Does the Cardboard/Paper Sleeve packaging worsen the condition of the CD?

Doesn’t repeated insertion and removal of a CD into the cardboard cause scratches on the media?


CD from the groove side at high magnification.

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I forgot to remove the lens cap.

Now a good photo.

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Yes, of course¹. The CD is certainly better stored in a jewel case or Digipak, but these are more expensive than a digisleeve and though the resulting scratches are clearly visible under the microscope, these scratches will hardly affect readability.

¹) I think, it’s not the cardboard, that causes scratches, but every time you take the CD out, particles adhere on its surface and if you insert the disc again, these particles also get into the cardboard sleeve.


Also, a CD will be very much more prone to scratches if it has been resurfaced.
You can feel if a CD has been resurfaced, because its surface is very much less silky and slick.

I always push the sides of the cardboard sleeve towards the inside, to bend it open, when inserting or ejecting CD from it, so that it is not flat against the surface when the CD slides in or out.


I know there is error correction, but what happens if a scratch distorts the 1 or 0 in the laser path?

This has to be a serious scratch. The laser’s focus is deep below the surface.

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You can buy plastic boxes and print covers, but this is not eco-friendly and will take up more shelf space.

Some lobby is blocking the production of such packaging:

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I don’t think that’s necessary unless you like to sell it NM. But it also suffers from insertion into CD drives.

If you smoke cigarettes, soot settles on the laser lens.

Then you can buy a lens cleaning disc.

How does this work? By magic? I didn’t find anything informative quickly.
In a video about a cleaning kit, I learned that if the lens cleaning disc doesn’t improve anything, the device needs to be disassembled to clean the lens with an included liquid. Something like that I have already done.


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@ernstlx how do you clean CDs?

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I didn’t think about the possibility that the disc could brush off the lens :smiley:
I can also imagine that it will often still be necessary to wash off the dirt.

It gives a horrible noise, and might even result in the laser losing track and failing to play further.
But you really need a SCRATCH, not something you need a microscope or magnifying glass for to see.
The most vulnerable side is actually the upper side, as the actual data is very close under that side. (This issue has been solved in DVD and later optical media, these have equal protection on top & bottom.)

The strength of CD is that it’s either a 0 or a 1, a bump or a pit. You need heavy damage before you actually get reading problems. (But if you get at that point, it’s really bad…)

You can buy some crap CDs at some thrift store, and try to damage them, to look for yourself how much is needed before errors appear. (Might differ depending on your player.)
There is also error correction on audio CD’s, btw.
EAC is good for testing on errors you don’t actually hear, if I’m right.

Circular scratches are worse than scratches from center to side.