Introduction: Never Scratching Cd/dvd Protection

Picture of Never Scratching Cd/dvd Protection

If you keep old files and backups on cdr or other optical media you have probably had some disks go bad over the years even though they are stored properly. The normal plastic "jewel" cases, folded paper sheets, and commercially available storage methods all have the potential to damage your cds and cause your valuable data to be lost.

This storage method keeps your cds from taking any abrasive damage, and also prevents damages caused by the aging of the plastics and resins the disks are made of. It's simple, cheap, and damn near fool proof.

Step 1: Put Your Cds Into Fold Top Sandwich Bags

Picture of Put Your Cds Into Fold Top Sandwich Bags

That's all, just slide them in, fold it over, and the plastic bag will trap precious organic volatiles in while keeping harmful grit out.

cost ~$0.005 per bag

Step 2: Wrap Them Up!

Picture of Wrap Them Up!

Put your CDs into the sammich bags.

Step 3: Optional: Stuff the Cds Into a Cardboard Box

Picture of Optional: Stuff the Cds Into a Cardboard Box

to really make an archive of significant size, you should use a cardboard box of suitable size and shape to store your wrapped cds and protect them from the damaging effects of the suns rays or coffee or whatever is laying around your desk trying to mess up your cds. Be sure to empty the kittens out before putting the cds in.


nil tacs (author)2011-02-19

cutie kittes

jtmax24 (author)2009-08-29

Very nice instructable.... I haven't thought of sandwish baggies... normally I just buy a spindle of cd-r/dvd-r's and backup to those and then put the backup copies back on the spindle... I just checked 200 cd-r I did back in 2003 and 2005 all but one didn't work... not bad odds...

xacked (author)2008-08-08

Epic. fail. The steps, not the idea itself, which I have to say is an interesting notion worthy of trying out.

erqua (author)2007-11-11

It looks to me like the plastic may stick to the CD after a few months/years, depending on the kind of ink used the print the CD (the same way vinyl reacts with and sticks to photostat toner). I've a printer driver CD that came in a paper envelope with a clear see-through front "window". After about 3 years in storage, the plastic "window" reacted with the ink and sticks to the CD. When I tried to tear it off, strips of the metal layer came off, rendering the entire CD useless. If the envelope had been entirely paper, the problem wouldn't have occurred.

Bartboy (author)erqua2008-07-04

Use Mylar.

pir8p3t3 (author)erqua2007-11-11

I am still amazed by the amount of distrustful comments this instructable generates. This method is still working great for me, running on 3 years. I have not had any problems retrieving files from these cds yet, and I give credit to these little sandwich bags.

I'll keep watching and let you know if any problems with this method show up. I have put up over a hundred cds and dvd-roms this way so surely if something were to go wrong it will soon.

Here's something to distrust in the meantime ...

sideways (author)pir8p3t32008-03-10

The bags used are food-grade; usually more non-reactive than other plastics. Plastics labeled for food storage need to be more inert than others because humans eat the food stored in them. They might also have less residue of solvent-type chemicals from the manufacturing process because of this.

Br0 (author)2007-12-06


ojochris (author)Br02007-12-10


lemonie (author)2007-02-10

You do need to specify what platsic your bags are made of. Also, how long have you stored CDs to verify an advantage over jewel-cases? I suspect that this is unproven. Also, scratching occurs through handling, not storage. if you get these out of the archive they're just as vulnerable as disks archived in jewel-cases.

pir8p3t3 (author)lemonie2007-02-14

The cds I've used show no wear from actual use, improper handling and storage failures are the main cause of data loss. Time spent laying on the table after use, outside of the case and the failure of some types of cd storage that have caused the destruction of numerous archives. I may add some pictures of terrible cd storage products, but I wouldn't want to confuse people into using them thinking I suggested them. The plastic bags shown here (NOTE: I USED THAT SPECIFIC PRODUCT) are not melting the cd plastic as was feared by the first person I showed it to. I guess that's what you mean by my needing to specify what kind of plastic they are? They are food grade sandwich storage bags with fold tops. As for unproven, I have stored my archives in this manner for two years running with no loss of data. Lots of things are unproven, like evolution, global warming and most economic theories. This has seemed to work in practice although I did not do a laboratory study. A note on jewel cases: they seem to work best of all the commercially available cd storage solutions, but they tend to be very much more expensive and larger than the system I am describing.

lemonie (author)pir8p3t32007-02-18

Probably polyethlene? My worst problems with CD storage have been corrosion of the metal layer, I do not know what caused this (in excess of 2 years though) L

stib (author)lemonie2007-10-26

Sunlight kills rewritable optical media very quickly. UV light is used in the recording process, so leaving CD-Rs etc in the sun is like leaving a cassette tape on a big magnet.

pir8p3t3 (author)lemonie2007-02-19

I have had that too. I think that it is accelerated by exposure to sunlight and moisture. I have seen cd's storedd in a car peel off large blisters of the aluminum layer, and seen cds that were left in a wet cloth cd wallet for two weeks peel spots about 3mm in diameter. The impermenance of data storage is upsetting. I have also lost a 120GB hdd with no warning so I guess I just never feel safe anymore.

