Picture of Typical Data CD, MusicCD, and DVD Discs.

How to Clean a Blu Ray Disc for Best Play

We’ve played CDs and DVDs for many years, and now, we’ve gotten into the blu ray disc craze. Media discs become soiled or damaged from the same dirt sources.  These include oily fingerprints, dust, and scratches.  Further, all kinds of data discs need the same gentle cleaning.  Proper cleaning can restore them to their brand new playing condition.  Through our experiences, we’ve learned a lot about how to clean a Blu Ray disc.  So we share these tricks and tips in this post.





How to Clean a Blu Ray Disc: First Thoughts

Dirt Prevents Good Playing

Sometimes, a Blu Ray disc can get so dirty that it looks like nothing will ever restore it to even somewhat playable condition.  But do not throw it out just yet.   It’s simple to try cleaning it before you pitch it into the trash. First, you learn how to handle them safely, and which blu ray disc cleaners work well.  Then you find the polishing cloths that scratch the least.  After those lessons, you’ll clean those discs like a pro.

So do Scratches

Scratches and abrasions, the enemies of any optical disc, should be avoided. All of these are essential factors in preserving the clear, smooth surface, and thus, error free playing.  Cleaning the blu ray disc often repairs very small scratches.  This occurs via the buffing action of drying with a soft cloth, as described below.

Picture of typical media discs.
Typical optical media / data discs.

Even Little Dirt Particles and Scratches can Hurt Blu Ray Disc Playback

Given the extreme data density of Blu Ray discs especially, keeping these spotless is essential for stutter-free, skip-free playing. Indeed, a single hairline scratch can render the entire disc, or at least several minutes of the movie, unviewable. So choose the softest cleaning cloths, gentlest detergents, and purest water possible for cleaning. The cleaners that work so well with CDs and DVDs, also work on Blu Ray media discs too.

You Don’t Need a Fancy Disc Cleaner

We’ve tried the popular dry lens cleaning cloths from Bausch & Lomb, See-Clear, Kodak et al, made of thin, tissue-like paper, as well as some of the costly alcohol-based liquid lens cleaners, with limited success. We found that this cleaning duo left smears and streaks on the discs.  Further, it seemed to speed the “fogging up” of the protective clear plastic coating that covers the reflective data surface.

Then, once you’ve washed and rinsed your blu ray discs, dry them off with a microfiber cloth, intended for safely cleaning eyeglasses lenses. These are more than gentle enough for safely drying blu ray discs. Buy these soft cloths at most vision shops such as Walmart, Pearl, Lens Crafters, Sam’s Club, et al. Use this cloth, only to dry the rinsed discs; not for actual cleaning. For that, you gently rub the soaped up discs with your fingers until you’ve completely covered all playable surfaces. Avoid excessive rubbing, as this too can mar the disc surfaces.

Picture of soft Blu Ray disc cleaning cloths.
Examples of soft Blu Ray disc drying cloths.

Be sure to use a clean, soft lens cloth. Oil in the drying cloths can transfer to your washed discs as you dry them.  This creates smears, that might lower their playing performance.

These days though, blu ray disc coatings are more durable, and so, they generally last longer under normal playing conditions. But don’t think that they’re indestructible.  They’re not.  Blu ray discs are still quite delicate.  So you can scratch or destroy them if you put the wrong cleaners on them.





How to Clean a Blu Ray Disc: Suggested Cleaning Method

To sum all this up, here’s our tried-and-true procedure for how to clean a blu ray disc.

1. Apply Water

Wet the data side of the disc with clean water; ideally distilled, or preferably filtered and softened. This helps prevent suspended particles in the water from scratching the delicate disc surfaces.

2. Apply the Soap

Then, apply one or two drops of dishwashing liquid; the manual wash kind, not that for automatic dishwashers.  Avoid detergents with lotions.

3. Softly Scrub Just the Disc Data Side, with Fingers Only

Next, gently rub the disc surface with your fingers. Be careful not to press too hard, and be sure you have no callouses, scabs, dry skin, or other rough edges on your fingertips. These can mar those Blu Ray disc surfaces.

4. Clean the Label Sides if Needed to Continue with How to Clean a Blu Ray Disc

The soap on your fingers from the play side should work well to clean the label side too, if needed. But we recommend not washing the label side unless it truly is dirty because the inks and paints on older discs especially, might come off when wetted and rubbed.

5. Rinse Soap Off

Rinse the disc under warm, running water until your fingers squeak when run across it.

6. Dry the Blu Ray Disc

Then, use the anti reflective lens cloths mentioned above to completely dry the disc to a vivid luster.





How to Clean a Blu Ray Disc: Preventative Tips and Advice

Keep the Blu Ray Disc Clean to Start With

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So to preserve peak performance, avoid getting the disc very dirty in the first place. Or at least, minimize how dirty you let it get. Avoid solvents like turpentine or citrus-based cleaners, or any harsh chemicals, as these can quickly obliterate the micro thin plastic.

Never Leave a Blu Ray Disc Outside its Case

Avoid handling the discs more than necessary to play them. And, when you do handle them, carry them by the edges. Do not grasp them via their flat surfaces. This limits the need to ever clean handprints from them.

Wash your Hands Before Handling a Blu Ray Disc

True, some body oil will most always appear on often-handled discs. But keep in mind. Even when you use the method above, don’t go overboard cleaning your discs.  Why not?  Cleaning the disc stress the plastic covering over the data area. Indeed, too much cleaning can damages it. So, store your discs such that you must clean them as little as possible.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Abrasive Solvents

Harsh cleaning agents include cleansers, polishes, waxes. ammonia, or bleach based cleaners.  These can soften or strip away the thin protective layer on a blu ray disc. So again, you want just a basic dishwashing-by-hand liquid with preferably no extra chemicals besides the soap.

The same goes for consumer-grade disc cleaning machines. We’ve found these crank style cleaning mechanisms to leave hair-line scratches on discs. These scratches become more visible with repeated machine cleanings. So we suggest you avoid these.

Use Only Gentle, Low Residue Soaps

Why spend gobs of money on dedicated blu ray disc cleaners and wipes? Indeed, many experts agree.  To extend disc life, the best cleaning agent is a lotion-free, mild and non abrasive dishwashing liquid.  We use Great Value, Dawn, Joy, or Ajax.

Further, the best drying cloth is a reusable microfiber eyeglasses cleaning wipe. You might need to dilute the thicker soap liquids to thin them down.  So try mixing one part water with one part of dish soap to start.  Then, adjust your formula depending on how thick you want it.

Use Quickly Rinsed Soaps Only

You want the solution thin enough that it can easily be spread with the fingers over the entire disc surfaces. But avoid those dish soaps that have moisteners, oils, and lanolin, as these agents can leave smears on a blu ray disc that not even the lens cleaning cloths can get out. Such smears can degrade how well the disc plays. So use perfume-free dish soaps to further reduce deposits left behind after cleaning.

Periodically Wash the Disc Drying Cloths

We have many of these velvety feeling cloths on our blu ray shelf, and we wash them along with our color laundry.  Wash them in fabric softener-free, scent free laundry detergent.  Avoid drying them with fabric softener as well.





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  4. How to Stop a DVD from Skipping
  5. How to Clean an Electric Kettle Safely

References for How to Clean a Blu Ray Disc

  1. Blu Ray Disc    on Wikipedia

Revision History

  • 2020-12-14: First published.
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