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Smoke Damaged DVDs

Old 03-17-05, 09:17 PM
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Smoke Damaged DVDs

Recently I had a fire in my home and pretty much destroyed half of my house. Luckily I had my DVDs in one of the back bedrooms and the only damage they had done to them was from the smoke. Some of the DVDs work, while others don't. They are mostly TV sets (buffy, Angel, Alias, X-files, Simpsons, Smallville, Etc) and theres about 150 sets altogether. I was wondering if anyone knows anyway to be able to safely clean the DVDs, and possibly get the smell out of them? Thanks for any information you can give me.
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Old 03-17-05, 10:16 PM
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Try the tried and tested alcohol wash. Being that you have a lot of discs that are affected, it'll take a while, but it won't hurt trying.

Just take a soft washcloth and dampen small area of it with rubbing alcohol and then wipe the disc surface in circular motions around the way around the disc, rotating it as you go. Then dry it by going in straight lines from the center hole...out.

What's happened is that they've probably got a slight film on them from the smoke and its preventing the laser from reading them properly. Even brand new discs have this problem. I've had brand new discs that need cleaning like this before they'll work.

Unless they are physically damaged, ie. warped, etc. this alcohol treatment should work.
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Old 03-18-05, 08:35 PM
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Thanks for the information!!!

I've tried the treatement on one of my Buffy DVDs today, and the disc works fine, so it looks like I know what I'm doing tomorrow...

Thanks Again!
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Old 03-18-05, 11:19 PM
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Sorry to hear about your home; I hope everyone made it out safely.
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Old 03-18-05, 11:27 PM
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critterdvd,

Have you contacted your insurance agency to discuss a claim on your damaged DVDs? If you have some that won't play, even after the cleaning, I'm sure your DVDs will be covered.

My father had a problem with soot coming through the vents at his house, and most of my personal belongings were covered in a fine layer of it, including an old computer I had, which the insurance company reimbursed us for.
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Old 03-18-05, 11:47 PM
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Luckily all the humans got out safetly before the fire took off, but unfortunately my mother's cat wasn't as lucky...

The insurance company is willing to replace anything that is damanged from one point of the house to another point in the house, unfotunately the room I keep the DVDs in wasn't in that range, so all they can offer me is to have someone professionally clean them. But when I asked how they did it, they said they don't know specifics only that they box up the DVDs and send them to a wherehouse in LA and that it would "only take about 4 to 6 months" so I would prefer not to do that...
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Old 03-19-05, 12:12 AM
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all they can offer me is to have someone professionally clean them.
Don't fall for that. "Professional cleaning" is usually a subcontractor the insurance adjuster will hire, and one that is typically incapable of caring for specialized items. You should offer to do the cleaning yourself, and ask for reimbursement for time and materials. It's worth a shot.
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Old 03-19-05, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Lowrey
Just take a soft washcloth and dampen small area of it with rubbing alcohol and then wipe the disc surface in circular motions around the way around the disc, rotating it as you go. Then dry it by going in straight lines from the center hole...out.
I don't think you're supposed to wipe in a circular motion.

From the DVD FAQ:
With a soft, lint-free cloth, wipe gently in only a radial direction (a straight line between the hub and the rim). Since the data is arranged circularly on the disc, the micro scratches you create when cleaning the disc (or the nasty gouge you make with the dirt you didn't see on your cleaning cloth) will cross more error correction blocks and be less likely to cause unrecoverable errors.
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