Skip to main content

How to Clean CDs

Salvage scratched CDs with common household items to breathe new life into your music collection.


  • Step 1: Remove dust Use a blast of canned air or a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dust clinging to the CD.
  • TIP: Work in straight lines from the center toward the edge. Circular motions can scratch the CD and disrupt playback.
  • Step 2: Clean with alcohol Mix one part rubbing alcohol with one part distilled water. Dip a clean, soft, lint-free cloth into the mixture and clean the disc from the center toward outer edge.
  • TIP: Use a small amount of dish detergent mixed with water if your CD is sticky from spilled food or beverages.
  • Step 3: Polish with toothpaste Dab some toothpaste onto a cotton swab and rub it gently into the scratches until they fade and disappear.
  • Step 4: Wash the CD Rinse the CD under running water.
  • Step 5: Dry the CD Dry the CD carefully, from the center outward with a dry, soft, lint-free cloth.
  • Step 6: Test the CD Insert the disc into a player to test your handiwork. If the disc still skips, look again for scratches and repeat the process until your disc plays like new.
  • FACT: The CD was invented in 1980 and the first CD player hit the commercial market in 1982.

You Will Need

  • Canned air
  • Soft lint-free cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Distilled water
  • Toothpaste
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dish detergent (optional)

Popular Categories