I rarely used the SuperDrive in my 2009 MacBook Pro. I can't remember the last time there was anything I needed to read or load from a CD. But in 2011, a friend's kid wanted to watch a DVD on my laptop during a trip. We inserted the disc, only to have the SuperDrive spit it right back out. Matter of fact, it ejected every subsequent DVD and CD we put in.
I didn't really care that my SuperDrive seemed to be bust as I had no use for it, but over the next year, I would occasionally attempt to get it working by running various CD cleaner products on it and blowing inside the drive. Nothing worked, so I just assumed the drive was dead.
Last month I gave the MacBook to a friend. I warned him the SuperDrive didn't work and if he wanted a working one, he'd need to pay to replace it. He asked me if I tried everything to clean the drive. I told him I had. But for some reason that night I decided to do a Google search on the best ways to clean your optical drive. 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.
My friend found that following this procedure (minus step 4) completely fixed the SuperDrive in the MacBook Pro that had not worked in almost four years. As noted by the original poster,
"Any readers that want to try the above on their own optical drives should do so at their own risk. We also highly recommend no one follows step 4 as putting any kind of liquid in a computer can have damaging, irreversible effects."