Clean CD and DVD players to make them last

Want to add time to the life expectancy of your CD and DVD players? Keep the lens clean and you will. Here's how to do it:

Clean CD and DVD players to make them last

Use a cleaning CD

  • If your CD or DVD player frequently skips during playback or has difficulty reading discs, it's probably the result of a dirty lens.
  • Most of the time, you'll be able to solve the problem by using a laser-lens cleaning CD, sold by most electronics retailers.
  • Carefully follow the directions on the disc's packaging to get the best results.
  • Cleaning the lens of an optical-disc player about once a year should keep it in good working condition, although more frequent cleanings may be needed, depending on usage and the amount of dust in the environment.

Clean it manually

  • The buildup of dust on a player's lens may be so thick that it prevents the player from "seeing" the cleaning disc when it's inserted.
  • In such cases, you'll need to remove the unit's cover and manually clean the lens. Do this only with players that are no longer covered by a warranty.
  • Probing around the interior of any piece of home electronic equipment will usually void the warranty.If you're cleaning a single-disc player, leave the unit plugged in and press the Open/Close button to open the tray.
  • Then unplug the device, remove the housing screws, and slide the cover away from the front panel; you may also have to remove the front panel and tray assembly to access the lens on some units.
  • Once you've located the lens, use a soft brush — the type used for cleaning optics is best — to clear away heavy accumulations of dust.
  • Then, very gently, clean the lens with a piece of camera-lens tissue or a foam swab moistened with lens-cleaning fluid.
  • Don't use eyeglass tissue (it's too coarse) or a cotton swab, which could leave fibres behind.

No smoking

  • Smoke is harmful to most home electronic devices, and can be especially hazardous to CD and DVD players.
  • The tar and other chemicals contained in cigarette and cigar smoke adheres to circuit boards and other components and forms a sticky surface.
  • Add some dust, pet dander and other foreign particles, and you have a grimy mess capable of causing overheating and other problems.
  • Smoky conditions of any kind — including those of kitchen areas — can damage sensitive electronics.
  • Any dust or dirt that gets on the player's lens will prevent it from properly reading discs, resulting in skips and "unreadable disc" errors. Smoke residue on the lens is also difficult, if not impossible, to remove.
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