Do you aspire to improve tracking, protect your digital library, and make your sound and picture quality better? DVDs & CDs, as we all know, are not indestructible, but by following these tips you can keep your discs healthy & help restore them when they aren’t. By following a few simple precautions & knowing some basic information, you can help preserve the life of both your DVDs & CDs.

1. Always handle your discs by the edges or at the center hole. Avoid touching the shiny surface as fingerprint oil can collect dirt & cause the disc to skip.

2. When not in use, store your DVDs & CDs in their cases. When placing your disc in its case be sure it is seated firmly in the holder in the center. Store cases vertically, if possible.

3. Keep discs away from excessive heat, sunlight or anything that may scratch them. Do not expose discs to direct sunlight, excessive heat or humidity. For example, do not leave a disc on the dashboard of a car. Storage conditions should be held within 5 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit (-15 to 70 C) and 3 to 95% Relative Humidity.

4. If discs do get scratched, look for a product that “restores” discs rather than just cleans them. Avoid scratch removal methods that use abrasives or have alcohol in them. With scratches, it is not the actual data section of the disc that is damaged, but rather the clear coating that protects the data that has been affected (unless the scratch is very deeply gouged). Scratches essentially are interfering with the path the laser travels to get to the information. The ideal restoring product repairs your disc by filling the scratch with an optical material rather than polishing down the scratch to remove it or heating the disc’s surface. Polishing off part of the polycarbonate may work once, but long-term or repeated use degrades your discs. Heat methods of “melting” away the scratches can cause disc warping over time & should only be used as a last resort. Abrasive methods to “wear down” scratches may also cause new scratches.

5. Thankfully, DVDs & CDs are not affected by magnets & strong electrical fields like videotapes, credit cards or floppy discs.

6. When simply cleaning your discs, avoid using alcohol-based products, abrasives, solvents or acidic cleansers. This includes things like rubbing alcohol, toothpaste and even baking soda…all these may scratch or degrade the polycarbonate surface. Commercial cleaning methods that use a “spinning” like “machine” to dry the surface may also contribute to harming that surface over time.

7. Always use a soft, lint-free COTTON cloth to wipe fingerprints or dust from you media’s surface. Micro-fiber cloths may seem soft & are often included with cleaning products, but most micro-fiber may actually cause minute scratching.

8. Always wipe your disc gently in a straight line from the center of the disc out. Wiping in a circular motion may cause scrapes that will interrupt the circular path of the disc’s signal.

9. Cracked or warped discs may damage your media playing or recording device. If a DVD or CD breaks inside your machine, pieces are likely to harm the optic lens. Throw out badly damaged discs rather than take the chance.

10. When recording on a DVD or CD first clean the production mold residue from the surface & avoid touching or scratching the signal (shiniest) side of the disc. Data discs are more sensitive than music CDs because audio CD players employ a special “error concealment” mode unavailable in most data CD drives.

11. Maintain the balance of your media by only attaching approved labels & to the proper area on the disc. Attaching a label to only part of the disc may create an imbalance. Use only felt tipped or special disc marking pens when writing labeling directly on the disc.

12. Static builds up on your media when they are not being used & slows down the tracking ability of your player. Removing static with an anti-static DVD/CD product before playing or using your discs each time will improve tracking.

13. In the best of all worlds, look for a DVD or CD restoration/enhancement product that not only cleans your discs, but fills in scratches & micro-pits without leaving a build-up on the disc. Ideally, it should also have a protectant to minimize future scratches and enhance the optical transparency of your digital discs.

14. Products with the addition of an optical enhancer will also promote improved frequency response, more detail, a better staging of instrumentals, less noise, better transients and better dynamic range. On DVDs the blacks will look blacker & the colors more vivid.

Author: Linda Simon from cdClarity. CdClarity is a consumer product that restores, repairs, cleans & enhances DVDs/CDs. For more information or questions about maintaining your media library contact: or