How Often To Clean CD's?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by ZenG, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    I have quite a few cd's.

    Some going back to mid 80's when I bought them.

    In all this time I've never cleaned a cd.

    Can't tell if they're dirty anyway....they look fine when I take them out of the case.

    But there could be some kind of dirt layer on them.....just because I can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there.

    From what I've read I should NOT use anything like Windex.....or Ether or alcohol-based fluids etc etc this could damage the surface......

    Seems like a very mild water/soapy solution is what I've read to use....

    (1) How often do you clean yours?

    (2) Did you notice any audio difference after you cleaned them?

    (3) What did you clean them with?

  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    They're digital.
    They'll play or they won't.
    If they don't skip or stutter, you're fine.

    Water and mild soap should do no harm.
    If you're talking about light surface scratches that _do_ affect playabiity, there are techniques (with varying degrees of risk/reward) that can be used to polish them out.
  3. ffutterman

    ffutterman Talentless Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    May 7, 2010
    If they're in the cases, they're fine. They're plastic, so they don't go bad.
  4. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Reason I was asking is because lately I've noticed a few of my older cd's sound like crap no matter what I play them on....

    No visible scratches/fingerprints etc etc etc. on them or anything....

    Do they waste away over time?

    Sometimes I'll buy cd's from these little boutique cd-trade-in it's impossible to tell what the previous owner cleaned them with...and in the process possibly harming them maybe....

    Most of the ones I ever bought were bought new tho'.
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  6. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    But there are a lot of early CD's that were merely digital versions of the vinyl masters, complete with the "RIAA pre-emphasis curve." I don't recall exactly what that curve looks like but IIRC it's a mid-emphasized "frowny" curve.

    Either play with your playback EQ to dial that out or look for 'remastered' CD's.
  7. mrmills


    Jun 22, 2009
    Kent, UK
    The RIAA curve on vinyl cuts the bass and boosts the treble.

    CDs should not rot and shouldn't sound any different to when they were first made.

    In what way do the old ones sound bad?
  8. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Everything has an expiry date
  9. I clean my CDs with Windex or Glass Plus, but only if they skipping, it usually works.
  10. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    That's entropy for you...

    Seriously, CDR's ('writable' CD's) will degrade faster, especially in adverse conditions (heat, UV...). 'Re-Writable' moreso. But early dawn-of-CD-technology predates writables by quite a bit.

    Masked-aluminum production CD's are pretty darned stable.
  11. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    I have something called ClearKote CD Restorer. However, I've just been looking online, and I'm not sure if this is even available anymore. I'd love to buy some more if I could find any. I'd say it works about 75% of the time at least. It is definitely worth the seven bucks I paid for it many years ago. (The store where I bought it is out of business.) I just love the post-2008 American economy. Every music store here that existed in 2008 has gone out of business except two, and one is so small you have to look hard to even see it. Needless to say, though, CDs have become way less popular (even though I still like them,) and I wouldn't expect CD cleaners to be very common anymore.
  12. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    I have one of these Skip Doctor CD/DVD/Video Game cleaners and it works great. It also fixes scratches. All it needs is either the fluid that comes with it or liquid dish soap to work.

  13. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    To the OP: When's the last time you cleaned the laser head on the CD player? Those get dirty too. You can find a cleaning disc that has a cleaner brush attached to the underside.
  14. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005

    But where can a cleaning disc be found? I have an old one I've used a lot. But I need a new one and have been unable to find one.
  15. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    I typed "CD laser cleaning disc" into Google and got a page full of hits, including WalMart, Amazon, and Staples.
  16. waynobass

    waynobass Supporting Member

    Feb 27, 2008
    You are being paranoid and/or OCD. If they've been in their cases, they don't need cleaning.
  17. Steve61689


    Oct 24, 2012
    I think this is normal for 80's music :D
  18. terranova


    Sep 9, 2011
    I wouldn't clean them either , unless something is obviously on the surface of the disc affecting playback. You would think cds last a long time but my experience has been different, if you clean them you risk delaminating the surface then they will be toast for sure. Got rid of most of mine ages ago and switched back to vinyl / streaming.
  19. Space Pickle

    Space Pickle

    Apr 15, 2013
  20. Rocker949


    Apr 20, 2005
    I've tried that, too. Even ordered one some time ago. As it turned out, I had ordered the correct item, but they sent me something only for game players or something. I'll keep looking. Staples, I hadn't thought of that one. I'll try that. Thanks.
  21. JennySuzuki


    Dec 18, 2013
    CDs are not considered an archival medium, because the average life of the data stored on them is 5 years. They do degrade over time.

    Reference. (This reference is specifically about recordable CDs with data, which is slightly different from a professionally produced music CD, but you should still not expect your music CDs from 20 years ago to be stable products).