DVD cleaning methods aren’t something that movie fans think of often…at least not until their latest Netflix rental refuses to play due to smudges and/or scratches. And in many cases, this doesn’t become an issue until your movie is about 15 minutes away from being finished. It’s enough to make you want to pull your hair out, so let’s dive right into the most useful DVD cleaning methods. Some of these I’ve used myself, while others are taken from across the Internet. With a little experimentation, you’ll soon discover the DVD cleaning methods that work best for you.
- The Advantage of Microfiber Cloths – If you want to clean dust off your DVD or Blu-ray disc, you’ll need a soft cloth. While a normal cloth will usually do the trick, there is a small chance that you’ll wind up scratching the surface of the disc. That’s why a microfiber cloth is recommended. These cloths attract dust, but they also avoid harming the surface of your DVD (they‘re also frequently uses to clean eyeglasses and computer screens). If you’re really serious about cleaning your movie or music collection, be sure to keep a microfiber cloth on hand and wash it regularly.
- Checking for Scratches – To check your DVD for scratches, hold it up to a bright light. If light is visible through the scratch, then you’re in trouble. You should either buy a new copy or make a copy of the product as soon as possible (assuming it still plays all the way through).
- Using Toothpaste to Fix Scratches – If you have minor scratches on a disc, they can often be fixed by mixing a bit of toothpaste with water and lightly buffing with a cloth or your finger (wash your hands thoroughly before doing so). Always go slowly and softly, and make sure to use regular toothpaste (avoid extra-whitening and the like). Rub from the center to the edge of the disc for the best results.
- Never Rub in a Circle – Whether you’re applying toothpaste, water, or window cleaner, you should always wipe the surface of the DVD from the center hole to the outer edge.
- Don’t Touch the Surface – When using these DVD cleaning techniques, be sure not to touch the surface of the DVD unless absolutely necessary. Otherwise, fingerprints and oil from your skin can be left behind.
- Using Rubbing Alcohol – While strong solvents can ruin your DVD or Blu-ray disc, a 1 to 1 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water should provide an adequate cleaning solution. It also evaporates quickly, so you can clean your discs and then get on with your life. Never use a petroleum based solution like Acetone, as it will definitely damage your disc.
- Using Glass Cleaner – If you have stains on your DVD, you can fix the problem by spraying some window cleaner on a cloth and then wiping from the center of the disc outwards.
- Using Baby Shampoo – I haven’t used this technique myself, so approach it with caution. If your disc feels greasy or sticky, you can mix some lukewarm water with baby shampoo and clean the DVD with this solution (always going from the center to the edge). Before putting the DVD back in its case, make sure it’s completely dry.
- Metal Polisher – Here’s another one to keep in mind when it comes time to remove scratches. Metal polisher (I hear Brasso is the best) will act as an abrasive to eliminate minor scratches on the surface of your DVD. Apply it to a cloth and work from the center to the edge of the affected area. A little goes a long way, so don’t overdo it.
- Car Auto Polish – If you enjoy experimenting with different DVD cleaning methods, be sure to give this one a try. Get yourself some car polish meant for use with clear coat vehicles and go to it.
- Good Old-fashioned Water – If you’re really cheap, you can try cleaning your DVDs with nothing more than water. It is, after all, the universal solvent, so it’ll work 9 times out of 10. Just be sure to use mineral water, as tap water has more salt content and may leave white marks on the surface of your disc.
- Let Someone Else Do It – If you’re nervous about cleaning your DVDs yourself, you can usually take them to the local music or video store. These places will usually have a buffing machine that can clean and remove scratches, and they’ll usually be willing to fix your discs for a fee (sometimes $3 to $4 per disc). In some instances, you might even be able to get it done for free, but don’t expect that to be the case.
- Cleaning Redbox Discs – If you’re trying to clean a disc you rented from Redbox, be careful not to tear the bar code located on the DVD or get it wet.
- Professional Products – There are plenty of DVD cleaning and anti-scratch products available on the market. Most of these work fine, but the methods listed above will do just as well for a lot less money.
That concludes our look at some of the best DVD cleaning methods currently available. These tips also work on Blu-ray discs, and you can rest assured that the march towards purely digital music and movies will one day eliminate the need for cleaning altogether. Until then, use these methods and enjoy your favorite Steven Seagal films free from glitches.