How to clean a CD player: 11 steps (with pictures)

How to clean a CD player: 11 steps (with pictures)
How to clean a CD player: 11 steps (with pictures)

A dirty CD player can cause poor sound quality and read errors. Test your drive with different discs to make sure the problem is with the drive and not with a damaged CD. If your Windows computer can no longer read CDs, you may have a problem with your software and not a dirty drive.


Method 1 of 2: Clean a CD drive

Clean a CD Player Step 1

Step 1. Make sure there are no more CDs in the drive

If the CD drive loads through a tray, open it and unplug the power cable without turning off the power button. This will keep the tray open and therefore access the slot.

Clean a CD Player Step 2

Step 2. Blow out the dust with a pocket air bulb

These rubber bulbs are sold for blowing dust in places where you store your cameras or jewelry equipment. Squeeze the bulb to gently pull dust out of the slot and / or tray.

A box of compressed air is a risky alternative. Use only brief explosions to avoid excessive force and make sure the sprayer is completely dry. Some brands spray a little liquid with the air, which can destroy your meter

Clean a CD Player Step 3

Step 3. Remove the lens cover

Assuming the dust blower didn't fix the problem, it's time to get to the lens. If you do not have an instant portable player, you must first unscrew the outer casing of the device. Once you have access to the tray that holds the CD, look for the small sockets or screws that hold the plastic cover to the lens. Remove the screws or gently press down on the sockets with a small screwdriver. You should see a small circular lens on one side of the pin, similar in size to the camera on a phone.

This will likely void your warranty

Clean a CD Player Step 4

Step 4. Select a lint-free cleaner

A clean microfiber cloth is the ideal choice. You can buy them in electronics stores or from eyewear manufacturers. Special swabs for cleaning electronic devices will also work.

Use cotton swabs as a last resort only. Although they work well, you also risk scratching the lens

Clean a CD Player Step 5

Step 5. Run a small amount of isopropyl alcohol over the lens

Use high strength isopropyl alcohol with a concentration of at least 91% (and ideally a "reactive grade" of 99.9%). More diluted alcohol may leave a haze on the lens. Lightly dampen the fabric, without soaking it. Gently rub the cloth over the lens. Keep rubbing it until the center of the lens is shiny and has a bluish tint. A small mist around the perimeter is usually not a problem.

  • You can use lens cleaning solution, not alcohol. In rare cases, you will need deionized water to remove the sugar-based residue.
  • Deep scratches on the lens could render it unusable. If the scratches are barely visible, they are unlikely to be a problem.
Clean a CD Player Step 6

Step 6. Let dry before replacing the cover

Wait a few minutes to avoid trapping the alcoholic solution inside the mechanism. In the meantime, you can use the air bulb again to blow the dust from inside the mechanism.

Avoid overtightening the screws, which may break the plastic case

Clean a CD Player Step 7

Step 7. Try a lens cleaning disc

These discs lightly brush the CD player, removing dust. In most cases, a cleaning disc is less effective than the methods presented above, and a poor quality disc might even cause more damage. Try this if no other method works, or skip to the next step if you want to try more complex methods. Cleaning discs usually play automatically when you insert them, but check the product instructions first.

  • Do not use a cleaning disc on different CD or DVD drives. Cleaning discs designed for CD players will scratch a DVD player.
  • Check the product instructions, especially warnings before use. Some discs are not compatible with all devices.
Clean a CD Player Step 8

Step 8. Consider more extensive repairs

If your CD player is still not working, you can try to disassemble it some more and examine other parts. This is quite difficult and may require your device manual. If you are patient and have basic mechanics, follow the tips below.

  • Slowly turn the player upside down while looking at the lens. The lens should move up and down smoothly, without sticking or tilting. If it doesn't move properly, you may need to completely replace the optical sensor (or just buy a new CD drive).
  • Carefully remove the components around the lens, if possible. If you can access the rotating mirror (a small piece of glass), clean it the same way you cleaned the lens.
  • Look for a plastic gear wheel attached to the laser mechanism. Slowly turn it with a swab and look for moving parts. If any of them seem dirty or sticky, wipe them off with alcohol, then apply a thin coat of light lubricant suitable for electronic devices.

Method 2 of 2: Troubleshoot a Windows CD drive

Clean a CD Player Step 9

Step 1. Update your player's firmware

You may need to update your firmware to fix a bug or to allow your computer to read new types of discs. If you know the manufacturer of your player, go to their website and download the latest update. If you don't know the manufacturer, find it using one of the following methods.

  • Look for a number printed on the front of your reader.
  • Find an encrypted code on the drive, then search the FCC database for it.
  • Open Device Manager and double-click on the entry under "DVD / CD-ROM drives." "
Clean a CD Player Step 10

Step 2. Use the built-in troubleshooter

With Windows 7 and later, your computer may try to automatically fix problems.

  • Open the control panel.
  • Type "troubleshooting" into the search bar in the control panel. Click on Repair when it appears in the results.
  • Look under Hardware and sound and click on Configure a device. Select your CD drive and follow the on-screen instructions.
Clean a CD Player Step 11

Step 3. Reinstall the drive

Open Device Manager and look at the entries under DVD / CD-ROM drives. Right-click on these device names and select Uninstall. Restart the computer to reinstall them. It will work best if the name contains an X or an exclamation point.

If you cannot find a drive, the drive cables are likely disconnected or the drive is broken and needs to be replaced


  • If you are using a cotton swab, insert it with a clean or gloved hand. There should be no cotton strip on the lens.
  • If your player still does not work, take it to a repair shop or buy a new one. Don't tamper with the electrical system if you don't know what you are doing.


  • Never put your hands in an appliance plugged into the socket! Even skilled technicians don't if they can avoid it.
  • Smoke residue can dramatically shorten the life of your CD player. Do not smoke in the same room as your player if possible.
  • There is a very small risk that a malfunction could turn on the laser while the reader is open and damage your eyes when pointing in their direction (and even in the event that this happens, you should have your eye very close to the reader. laser or fix it for a long time). If you want to avoid any risk, place a piece of paper over the lens in a dark room. If the laser is on, you will see a small red dot on your sheet of paper.

Popular by topic