Best way to clean CDs?

Since vinyl cleaning seems to have inspired a few threads recently, how about some thoughts on cleaning little silver discs?

When I bought my first few s/h CDs in the early 90s, I was amazed how many people seemed to have been playing their CDs whilst eating a KFC takeaway. I used washing-up liquid and cleaned them by hand, rubbing radially, of course. The surface always ended up very squeaky clean which was pleasing and the rinsing water fell off it nicely, leaving it almost perfectly dry. A very gentle blot with kitchen towel - my word, that stuff can scratch if you’re not careful - and you could usually get them looking rather good.

More recently, I’ve discovered Russ Andrews’ Reveel wipes which do at least as good a job, and are particularly good at making skippy discs playable. Same technique, but you don’t get soap suds from the wipes.

Apparently, mould-release agent is used in manufacturing CDs (and vinyl too?) and cleaning it off can be a) tricky but b) beneficial. On the other hand, there seem to be a few people who argue against cleaning CDs at all ever, unless some clumsy oaf has made them visibly dirty, of course.

What have you tried for cleaning CDs? Would you recommend it?


I just use normal window cleaning spray on some soft kitchen towel, seems to do the trick.

I am just careful how I look after them. I regard the playing surface as delecate as an LP. Not so but anything which causes the player error correction mechanism to work more then it needs to can’t help.
We are supposed to the clean the disc from centre hole to the edge. Same as the lazer plays it.
Any residual dust I just wipe it across my sleeve gently.
If I somtimes forget to put the puck on my CD555 it will usually let me know with an unpleasant mechanical whirring noise. On one occasion the CD took off and was badly sratched by the metal ring on which the disc sits. Unplayable Had to buy a new one.

Agree,they should be cleaned from centre to outer,I too put a disc in once without the puk,
it actually played,I only noticed 30secs later,when I saw it on the shelf ! But no damage done .

You were doing it right in the early 90s…tepid water, spot of washing up liquid, soft cloth and pat dry. No magic wipes, lotions or potions needed.

A thing to remember, if you are trying to clean off an error spot, is that CDs work the opposite way round to LPs, so the first track is in the centre and the last track is at the edge. Holding it just so in a string light will often point you to where the problem may be.



Indeed - in strong sunlight with some discs, I’m fairly sure I can make out what look like track divisions (like on an LP, but less obvious, obviously).

Anyone know anything about the use of mould release agent? Is it prevalent in CD manufacture?


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