Obviously if you found this article you are probably wondering about how DVDs do in water. Whether or not DVDs are waterproof is debatable at best. It is important to remember that prevention is always better than cure. Even though there is no problem which cannot be solved with enough time and effort it is much better to avoid the problem in the first place. By avoiding getting your DVDs wet you are avoiding possible problems that the water could create.
Although getting a DVD wet will probably not cause any major issues besides damaging the label, getting one wet could likely bring other issues that come along with the water. Dipping DVDs in water quickly to clean them will not harm the playing side of the disc but if you don’t get the disc dried off properly then you will have to deal with mold and mildew which are virtually impossible to remove. Many people will also use a rough rag to dry off the disc that is wet which will in turn scratch up the playing side.
If you have a DVD that is dirty or has a bunch of fingerprints, smudges, etc on it then using water and a microfiber cloth to clean it will not harm the disc's usability. Allowing the disc to properly dry is important because as mentioned above excess moisture can lead to the DVD getting mold or mildew on it. If you dry off the DVD that was wet and then just leave it exposed to the air for a few minutes then the disc should be fine.
If you find yourself with some DVDs that have been sitting in water or near water for a while there are some things that you can do to try and fix those DVDs and make them usable again. We will discuss this in the next section.
Ways to repair water damaged CDs and DVDs:
The following are some different ways to repair your discs from getting permanently damaged due to being exposed to water for a long time. One of the following ideas should work for you and be able to fix your discs.
10. Use a disc repair kit or machine
Many of you, of course, may not have access to one, but if you don’t there are other steps below that you can try. There are a variety of different disc repair machines and kits that you can buy or use. They can range in price from a few dollars all the way up to tens of thousands of dollars for professional machines.
Most disc repair or cleaning machines will have you spray a solution onto the disc and then place the disc inside the machine. The machine will buff the playing side of the disc at high speeds removing all of the mold, mildew, or water spots/damage allowing the disc to play like new again.
If you don’t have enough DVDs to make purchasing a cleaner or repair kit/machine a good option then you can often find places locally that will clean DVDs for a small fee. Many places will charge a dollar or two per disc and many libraries and DVD rental stores will have that as an option.
2. Clean the DVD manually
This is by far the cheapest option and the one that most people should try first. If you discover that you have some DVDs that have been damaged by water or the mildew that water brings then manually cleaning the discs is a good thing to try.
To clean the disc just use a gentle soap along with warm water and a soft cloth. Wet the cloth and gently rub the parts of the disc that are damaged or dirty. Make sure the cloth you are using is extremely soft as you can easily damage the disc if you are using a normal towel or washcloth.
Use the soap and water on both the playing side and the label side if there is damage to both. You will likely damage the label but it is better to have half of a label left than to continue to deal with mold or mildew in the future.
3. Have your disc resurfaced:
This is the ultimate repair method that you could use. It, however, is a bit more expensive than the methods mentioned above and is really only good as a last resort. You now need to take your DVDs to any disc shop and ask them to resurface the disc. Many shops that specialise in DVDS and Blu-rays will have a resurfacing machine on hand. The process involves peeling away the damaged layer of the disc and revealing a layer underneath that is like new.. Now you can, of course, purchase a resurfacing machine for yourself at home, but provided you are not going to make a business from it, it would probably be a bad investment.
For most DVDs it is not worthwhile to have the discs resurfaced as normally it is more expensive than it would be to just go and buy that movie or DVD again but if the DVD has priceless memories on it or something like that then this might be a path worth pursuing.
Some other ways that DVDs get damaged
While we are at it, let us discuss what else you should do to keep your discs from being damaged. Here is a short list of things or actions that can pose potential harm to your discs.
Temperature and humidity: This is all about the environment that you keep your discs in. It is a good idea to make sure and be extra cautious as to where you are storing your discs. Too many extreme temperatures or too much humidity may cause the discs to get damaged or to even condensate which in turn will expose them to mold and mildew issues. Store your DVDs in a place where it is room temperature and the humidity stays low.
Direct sunlight: Keep in mind that the disc is not to be kept under direct sunlight for long periods. It can cause the disc to get warped and will likely cause the disc to become unreadable because of the effects of the sun. If your DVD is in a case then the sun might not cause issues for the disc but will certainly fade the artwork on the outside of the case.
Organic solutions: Strong organic solutions must be avoided and should never be used to try and clean a disc. Solutions such as Acetone and Benzene are capable of dissolving polycarbonate and will damage the disc to such an extent that it will become useless.
Magnetism, X-Rays, radiation, and so on: Keeping your discs away from these will automatically result in lesser chances of a defect in the discs. Even though radiation is not known to have any ill effects on the contents of the discs, it does discolor the disks to a certain extent.
Individual disc storage: Keep in mind that keeping the discs in individual and separate cases will help them to not get damaged. You can purchase disc cases online or offline from a variety of stores. It is normally best to keep your disc in the DVD case that it came in when you purchased it but some box sets are produced where the discs sit inside of cardboard. In instances like that it would be better for the discs to have them in a plastic case instead of constantly getting damaged by the cardboard.
Now you know what exactly you must do if your DVDs get damaged by water. You also know what else you must be aware of to protect your discs from getting damaged in other ways. Even if the disc gets damaged in some other way than water, you can often use the above repairing techniques for those repairs as well.
Whatever you do, you must remember that panicking in such situations only makes it worse so keeping a calm head is important. When you see that there are problems regarding the discs and that they may not be working properly, the first thing you must do is stay calm. Then once you figure out the problem, use the above solutions that work best in your scenerio.