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Lens-cleaning CDs

Given the importance of keeping the lens clean on a CD drive, the availability of a CD which can clean the lens just by being put in the drive and played would seem to be a marvellous thing.

It's not. Lens-cleaning CDs don't work. Let me repeat that. Lens-cleaning CDs don't work.

I have lost count of the number of people who, after their CD player has been restored to functionality by taking it apart and wet-cleaning the lens, make some comment like "But I've been using the lens-cleaner CD in it, and you say it was a dirty lens?" Yes. It was a dirty lens. If it wasn't, cleaning the lens wouldn't have fixed it. Lens-cleaning CDs don't work.

This is a shame, because dismantling a CD drive to clean the lens is needlessly difficult due to crap design. It is also, I think you will agree, distinctly angering to think of the number of people who are conned into handing over money for these useless pieces of shit. The only good thing about lens-cleaning CDs is that they break up into very sharp fragments which cause considerable damage when inserted into a lens-cleaning-CD seller's anal orifice.

The only way to clean a CD lens is to wet-clean it with isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol, IPA, the stuff on those things they wipe your arm with before giving you an injection) which you can get from a chemist for next to nothing. Rip-off warning: Do not be tempted to buy any kind of "cleaning fluid" from a domestic electronics shop. You will end up with a minute bottle of IPA diluted with water for twice what you'd pay for 100ml of pure IPA from a chemist. And you want pure stuff, not stuff with water in. Same goes for tape head cleaner.

Dismantle the CD drive so you can get at the lens, dip one end of a cotton bud in the IPA so it is thoroughly soaked and use that to drop IPA on the lens. Then VERY GENTLY rub the surface of the lens with the cotton bud. Turn the cotton bud round and dab off the surplus liquid wuth the dry end, then leave it for half an hour or so for the remainder to thoroughly evaporate before switching it on again. If that doesn't work, either the problem was not a dirty lens, or you weren't gentle enough and fucked it.

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