How to Clean My CD Player
By Josh Fredman
If your CD player starts skipping around or missing some tracks entirely, the culprit is a probably a dirty lens head. With front-loaded CD exchangers you can't get to the head without disassembling the entire unit. Fortunately, you can send a cleaning disc inside to do your work for you. You can make one yourself, so there's no need to buy commercially. You should also clean the front of the CD player, as dirt gets inside not just from the discs themselves but from collecting on the front of the player and being pushed inside over time.
Cleaning the Front Housing
Remove the CD, if any, and power off the stereo system.
Spray compressed air across the front of the CD player with a concentrated burst on the CD opening. Hold the can at an oblique angle so that any dust blows off to the side rather than into the slit.
Dampen a clean washcloth and clean the CD opening slit and surrounding area to remove any grime that doesn't blow off.
Cleaning the Lens Head
Take a lint-free, non-scratch wipe and cut two strips 1/4 of an inch in length. Make them about 1/8 of an inch longer than the distance between the outer and inner edges of a CD.
Take a blank CD or one that you don't mind losing. Make sure that it's clean and in good condition. On the active, shiny side of the CD draw a thin line of adhesive with your superglue pen from the outer edge of the CD to the inner edge. Do the same thing on the other side so that your CD looks like it's divided in half by superglue.
Apply the pads to the superglue and allow the glue to set. Place the pads carefully so that loose material remains on all four sides. These flaps will brush over the lens head of the laser, performing the actual cleaning.
Power up the CD player and insert the cleaning disc. The player should spin it around a few times and eject it. Repeat this process two or three more times. Optionally, you can then lightly dampen the pads with isopropyl alcohol or an optical lens cleaner and repeat the process. If you do this, allow the system an hour to dry.
Josh Fredman is a freelance pen-for-hire and Web developer living in Seattle. He attended the University of Washington, studying engineering, and worked in logistics, health care and newspapers before deciding to go to work for himself.