it again.

Clean Your DVD Player

Check manufacturer recommendations before you clean your player to make sure you use a safe method. Depending on your player, its manufacturer may recommend that you use a commercial laser lens cleaner or cleaning disc kit. If your player has a disc tray, wipe or blow dust from it and use a cotton swab with a little rubbing alcohol to clean it -- leave the tray open until it dries.

DVD Handling Tips

Store DVDs in their cases to keep them dust-free and clean. If you take a disc out of its case and need to put it down before inserting it into the player, make sure that the shiny data side faces up. Avoid touching this shiny side whenever you handle disks -- pick them up by the edges and try not to touch any other part of the DVDs.