CD "frost": the problem ... and the solution

We've had reports of three people recently (end of September) noticing that disc 5 of "Get Back Journals II" has been covered with some kind of white film or frost and is now unplayable. In one case, it had spread to disc 6.

If you find this is true of yours, don't panic. There IS a solution, thanks to Joe Caldwell, who also posted this info on RMB. The "frost" is not the same thing as "CD rot" (as we were told earlier) as it is on the outer surface of the playing-side of the CD as opposed to being on the aluminum inner surface.

A product called "Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Professional #2 Fine-Cut Cleaner" will do the trick. (Regular CD cleaning fluid may or may not work, depending on the brand. A CD dealer we talked to has used Meguiar's for years on this type of problem with excellent results.) This is a very mild abrasive solution that is used to remove "fine surface defects including stains, light oxidation, scratches, swirls and fresh water spots. Buffered Abrasives (TM) that remove defects without scouring the finish." This solution is used to polish the plastic see-through visors on motorcycle helmets. You can find it in the U.S. at motorcycle shops, motorcycle parts-houses and even paint supply stores.

Caldwell used the product on all eight of the CD's in this set and they all work just fine now. The "frost" that had prevented him from playing disc #5 at all is completely gone!

Be sure to apply it to the CD with a soft, lint-free pad. Dab it all over the playing surface, covering it completely. Rubbing is not really necessary, but if you do, rub lightly from from the center of the CD toward the outer edge, as is suggested with *any* CD cleaning. Let the solution dry completely.

The next step is to use a *clean* soft cloth, and as lightly as possible (to avoid leaving small scratch marks), wipe the dried polish off the CD, *again* wiping from the center of the CD toward the outer edge. Make sure each wiping stroke is done with a *clean* section of the towel you are using.

The result will be that the "frost" will disappear and you will be left with a nice, shiny silver surface. Depending on the amount of "frost" you have, you may need more than one application. But if you exercise some care and *patience*, the process will work just fine and your infected CD will again be playable.

As it is likely that whatever solution that was apparently left on these CD's in the manufacturing process, and which has caused the "frosting" problem, is on *all* CD's in the set, we suggest you "clean" all discs in the set, even if you don't have the "frost" problem on the other discs as a precautionary measure, since several have reported the "frost" on discs 5, 6, 7 & 8. Good luck!

(Thanks to "BC" for his technical advice in the preparation of this note.)

Some additional comments from Fred Gilmore (thanks, Fred):

A few points of clarification might help any souls left out there grappling with this problem. 1. The indication that this product can be found at motorcycle shops threw me off the path for a bit. You'll waste alot of time trying to track it down there. Auto parts store is more likely.

2. Meguiars has a website which "may" help in this regard, their directory of retailers who carry their products was woefully inaccurate for my purposes but your mileage may differ:

3. The #2 Fine Cut may still be overkill for this job. The #17 Mirror Glaze Clear Plastic Cleaner would be safer. I treated discs 5-8 with this stuff (figuring the discs must have stabilized by now) and it works great. For whatever reason, they have this listed under their Boat Products, though they are mindful of the fact that people are using this to clean CDs and indicate as much on the site. It is less abrasive, not alcohol based, and CHEAPER than the #2 Fine Cut. A better deal all around. Since it is sort of buried on the site, here is the URL:

Fred Gilmore

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