The following are just a few things to keep in mind when burning, using and storing CDs.
The tracks on any CD are usually around 1.6 microns apart, so dust, dirt, fingerprints, etc. can reduce reliability.
Make sure to handle CDRs and CD-RWs like an audio CD – by the edges only and with clean hands.
Store CDs in their jewel boxes if possible.
Avoid exposure to bright sunlight to avoid warping and potential degradation to the dyes.
For maximum data life manufacturers recommend storage in the dark, with less than 40% relative humidity, and the temperature less that 25 C.
No one really knows how long CDs will last before there is physical degradation of the material that interferes with retrieving data. Estimates range from 15 to 100 years. NASA studied this extensively prior to storing their digital data on disc. They concluded that properly manufactured CDs represent one of the most durable ways of storing data ever developed.