Cleaning 3'5 floppies - best practices?

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Joined: Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:45 pm

Cleaning 3'5 floppies - best practices?

Post by AdamK »

I've started dumping some disks, and of course there are bad sectors. I know now that I might try cleaning disks (IPA+cotton swab), but I'm unsure for to do it.

1) dismantle the whole floppy and work on the whole disk? What is the best 'motion' with the swab ? Circular? Center to the edge? Edge to the center? I destroyed my share of floppies in the past, but this time I do not wish just to destroy them. What is the best way to open plastic casing?

2) just open the floppy window, stic swab into it and rotate the floppy. Seems obvious, but if there is any dirt already in there it can damage floppy furthes, and I find that rotating the floppy by hand is not that easy. Is there a good tool for that?
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Re: Cleaning 3'5 floppies - best practices?

Post by Rakki »

1) Very dangerous method for 3.5" disks. Avoid it except if you are really sure what you are doing.
2) Recommended

So don't dismantle the whole floppy. Instead of that I recommend you to 3d print this tool. It resolves the rotation problem and helps you a lot to carry out disks cleaning properly.

The tool + microfibre is also very effective but be careful. Cotton swabs are more gently but microfibre cloth is faster and easier.

About the cleaning:
Spin the disk manually 360 degrees and check both sides condition. Dip the cotton swab on IPA dissolved with distilled water and clean the disk surface carefully to remove mold or dirt. Remember to dry the IPA and water off from the disk surface. Basically practice is best way to learn how to clean the disk surface properly so try first disks that doesn't contain valuable data.

Disks cleaning with 100% IPA is possible but often IPA dissolved with distilled water gives better results. For example you can try 40% IPA. In some rare cases 100% IPA might damage the disk surface so be careful with very fragile disks and always try first copied disks cleaning before going for the important disks. IPA availability depends of the country but often pharmacies or electronics stores are selling it.
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