How to Clean the Laser Pickup Lens on your DVD Player

by David Lipscomb

The lens on your DVD player's laser pickup is the key to reliable and accurate reading of the data on the disc. Dirty laser lenses create skips, visual block-like errors and failure to read the disc at all in extreme cases. Although you could just slap a DVD laser lens cleaner into the tray and let it do its thing, this only removes loose dust and has the potential of knocking the lens out of alignment. A few minutes with some household products gets your DVD player back on your rack, providing hours of entertainment.


Unplug the DVD player. Set it on a well-lit and firm surface, such as a kitchen countertop or workbench.


Remove the screws holding the upper portion of the player's casing. There are normally two screws on each side with two or more smaller screws on the rear. Do not remove any screws near any jacks or by the power plug.


Blow out any loose contamination on the lens and in the rest of the player, using a can of compressed air. Make sure to hold the can upright at all times to avoid blowing liquid propellant into the chassis.


Locate the player's laser lens near the center of the unit. The lens looks like a small plastic or glass bubble.


Dip your swab into the isopropyl alcohol. Gently swipe the tip over the lens, turning the swab with each pass to avoid grinding contaminants into the lens.


Allow a few seconds for the alcohol to dry. Carefully examine the lens for haze or loose material you may have missed. Perform another pass with compressed air to dry the lens.


Put the cover back on the unit, plug in and test for improved disc reading performance.


  • check If you are not comfortable disassembling your DVD player, you may also purchase a commercial lens cleaning kit, and follow the product's instructions.


  • close Removing the top cover of a unit still in warranty may void the warranty. Bring the unit into an authorized repair facility to keep your coverage intact.
  • close Never use a dry swab on a lens. In addition to potentially scratching the optics, you run the risk of leaving cotton filaments or foam particles behind, causing read errors.

Items you will need

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

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