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Disc cleaner advice wanted
LazLong
post Mar 18 2014, 06:04
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I'm looking some suggestions for disc cleaning paraphernalia. To be clear, cleaning, not scratch repairing. I've been using a the discontinued Kensington Media Guardian CD Cleaner for 10+ years and have finally run out of refills for the cleaning disc. http://r.ebay.com/mLww60 I'll probably pick up the few that are available on eBay, but am looking for a replacement.

So, what do you people use to clean your discs?

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AndyH-ha
post Mar 18 2014, 06:56
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I spray enough kitchen counter cleaner spray on the read surface to wet it. (detergent spray is about 25 cents per gallon, by buying the concentrate at the grocery store and mixing my own, and putting it in my own spray bottle, but you can pay more if it makes you feel better).

Then I add one to two drops of hand dishwashing detergent. I like it pre diluted by 50% or more so it spreads very easily over the pre-wetted surface. I keep this mixture in an easy to use dispenser bottle.

Then I use one or two fingers, moving from rim to center in an advancing spiral, going around the entire disk face several times.

Then I rinse under the faucet, continuing wiping with fingers in a much looser spiral until I can feel that all the detergent is gone.

I spread a clean cotton terry towel on the table for drying. The disk is laid on the towel, more towel is folded over it. I press with moving fingers in such as way as to distribute mild pressure over the entire disk but not rub the towel against it.

Disk is now very clean.
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Porcus
post Mar 18 2014, 09:29
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Cloth: the same as you would use for (plastic light-weight) glasses.


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hlloyge
post Mar 18 2014, 14:13
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My t-shirt, if very dirty, kitchen detergent and paper towel. Never had any problems. I didn't use CDs for years now, though... smile.gif
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mzil
post Mar 18 2014, 16:17
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Discs should never be cleaned, unless there is a playback issue and after you visually inspect them and notice a smudge or grime.

What cleaning compound I would reach for would be dependent on what I thought the smudge was made of. At times I would use liquid soap, ideally without surfactants, isopropyl alcohol, or glass cleaner such as Windex/ammonia. I guess a cotton ball would do but ideally I'd use a plush microfiber cleaning cloth and ONLY wipe the disc from the center spindle area outward, like the spokes of a wheel. This is because if there are small particles which will scratch the surface when wiped off you want those scratches to be radial. A radial scratch obscures the least amount of data as the laser scans the surface [which the error correction hopefully can deal with], whereas scratches which run parallel to the "grooves" obscure large swathes of data, not just a tiny tick.


This post has been edited by mzil: Mar 18 2014, 16:53
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Porcus
post Mar 18 2014, 16:21
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QUOTE (mzil @ Mar 18 2014, 16:17) *
and ONLY wipe the disc from the center spindle area outward, like the spokes of a wheel.


Good point. Repeated so many times twenty years ago that I even forget to mention it.


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LazLong
post Mar 19 2014, 05:30
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QUOTE (mzil @ Mar 18 2014, 07:17) *
Discs should never be cleaned, unless there is a playback issue and after you visually inspect them and notice a smudge or grime.
What cleaning compound I would reach for would be dependent on what I thought the smudge was made of. At times I would use liquid soap, ideally without surfactants, isopropyl alcohol, or glass cleaner such as Windex/ammonia.


I'm curious as to why you dislike isopropyl alcohol? In my experience it is what is used in most commercial disc cleaning solutions as it is able to dissolve non-polar contaminants such as oils and greases and is chemically compatible with polycarbonate. Not trolling, just would like to know if there is something I'm missing out on.

Even though I've only encountered this with pirate discs from the '90s, I avoid using water in the fear that the disc may not be properly sealed. While aluminum is fairly corrosion-resistant, it does depend upon the mineral makeup of the water.

I'm surprised that so far everyone has only shown a preference for manual cleaning. I expected there to be a preference for some form of mechanical method or other. But I guess discs are handled much less frequently than they used to be as those who still buy them probably rip them and put them away (as I try to do).
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Glenn Gundlach
post Mar 19 2014, 05:51
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I clean them the same way I clean front surface mirrors. Soap and water. The more important question is, why do they need cleaning? I have discs played often that have never been cleaned because they don't need it.

G
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mzil
post Mar 19 2014, 06:03
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QUOTE (LazLong @ Mar 18 2014, 21:30) *
QUOTE (mzil @ Mar 18 2014, 07:17) *
Discs should never be cleaned, unless there is a playback issue and after you visually inspect them and notice a smudge or grime.
What cleaning compound I would reach for would be dependent on what I thought the smudge was made of. At times I would use liquid soap, ideally without surfactants, isopropyl alcohol, or glass cleaner such as Windex/ammonia.


I'm curious as to why you dislike isopropyl alcohol?

I wasn't clear so I'll re-punctuate it:

What cleaning compound I would reach for would be dependent on what I thought the smudge was made of. At times I would use liquid soap (ideally without surfactants), isopropyl alcohol, or glass cleaner such as Windex/ammonia.

Isopropyl alcohol should not be used on CD-R/RW if one has written on them with a pen such as a Sharpie unless you are very careful not to let any get onto the labeled side. It will dissolve/smear the ink. [Not sure about ammonia]

This post has been edited by mzil: Mar 19 2014, 06:14
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LazLong
post Mar 19 2014, 06:07
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QUOTE (Glenn Gundlach @ Mar 18 2014, 20:51) *
I clean them the same way I clean front surface mirrors. Soap and water. The more important question is, why do they need cleaning? I have discs played often that have never been cleaned because they don't need it.

