The Best Way to Clean CD Disks

By Susan Reynolds

CD discs are very fragile and prone to scratches because there is only a thin layer of plastic covering the sensitive data inside. Even if a CD is kept inside its case, dust or small particles can embed into the plastic or scratch the surface, rendering the CD unplayable or causing it to skip. The best way to clean CD discs is to use a gentle remedy that will not harm the surface. Many commercial cleaners on the market, and even water, can sometimes damage the CD.

Things You'll Need

  • Eyeglass cleaning cloth
  • Nonabrasive toothpaste

Step 1

Inspect the CD for scratches and debris on the shiny surface. Bring it to a well-lighted area to clean it. If the CD has dark spots on it, the data has been damaged and repair is unlikely.

Step 2

Wipe the CD with a microfiber cloth, like the kind used to clean eyeglasses. This is the best type of cloth to use, since it will not scratch any surface. Wipe the CD from the inner hole outward in gentle strokes. The strokes should be linear, not circular. Hold the edges of the CD to avoid leaving fingerprints.

Step 3

Squeeze out a pea-size amount of nonabrasive toothpaste onto your finger and carefully rub it all over the shiny side of the CD. Make a thin coat of paste and let it dry for five minutes.

Step 4

Use your microfiber cloth to buff out the paste when it is dry. Use the same linear strokes that you used earlier to clean it. Remove every trace of toothpaste from the center outward. It will fill in the scratches so that the CD will not skip in the CD player.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use store-bought CD cleaners or water on CD-R discs because they are more fragile than commercially made audio CDs.