Whether you use your laptop's optical drive or not , it's important to keep it clean so it's there for you if you need it. Here's an easy way to clean slot-loading CD and DVD drives (like the kind found on older model Macbooks) with a cotton strip and a plain old credit card.
Photo by walljet
This tip comes to us from TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog), and while it's meant for Macbooks that have slot-loading DVD drives or external drives like the one shown above, there's no reason you couldn't apply this to any laptop with a slot-loading drive. (Also, if using a credit card makes you uneasy, you can do this with a store rewards card or any other plastic card.) Here's how it works:
I came across this thread on Apple's support communities and had my friend follow it to the letter -- minus one step. To my utter shock, my friend called me up the next day saying the SuperDrive was as good as new.
Here are the steps he followed. I've also marked the step he did not follow:
- Get hold of a credit card.
- Cut a strip of fine, lint-free cotton cloth as wide as the credit card and twice its length.
- Wrap the cloth around the credit card lengthwise and hold it taught between your thumb and forefinger at one end.
- [My friend did NOT do this step] Dab some lens cleaning fluid on the bottom side of the cloth-wrapped card. (Camera lens fluid will do.)
- Insert the cloth-wrapped credit card on the left-most side of the slot drive by about 1.5 inches. (Make sure the Mac is powered off.)
- Pull the credit card out and insert again -- repeat four to five times -- add some more cleaning fluid if it evaporates.
The post notes that this worked without the cleaning fluid involved, so you may want to try it without the fluid first to see if it does the trick for your drive. The original post (linked below) and the post at the support communities note that putting any kind of liquid into your computer can be damaging and is generally a bad idea, so they suggest avoiding step four. Hit the link below to read more.