How to Clean A DVD-RW Drive

Updated February 21, 2017

DVD-RW drives are installed in computers and DVD recorders for burning multimedia discs. The drive utilises a focused laser, both to record and play back the data encoded on the disc. The laser lens can accumulate dust and dirt over time, interfering with its ability to read the information on the disc. This results in choppy playback and may make it difficult to record clean content on the DVD. A variety of lens cleaning products are available to solve this problem.

Open the DVD-RW drive by pressing the "Eject" or "Open" button on the computer or DVD recorder. This will extend the tray.

Spray short, controlled bursts of compressed air into the drive while holding the can as vertical as possible. Compressed air under pressure is lower than room temperature, which can produce trace amounts of condensation during long blasts of air.

Place a laser lens cleaning disc in the computer or DVD player media tray and press the "Close" button. Popular brands of lens cleaner include Memorex, Maxell and Allsop.

Press "Play" on the component to start the cleaning cycle. Some disc cleaners comes with several options that can be accessed using the up and down arrows on a remote control or highlighting and selecting with a computer mouse. The cleaning cycle typically takes less than five minutes.

Remove the cleaning disc, replace with a recorded DVD and test playback. If you haven't cleaned the drive for some time you may have to repeat the process.


Only open the DVD-RW drive while inserting or extracting discs. Leaving the tray open for prolonged periods is an invitation to attract dust. Clean the drive after every 40 hours of operation.


Do not apply any liquid cleaning products to any part of the drive mechanism or allow liquids inside the computer.

Things You'll Need

  • Can of compressed air
  • Laser lens cleaning disc
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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.