The Easy Guide to Cleaning Games!!!
Getting down to business
First off, if you're cleaning more than one game, this process can take up a lot of space, so make some room. No, clearing off your desk won't do it. You'll need a table or a bed at least.
Games that come in cd cases are the easiest to clean. Just about every disk based system from the Turbo Graphix (Both cards and disks.) to the Dreamcast used standard cd cases. The exceptions being the Sega CD, Jaguar CD, 3D0, Saturn (US), and early PS1 games. (But more often than not, they're just taller versions of normal cd cases.)
Let's start out by removing the manual and disk. Next, take out the part that holds the disk. It's held by small pegs, but should pop right out. Take the knife, pop it out and take the back cover art out. Now we're ready to clean the case. If there's sticker or writing on the case, you need to get rid of that first. Put some Goo Gone on a cotton ball and rub it until the sticker is saturated. After it's soaked, start peeling it off, and take the cotton ball over it again to get rid of any other residue. If you don't, it'll attract dust and dirt. Now that the sticker is gone, take your rag and wipe up any Goo Gone left on the case. It can smear a lot when you introduce any other chemical, and be hard to get rid of completely. Next, take a clean cotton ball with some rubbing alcohol on it, and wipe down the case inside and out. You might be surprised how much dirt comes off on it! You can use the Mr. Clean pad for this, but it leaves a cloudy film behind that's hard to get rid of. I say it's better to avoid it in this instance. After that's done, take your rag again and wipe down the case. Before you put the manual and cover art back in the case, make sure you wipe them off with the rag. Dust can get between them and the case, scuffing them both when you take them in and out. That's more or less why a lot of manuals in used games are so scuffed. (It can get really bad with black label PS1 and DC games.) The process for cleaning multiple disk games is the same as the one for a single one, just with more parts. Now that we're finished with case, let's move onto the disk.
Cleaning the disk is easy. Before you start, make sure to get rid of any dust on the surface of the disk. If you don't, it might scratch it. Next, clean the printed side of the disk. Take a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and start rubbing it. It doesn't matter what direction you go in, just don't press very hard, or some of the ink might come off. When you clean the data side, make sure you have at least two clean cotton balls. Take one with rubbing alcohol, and wipe from the center of the disk to the edge in a straight line. Going in circles will scratch the disk. Rubbing alcohol is strong enough to get through the crud as you wipe. But after your done wiping, take the dry cotton ball and wipe up any rubbing alcohol on the disk. (Remember, center to the edge.) If you don't, it'll leave marks, like water spots.
That's pretty much all there is to cleaning CDs. Next we move onto DVDs!
Ever since the PS2, almost all modern games come in DVD style cases, even if the media is different. For the disks, the cleaning process is the same as cleaning a cd. However, the cases are a little different. Unless there's a sticker or writing on it, you shouldn't need Goo Gone or a Mr. Clean pad at all. Just take a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and wipe down the case. One strange thing I've observed is that these kind of cases can collect a lot of dust. After you take out the cover art, take a good look. More often than not, there's a layer of dust behind it. It happens on the inside as well. I have no idea why, so keep that in mind if you plan on storing them where there's a lot of dust floating around. Wiping it off dry is all it takes to get rid of it though. Make sure to wipe off the cover art too. One addendum: Sega Master System, early Sega Genesis and 32x cases were made in a similar way, so you can apply the same cleaning routine to those as well.
That does it for disk media. Next, cartridges!
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