PSPerson (author)pir8p3t32007-07-10

yeah that's why i never burn CDs anymore i use USB thumb drives and external hard drives (i have a 1 tb drive)

PSPerson (author)2007-03-09

FORGET CDS try a box of USB flash drives!!!!

Crash2108 (author)PSPerson2007-06-14

Those don't last forever either.

PSPerson (author)Crash21082007-07-10

The only time i've ever had a USB flash drive break on me is when i loose them

PSPerson (author)PSPerson2007-07-10

and i use an external hard drive

pir8p3t3 (author)PSPerson2007-07-11

The goal of this instructable was to provide a low co$t, long lifespan storage system for archived data. USB flash drives are excellent for transporting and accessing files, but not so much for archiving on a budget. The price alone is a factor, but also one must consider that the lifespan we're attempting to reach here (>5years) is longer than USB flash drives have even been available to most people. There's no way that they could be shown to be a superior method. CD and DVD rom disks are the least expensive ($/GB) method of data storage, and most of the failure associated with these media is due to handling and improper storage.

PSPerson (author)pir8p3t32007-07-11

huh? whatever i think hard drives are the cheapest and most space efficient storage for me. i HATE CDs, the only time i use them is for system installs and the like. i have several 100 gb+ hard drives not including my 1 TB external drive that i keep all of my media on.

PSPerson (author)PSPerson2007-07-11

and it is in a VERY durable casing.

stib (author)PSPerson2007-10-26

Ar you saying that you're relying on *hard drives* for archiving?! Why not just write all your data onto soap bubbles and store them in a box of drawing pins? Hard drives are not archival, they fail with alarming regularity. You've obviously missed the point of this instructable which is how to keep optical disks with archived material safe.

Either you don't have anything important on your hard drives, or you're headed for a disaster when (not if) your hard drive fails.

certron (author)2007-10-25

I actually used this method a few years back when my local Linux User Group was distributing free copies of Knoppix. I bought the mega-pack of CDs and the bags at a warehouse-type store, so they were both cheap and convenient. The cheapness was very much appreciated!

bedbugg2 (author)2007-09-22

you could even get one of those vacum sealer just to make sure

Ora (author)2007-08-28

So much unnecessary plastic makes me cry inside...

bobsteads (author)2007-03-13

I use d_skins have a look at this is a protective skin that stays on the disk even in the DVD player of play station etc, no nead for any other protection
ayhanaltindag (author)2007-02-14

well. but it can't be solve the problem

pir8p3t3 (author)ayhanaltindag2007-02-14


cpf (author)2007-02-11

From that picture, it looks like the CDs could slide back and forth on top of eachother and sctratch themselves, the solution is to bolt them securely through the center holes to a big metal plate embedded in a tonne of concrete :-) Good idea, though I am sticking with hard drives for now If I ever have to back up a tonne of stuff to disks, I would consider this (the only problem being writable CD/DVDs will naturally oxidize or something that makes them unreadable...)

pir8p3t3 (author)cpf2007-02-14

the first picture must be confusing you because that is not the final product, that is just an unopened stack of cds. I guess I need to borrow a digital camera to take a picture of the final product so folks can "SEE" how it's done.

TNT64 (author)2007-02-09
pir8p3t3 (author)TNT642007-02-09

Absolutely, but this has seemed to help.

WesDoesStuff (author)2007-02-07

And pray, what is the most popular cheese around these parts?

well, from my experience working at a Subway, here it is the Pepper Jack, followed closely by American (often pronounced "Mercan" or "Ahmetican")

pir8p3t3 (author)WesDoesStuff2007-02-08


crapflinger (author)2007-02-08

hehe...that fat headed fluffy cat in the back looks like he's about to crap himself...

billbob (author)2007-02-07

this instructablesays cds "breath"..would this prevent them from breathing?

pir8p3t3 (author)billbob2007-02-08

I would say that the concept of breathing CDs is absurd, but like all plastic items CDs do 'exhale' or offgas volatile organic compounds. These compounds keep the plastic flexible and transparent, and, along with solar UV damage, are the cause of brittleness and yellowing that you might see in old plastic items. Granted newer plastics are more durable than the old ones, but they still can lose some of their useful properties through this drying process.

PetervG (author)2007-02-07

Huh, never thought of that.

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