How to Clean DVDs, Blu-rays and Video Games

Remove Dirt and Fingerprints from DVDs, Blu-rays and Video Games

How to Clean DVDs. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

Have a DVD, Blu-ray disc or video game that's too fingerprinted or dirty to play? Don't be too quick to toss it out! These simple instructions for cleaning DVDs and CDs should get it back on your play list:

What You Need:

  • White vinegar
  • 2 soft, clean cloths (microfiber or flannel works well)

What You Do:

1. Hold the DVD or CD by the edges or by placing your finger through the center hole.

2. Then, wipe the disc with a cloth that has been dampened with vinegar.

To avoid doing damage to the disc, start at the center and wipe straight out to the edge of the disc.

3. Rotate the disc, and continue wiping in this manner until you've worked your way all the way around the disc.

4. Wipe the DVD or CD off with a dry cloth, and allow it to dry completely.

5.Then, pop it in your player, and enjoy.

Why This Works:

The acetic acid in vinegar cuts through the oils left behind by your fingers, as well as any other dirt and grime that may be on the disc.

Tips and Warnings

1) Avoid wiping discs in a circular motion.

2) Store discs in their cases when not in use, to avoid future damage.

If Your Disc Still Won't Play After You've Cleaned It ...

Check to see if the disc has any deep scratches that you've overlooked. These can often be repaired with a bottle of scratch remover. Just rub the scratch remover solution into the scratch, and wipe off the excess. One bottle is good for at least 100 discs, so if you have kids who are rough on their movies and video games, it's definitely money well spent.

Buy a Scratch Remover Kit on Amazon

If you don't see any scratches on the disc, the problem could be a dirty DVD/Blu-ray/video game player, and not a dirty disc. Spend a few bucks on a laser lens cleaner. It's a disc with little built-in brushes that you pop in your player. As it "plays", it cleans the laser that's responsible for reading your discs.

Buy a CD/DVD/Blu-ray Lens Cleaner on Amazon

Still no luck after cleaning your disc and player? Don't throw that disc out just yet. Most movies can now be converted to digital format. Use a service like Vudu or Flixster to turn that scratched movie into a digital copy that's stored on the cloud, and you'll be able to watch it anywhere, on any device -- your computer, your smartphone your tablet, or even your TV. Expect to pay a few dollars for each conversion, unless your DVD came with UltraViolet (that's means there's already a free digital copy waiting for you.