G


Because I have a ten year-old who likes to go through my discs. dry.gif
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mzil
post Mar 19 2014, 06:12
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Teach the kid the proper way to hold a disc. Even though their hand may not span the full diameter, CDs can be held with two fingers clamping the outer rim and the center hole.

This post has been edited by mzil: Mar 19 2014, 06:13
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pdq
post Mar 19 2014, 13:17
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QUOTE (mzil @ Mar 19 2014, 00:03) *
At times I would use liquid soap (ideally without surfactants), isopropyl alcohol, or glass cleaner such as Windex/ammonia.

This is a contradiction. Not all surfactants are soaps, but ALL soaps are surfactants.
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mzil
post Mar 19 2014, 16:58
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Oops, I meant I would avoid liquid soap/detergent based cleaners/formulations which include cationic surfactants, sometimes sought in record cleaning formulations, for example, and said to reduce static.

This post has been edited by mzil: Mar 19 2014, 17:07
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AndyH-ha
post Mar 19 2014, 21:38
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There are now hundreds, maybe thousands, of detergents. Today they have many uses besides cleaning but they were first developed through research in overcoming the deficiencies of soap. Soap is not nearly so good at carrying away very fine particles and it has a considerable tendency to leave a chemical film behind (e.g. the soap scum that has spawned an entire catagory of cleaners to keep the glass, tile, and metal in your shower clean). I can't think of any reason one would want to use soap rather than a detergent on CDs.
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pdq
post Mar 19 2014, 22:23
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Many people use the terms soap and detergent interchangeably.

Historically, soap is what you get when you treat fat or oil with strong alkalai. It is the alkalai metal (sodium or potassium) salt of a mixture of fatty acids (aka carboxylic acids). The presence of alkaline earth ions (calcium and magnesium) converts them to the alkaline earth salts, which are much less soluble in water, ergo soap scum.

If instead the carboxylic acids are converted to the corresponding sulfonic acids then the alkaline earth salts are much less insoluble, largely eliminating soap scum.

If you really want to take no chances on leaving a residue then you should instead use one of the many non-ionic surfactants. A good example is Kodak's photo flo wetting agent, used to rinse slides and negatives before drying.
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DVDdoug
post Mar 20 2014, 00:06
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QUOTE
I'm surprised that so far everyone has only shown a preference for manual cleaning. I expected there to be a preference for some form of mechanical method or other.
I clean discs so infrequently (usually with glass cleaner) that it's easy enough and I've never considered looking for a machine. (I do have a polishing machine, but I don't think it's ever helped with damaged/defective discs so I haven't used it for a long time.... I think there are cleaning pads & solution for the machine, but I've only used it for polishing.)

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Mar 20 2014, 00:07
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LazLong
post Mar 20 2014, 02:21
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QUOTE (mzil @ Mar 18 2014, 21:12) *
Teach the kid the proper way to hold a disc. Even though their hand may not span the full diameter, CDs can be held with two fingers clamping the outer rim and the center hole.



I have taught him the spindle-edge Vulcan death grip. I just haven't beaten him enough so that he is mindful and careful all of the time. tongue.gif

I should have also stated that of my 1200+ discs, I am certain more than half were bought used, and they seem to more often than not come with fingerprints and smudges.
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Glenn Gundlach
post Mar 20 2014, 04:35
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I've gotten a couple of used discs that were pretty bad. I run the water as hot as I can take, get water and a little dish detergent on the disc and use the other palm to rub the play side disc. Rinse and put label side up on a cloth or paper towel. This really is the way I clean front surface mirrors for the telecine I maintain.

G
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mzil
post Mar 20 2014, 04:55
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If I ever had a large quantity to clean, I would definitely only use cleaning machines which stroke the disc surface the correct way, as I mentioned, like the spokes of a wheel and never circularly as if one was buffing a car. Here's an inexpensive one that wipes the surface correctly, for example:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Digital-Innovati...System/11078700 [I'd probably ignore the supplied fluid and make my own, though.]

edit: Oops, I see this is actually a "repair system", not a cleaner. But I'd still look for this sort of design, in fact this device may work perfectly well as just a cleaner, with the correct fluid being used.

This post has been edited by mzil: Mar 20 2014, 05:15
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AndyH-ha
post Mar 20 2014, 13:51
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If anyone ignorant of the Skip Doctor is considering it, it might help to be aware that fluid is not the major aspect of its mechanism. The fluid it uses (alcohol) has the same purpose as cutting oil in a drilling or grinding process. It uses an abrasive belt to polish the disk surface, rather like a belt sander. Then you need to scrub off the debris of the grinding process.
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mzil
post Mar 20 2014, 16:37
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I've never used one of these Skip Doctors but I knew there were CD cleaning machines which wipe the surface in the only directional manner I deem acceptable, and in doing a Google Image search for one, that gizmo was the first such design to catch my eye. As it turns out, I was wrong. It isn't a cleaner; it is a repair system. If anyone knows of a cleaner which wipes in this manner, please speak up.

This post has been edited by mzil: Mar 20 2014, 16:47
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AndyH-ha
post Mar 20 2014, 22:04
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Back when I first started buying CDs (mostly used) I got an Allsop 3, which does with a pad pretty much the same thing I described doing with the first pad of my finger. Being larger than a finger (or two fingers) it may be more efficient but I don't think it did anything better. It used a highly volatile solvent, which didn't smell like isopropyl, but alcohol worked the same way.

It used sticky backed fabric cleaning rings, which absorbed the dirt and thus had to be peeled off and replaced every once in awhile. I didn't consider it worth the cost to buy those replacement pads so I stopped using it after awhile. It was probably a bit faster because it had no rinse and dry steps, but I don't find any deficiency with my present manual method. I don't know if such thing are still manufactured today.
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