I did some research on soaking CDs and DVDs of various formats a few years
ago. Basically, for CDs/CD-Rs, etc, it comes down to disc quality. A good
top protective layer leaves discs in great shape even after soaking in
clean tap water at room temperature for one month. Discs of poorer quality
can suffer large increases in error rates after only a couple of days of
similar soaking. Fortunately, cool water soaking halts the increase in
error rate significantly for the poor quality discs. Therefore, if discs
cannot be recovered immediately, they can be left wet in cool (refrigerator
temperature) water for a couple of weeks without any problems.

For DVDs, no problems with extensive soaking in clean room temperature tap
water were encountered (likely because that sensitive metal reflective
layer is sandwiched between thick polycarbonate).

Discs with adhesive labels on them did not like getting wet and error rates
rose significantly, unless the label was removed without damaging the disc.

Joe Iraci
Senior Conservation Scientist
Canadian Conservation Institute

             Siue Moffat                                                   
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I've been getting some excellent info on water damaged records and
cassette tapes off this listserv - thanks! What do you experts have to
say about CDs and DVDs?