Tyvek Sleeves are, in our opinion, the best long term storage sleeve. With more people using digital recording devices, long term CD storage is becoming a popular subject. Some recordable CD (CDR) companies advertise 100-200 year storage life. Some people dispute whether those figures are accurate; I doubt I’ll be around long enough to prove it one way or another. But, with a little TLC, you and I can make CDRs last a very long time. Over the years I’ve taught these simple rules for keeping CDs, CDRs, and DVDs working and enabling long term CD storage.
Don’t touch the surface area. Only handle CDs, DVDs, and CDRs by the outer edge or by the center hole. This doesn’t mean to grab it on the edge, it means to hold the whole disc between your fingers and thumb on the very outside edge.
Use good CD Storage Methods. Store discs upright in jewel cases, Paperboard CD Sleeves, or Tyvek CD Sleeves. Some people like to use plastic CD Sleeves, but we’ve seen them stick to the CD in certain cases. All methods are probably ok for short term, 1-3 year storage. Longer term storage requires Tyvek CD Sleeves, or a Jewel Case.
Don’t write on CDs, DVDs, or CDRs. If you absolutely have to, use a non-solvent permanent felt-tip marker and write in the inner hub. This goes double for DVDs. They have a very small recording structure that can easily be damaged. Never write on the bottom of the disc.
Some people use CD Labels or clear CD labels on discs to protect the vulnerable top side of the disc. Don’t use labels for archive storage.
Clean finger prints off of CDs with clean warm water. Wipe the CD from the inner hole out to the edge. Don’t wipe the CD in a circle. We don’t recommend using water with CDR media.
Store CDR media in a cool (40 – 68 degree Fahrenheit) place.
Don’t open CDR media until it’s needed.
For the most important information, make extra copies. CD Storage media is cheap, your pictures from your once-in-a-life-time trip to China aren’t.