This article is from the CD-Recordable FAQ, by Andy McFadden (firstname.lastname@example.org) with numerous contributions by others.
This list comes substantially from NIST Special Publication 500-252,
available from http://www.itl.nist.gov/div895/carefordisc/. Most of it
is common sense.
- Handle discs by the outer edge or the center hole. Don't touch the
surface of the disc, or you'll leave fingerprints and oil behind.
- Label the disc with a non-solvent-based felt-tip permanent marker.
Beware of permanent markers that contain strong solvents. The use of
adhesive labels is not recommended for long-term storage (more than
five years). If you do use a label, never try to remove or reposition it.
- Keep the disc free of dirt and other gunk.
- Store discs vertically rather than flat. Over a long period, gravity
will warp the disc if it's left flat in a jewel case. Most jewel
cases support the disc by its center, holding it off the backing.
- Return discs to storage cases immediately after use.
- Open a recordable disc package only when you are ready to record
data onto that disc. If your discs came on a spindle, leave them on
the spindle until you need them.
- Store discs in a cool, dry, dark environment in which the air is
clean. Avoid areas that are excessively hot or damp. Keep them away
from direct sunlight and other UV light sources.
- Clean dirt, smudges, and liquids from discs by wiping with a clean
cotton fabric in a straight line from the center of the disc toward
the outer edge. Never wipe in circles. The error correction codes
on the disc can handle small interruptions, such as a scratch that
travels across the spiral, but can't handle large interruptions, such
as a scratch that's traveling in the same direction as the spiral.
Avoid paper products, such as lens-cleaning paper.
- Clean stubborn dirt and foreign substances with 99% isopropyl alcohol
or 99% methyl alcohol (methanol). Apply the cleaner to the cloth,
then rub the cloth across the disc, taking care not to get any fluid
on the label side of the disc. Some labels or coatings may not react
well with alcohol.
- Do not bend the disc. Flexing the disc can cause stress patterns to
form in the polycarbonate, and if you stretch it far enough you might
start to deform the reflective and recording layers. Take care when
pulling discs out of tight jewel cases.
- Do not expose the disc to rapid changes in temperature or humidity.
- Use quality discs from an experienced manufacturer. Low-quality
discs will degrade quickly, even under ideal conditions.
A temperature between 20C (68F) and 4C (39F) with a relative humidity of
20-50% is recommended. Before you go stuffing all of your discs in the
refrigerator, make note of the fact that rapid changes in temperature and
humidity can be harmful. You would need to let your discs slowly come up
to room temperature before placing them in a CD player. Discs that are
accessed frequently should be stored in an environment similar to the one
in which they will be played.