If your CDs and DVDs have been in a flood, here are a few things you should know about their condition:

  • Recovery is time sensitive.
  • The metal reflective layer responsible for conveying disc data is thin and easily damaged. 
  • High quality discs have an outer protective layer that is water resistant during short exposures (>2 days). 
  • Poor quality discs will incur damage sooner.

Avoid scratching the surface of the disc during the cleaning process. 

To clean, rinse discs in cool clean tap water followed by distilled water. 

  • Remove discs from cases and sleeves.
  • Hold and handle discs by their outer edges. 

If residue remains on the discs, wipe gently from center out to edges in a straight line, not in a circular motion.

  • Wipe with a soft, lint-free cotton cloth dampened with distilled water.
  • Rinse discs again in distilled water.

Place discs flat on tissue with label side down to air dry or dry vertically on racks. 

  • Blot off excess water with a soft, clean, lint-free cloth or cheesecloth. 
  • Never attempt mechanical removal of a label as this may result in delaminating the disc. 

Play or analyze discs to determine if recovery was successful. Copy information on discs to new media.

 

Reference: Brothers, Peter. SPECS BROS Audio and Video Tape Restoration and NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS ADMINISTRATION PRESERVATION PROGRAMS