CD Player Head Cleaning

Updated July 19, 2017

A dirty CD player head, or lens, may cause the device to skip music when playing back your CDs. Cleaning the head will ensure that your CDs play properly in the device, as well as protect your CDs from scratches caused by a dirty head.

Switch off and unplug your CD player.

Find the screws that hold on the outer shell and unscrew them. Put the screws and casing aside.

Dip a cotton swab in the ethanol solution. Locate the CD player head and gently wipe it with the cotton swab. Dry the lens carefully with a dry, clean cotton swab.

Put the cover back onto the CD player's mounts and use the screws removed in Step 2 to secure it in place.

Find an old CD that you no longer want. Place it on a paper or cloth covered surface.

Apply glue to one side of the CD in a spiral pattern. Place cotton swabs onto all the glued parts of the CD. Turn over the CD and repeat this step. Wait for the glue to dry.

Hold the glued part of a cotton swab with one finger and gently pull off the excess cotton with another finger, attaching it to the CD as you go. Repeat this with all the cotton swabs.

Insert the CD into your CD player. The device will try to read the disc but will not be able to do so, causing the CD with the cotton attached to spin around several times, cleaning your CD player head.


Try to clean your CD player head every year or so to avoid a build-up of grime and dirt.


Make sure your stereo is unplugged before attempting to clean it.

Things You'll Need

  • Philips screwdriver
  • 95% ethanol solution
  • Cotton swabs
  • Glue
  • Old CD
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About the Author

Matthew Battle started writing and editing in 2007. He has been published in Cadaverine and Pen Pusher, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of East London.