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-   -   FAQ: Cleaning & Polishing a DVD (http://forum.digital-digest.com/f57/faq-cleaning-polishing-dvd-83320.html)

Taelon 6 Sep 2005 12:31 PM

FAQ: Cleaning & Polishing a DVD
 
Symptoms: Can't successfully read a DVD

This may also be evident after testing it with Nero CD Speed or DVD Info Pro (or you may get CRC32 errors). The DVD might be scratched. Here's a way to clean it:

Background:
A DVD can contain over 10 times as much data on a single side as a CD, to achieve that storage capacity the data bumps are much smaller and more tightly packed. Also, the laser is more powerful and tightly focused, and the disk spins at a higher RPM.

Fingerprints, smudges and minor scratches oftentimes won't affect the playback of a movie. However, when reading a disk at higher than 1x speeds and attempting to remove the encoded data, small surface imperfections can cause major problems.

References (with pictures):
How Stuff Works - How DVDs Work - Storing Data on a DVD
DVD Workshop - The DVD-ROM vs CD-ROM
Pioneer - DVD Technical guide - Physical Format of Read-Only Disc

Solution: Just Clean It!


Mild cleaning:

Start with a mild dishwashing detergent in clean warm water. Use a clean cotton cloth and lightly wipe the bottom (not the label side) radially (from center hole to outer edge), working your way around the disk. Rinse thoroughly, then wipe (radially) both sides until it's dry. Grasp the disk by the edges or center hole and edge (never put your fingers on the data area), place the disk on the tray of your DVD-ROM or burner and let it air-dry for a few minutes, then attempt to rip the problem area.

Mild cleaning rarely solves the problem, but it's a good place to start, especially with brand new discs (to remove residue from the manufacturing process), or discs that have been used by children with sticky fingers, or lent to friends, etc.

Thorough cleaning:
Supplies needed:
- (2) Clean 'lint free' cotton cloth(s) or
- A couple clean paper towels and (1) cotton cloth
- Water
- Isopropyl Alcohol (I prefer the 99% stuff, although rubbing alcohol @70% is probably ok)

1) Take a cotton cloth or the paper towels and wet them with water, wring them out thoroughly so they are damp (not wet) and lay it out flat on a clean, solid, flat surface. The idea here is to keep the disc from sliding around the table, and protect the label side from being scratched.

2) Place the DVD UpSide DOWN, on the paper towel. DVD's are similar to CD's the laser reads the data from the bottom, so this is the surface we want to clean.

3) Wet a small area of the dry cotton cloth with the alcohol and wipe the DVD from the center to the edge (radially), keep moving around the disk until you've cleaned the whole thing. (don't wipe in a circular motion)

4) Pick the disc up with a dry area of the cloth, give both sides a gentle wipe across the disk to dry it off (again don't wipe in a circular motion).

5) Grasp the disk by the edges with your bare hand and take it to your DVD-ROM or burner. (never put your fingers on the surface of the disk, fingerprints can also cause read errors and oils from your skin could damage the clear coating over time)

6) Open the tray of your DVD-ROM or burner and gently place the disk in the tray. Let it sit there for a minute or two to air dry. Don't blow on it, don't wipe up dust in the area, don't smoke near it while the tray is open.

7) Try reading the DVD, see if you can get past the problem area, if it still has trouble reading it, next step is polishing.

Thorough cleaning should solve most of the read errors that you encounter that are due to dirt & grime on the disk surface.

Polishing The Disk
If cleaning doesn't resolve the problem the next step is to polish it. To read a Dual Layer disk the laser has to pass thru 2 clear layers of plastic, we will polish the top layer (which actually fills in small scratches) so the laser can stay focused properly.

Supplies needed:
- (2) Clean 'lint free' cotton cloth(s) or
- A couple clean paper towels and (1) cotton cloth
- Water
- Non-wax furniture polish (Pledge, Endust, etc)

1) Take a cotton cloth or the paper towels and wet them with water, wring them out thoroughly so they are damp (not wet) and lay it out flat on a clean, solid, flat surface. The idea here is to keep the disc from sliding around the table, and protect the label side from being scratched.

2) Place the DVD UpSide DOWN, on the paper towel. DVD's are similar to CD's the laser reads the data from the bottom, so this is the surface we want to clean.

3) Follow the directions on the furniture polish label (Shake vigorously, etc). Very lightly spray the furniture polish directly onto the disk, you don't need to coat the whole disk, apply sparingly!

3) Use the clean/dry cotton cloth and lightly rub the polish from center hub to the outer edge of the disk. Advance around the disk and use a fresh area of the cloth as you get halfway. When you've polished the entire disk, find a clean area of the cloth and again lightly rub from center to rim until you've done the whole disk surface.

4) Pick up the disk with a fresh area of the cloth and lightly wipe the label side to dry it. Be careful the disk will be very slippery, don't drop it!

5) Grasp the disk by the edges with your bare hand and take it to your DVD-ROM or burner. (never put your fingers on the surface of the disk, fingerprints can also cause read errors and oils from your skin could damage the clear coating over time)

6) Open the tray of your DVD-ROM or burner and gently place the disk in the tray. Let it sit there for a minute or two to air dry. Don't blow on it, don't wipe up dust from the area, don't smoke near it while the tray is open.

7) Try reading the DVD, see if you can get past the problem area, this procedure should work at least 90% of the time!

If cleaning and poishing did not solve the problem:
1) The disk may have some type of copy protection that the program can't handle properly. In this case, we can't help you as we can't discuss ripping on this forum.

2) The disk could be physically defective due to a manufacturing defect caused by mis-stamping, improper curing, etc. Check the forums to see if others are having trouble with the same title, it the disk is new try returning it to the place of purchase for a replacement.

3) The disk may have large scratches that furniture polish wasn't able to fill-in. You can try following the steps outlined above for "Polishing The Disk" but instead of furniture polish use "Brasso" which has been documented to give great results in repairing scratched CDs in this article at BurningIssues.net.

4) Many DVD rental stores have professional disk polishing machines, and will often resurface a DVD for a small fee.

Final thoughts:
1) Never use harsh abrasives, chemicals, solvents, etc. to clean your disks as these may cause permanent damage.

2) I do not recommend using any of the so-called "home disc repair kits", my experience has shown that these can often cause more damage than they fix.

3) The information presented here is based on personal experience, I cannot guarantee that following this guide will solve your particular problem. Neither I nor digital-digest.com are responsible if you somehow manage to damage a disk by following the techniques presented here. This information is presented for informational purposes and is presented as-is, without warranty to try at your own risk.

cynthia 6 Sep 2005 01:08 PM

This thread has been closed/locked, as it is for information purposes only. If you have a question regarding this thread. Please start a new thread in the forums.

Thanks,
Moderators of the FAQ/Knowledgebase forum


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