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How Do You Clean an Old CD?

CDs are a timeless classic that date back to 1980s, yet their use remains widespread till this day. However, one of the biggest issue that arises while dealing with CDs is maintenance, especially for those vintage CDs that are lost to the rear-end of the attic. Be it a CD collection from your teenage years or a family heirloom stored in the basement, restoring a classic disc can always serve as a way of connecting to your past and reliving a few nostalgic memories.

The sight of old, unclean CDs may give the impression of lost and unrecoverable classics. However, the contrary is true in most cases, as these CDs can easily be recovered with a good clean-up. In this article, Neo features some of the ways through which you can clean an old CD.

How to Know of your CD is Recoverable?

In most cases, your CD may just have a few scratches and dirt marks, but that certainly does not mean that the disc has been lost. However, it is also essential to be able to know whether a CD can be restored or not.

In cases of scratches and dirt, your compact disc can easily be recovered, since the damage is mostly on the surface alumnium layer. However, bents and visible scratches may indicate that the disc is beyond repair, as the aluminium layer becomes illegible for the computer to detect.

How to Clean Your Old CD

For most old CDs, the cleaning process is quite straightforward. Simply take a cotton ball and dip it in a cleaner. Rub it all over the dirt and scratches, but ensure that you move from the rim to the centre instead of rubbing along the circular length of the CD, as this can result in further irreversible damage. Moreover, you should avoid using aggressive cleaners since the chemicals might wear-off the aluminium layer of the CD, rendering it useless.

In case your computer is still unable to properly play the CD, tilt it back and forth in adequate lighting to locate any tiny scratches that you might have missed. Once located, thoroughly apply the cleaner on those parts, but with utmost care, as rigorous rubbing can cause further damage.

If your CD is simply laden with dust and cobwebs, you’ll only have to gently blow them away. A simple wipe with a clean cloth can also go a long way in restoring your CDs.


Restoring classic CDs is the perfect way to take a trip down memory lane as it allows you to reconnect with your past self. Moreover, it can also serve as a way to go back in history and experience the culture and trends of the past decades. Either way, restoring old CDs is a great way to jog your memory. If you find yourself with a box full of vintage CDs/DVDs, simply employ the above-mentioned tips to clean the CDs and they will be brand new.

Find some of the best CD sleeves at Neo and make your CD collection look as good as new.


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