- Handle discs by the outer edge or the center hole.
- Use a non-solvent-based felt-tip permanent marker to mark the label side of the disc.
- Keep dirt or other foreign matter from the disc.
- Store discs upright (book style) in plastic cases specified for CDs and DVDs.
- Return discs to storage cases immediately after use.
- Leave discs in their packaging (or cases) to minimize the effects of environmental changes.
- Open a recordable disc package only when you are ready to record data on that disc.
- Store discs in a cool, dry, dark environment in which the air is clean.
- Remove dirt, foreign material, fingerprints, smudges, and liquids by wiping with a clean cotton fabric in a straight line from the center of the disc toward the outer edge.
- Use CD/DVD-cleaning detergent, isopropyl alcohol, or methanol to remove stubborn dirt or material.
- Check the disc surface before recording.
- Touch the surface of the disc.
- Bend the disc.
- Use adhesive labels.
- Store discs horizontally for a long time (years).
- Open a recordable optical disc package if you are not ready to record.
- Expose discs to extreme heat or high humidity.
- Expose discs to extremely rapid temperature or humidity changes.
- Expose recordable discs to prolonged sunlight or other sources of ultraviolet light.
- Write or mark in the data area of the disc (the area the laser “reads” ).
- Clean by wiping in a direction going around the disc.
For CDs especially do not:
- Scratch the label side of the disc.
- Use a pen, pencil, or fine-tip marker to write on the disc.
- Write on the disc with markers that contain solvents.
- Try to peel off or reposition a label.
There is consensus that, under recommended storage conditions, CD-R, DVD-R, and DVD+R discs should have a life expectancy of 100 to 200 years or more; CD-RW, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and DVD-RAM discs should have a life expectancy of 25 years or more. Little information is available for CD-ROM and DVD-ROM discs (including audio and video), resulting in an increased level of uncertainty for their life expectancy. Expectations vary from 20 to 100 years for these discs.
- CD-R and DVD-R discs have a shelf life of 5 to 10 years before recording.
- The life expectancy for RW and RAM discs will be less than that of R discs.
The data on the phase-changing metal alloy film layer can be erased and rewritten to a limited number of times (about 1,000 times for RW discs and about 100,000 times for RAM discs).