18th Feb 2004

Cleaning and Careing for your DVD’s

Okay, we have all enjoyed watching movies on DVD! Yet, just like every other electronics device that you own, it must be cared for and maintained if you want it to last.
Therefore, we felt it was time to provide a little article on how to care for those DVD’s that have brought you so much entertainment. Sorry folks, but it’s time to clean!

The Basics of Caring for Your DVD

In a perfect world, we could just drive our cars, play our stereos, live in our homes and never have to worry about cleaning or maintenance. Yet, this is not a perfect world and we need to care for things if we want them to last. DVD’s are no exception.

Yes DVD’s are laser read, which can make them somewhat durable to things like dust, dirt, scratches and fingerprints. Yet, this is only to a certain extent, and some scratches and contaminants can cause damage to the data on the disc. Listed below are some basic rules or tips to follow if you want your DVD titles to last.

These are our Tender Loving Care Tips, for DVD:

  1. Avoid touching the shiny part of the DVD: Only pick up the disc holding the middle hole and/ or the outer edge of the DVD (see the image to the right).
  2. When you are not using the DVD, keep it in a case: Try to fight the temptation to leave them lying unprotected on the table or on top of the DVD Player (or PC). The disc came with a cover for a reason.
  3. Its playback features may be flexible, but the disc isn’t: Do not bend in any way.
  4. DVD’s are shiny enough, so they don’t need a tan: Keep them away from direct sunlight or excessive heat.
  5. Look out for other sources of damage: Keep discs away from very young children, pets, and anything else that could cause them damage. The Cleaning Steps Okay, so you followed the care tips but still something happened to one of your DVD’s.

What now?

Here are some cleaning tips that should help you out:

  1. Never use STRONG cleaning agents: Stay away from using cleaners with things like acids, solvents or abrasives.
  2. If you are going to clean, be GENTLE: Use a soft cloth (that is damp, not wet) and lightly wipe the surface area of the disc from the center section outwards (see the image on to the left)). DO NOT wipe in a circular motion because data is recorded on the DVD in a circular fashion, and thus cleaning in this way could cause small scratches. This may cause errors on the disc.
  3. For more difficult to clean projects, use water and mild soap: This is for situations where the above-mentioned techniques do not work. Use water and a little bit of mild soap, let it sit for a minute, and then wipe off.
  4. If this still doesn’t work, try commercial products: There are several different DVD cleaning agents on the market that you can use (such as DVD Quickshield). As a note, it is also possible to use cleaning agents set for Compact Discs (CD). They will work just as well!

How About Those Nasty Scratches

Now cleaning your DVD is one thing, but scratches can be quit another. Of course you hope this never happens to your DVD’s, but sometimes things happen (even if you follow the Tender Loving Care Tips). Relatively minor scratches that cause only small amounts of damage to the data channel are easily corrected. DVD’s have a method of dealing with scratches up to six millimeters in length, without the loss of data. Yet still, DVD’s are more sensitive to scratches than CD’s do to the fact that its data density is around four times that of a CD. So the phrase is “BE CAREFUL”. Some scratches can cause damage that is not possible to fix and can ruin your DVD. For those that can be repaired, there are two main methods:

  1. Using an optical material you can fill in or cover over the scratch.
  2. Using a nonabrasive polish, you can smooth down the scratch. There are several products available to assist you in both these efforts.

Will Damaged Discs affect my DVD Player or DVD-ROM Drive?

Now the best rule of thumb here is to make sure that your DVD’s are well maintained, and thus you will avoid any problems with your DVD playback device. Never attempt to play a DVD that is cracked, for it will surely damage your device.

In general a disc with scratches or dirt will not damage your DVD device, as long as is not too serious. In some cases, where there are large amounts of dirt on the disc, this can affect the lens. In these cases you can be sure that your device will need some repair!

Conclusion

The easiest way to assure you do not have any problems with your DVD’s and DVD playback device, is to care for the discs and to keep them scratch free.

However, I know bad things can and do happen. In these cases follow the procedures mentioned to clean your discs and repair scratches. If the situation gets really bad it might be best to take it to an expert, and have them look at.

No sense making a bad situation worse! DVD’s are a great technology and beat any other movie viewing technology out there today. Still, they need to be cared for, so just follow the simple tips and spend the rest of your time enjoying all that DVD has to offer

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