HOW TO: Remove scratches from CDs and DVDs

Scratched DVDThis simple guide will probably be a lifesaver for a lot of you out there, especially to those of you who have kids roaming their home. We all know it: if something is dear to your heart, no matter how careful you are, your kids will eventually break it.

What brought me to write this article is that my wonderful son, while being at home last week, climbed on a chair and got his hand on my precious Star Wars DVD collection.

Naturally, he did it silently so my wife—though only 20 feet from him, didn’t hear anything. After picking up the box set, he proceeded to bring out a few disks from the box and played with them, dragging them across our hardwood floor. I’m sure you can imagine the effect this operation had on the surface of the DVD’s… they were scratched thouroghly, and when played, the movie froze at critical moments.

Fortunately, I had already experienced something similar with a scratched CD and was able to repair it using a simple technique. Please note that Amazon.com sells a cheap and effective CD repair machine that does the job very well if you don’t want to go through the manual process.

First, before trying anything, be sure to thoroughly clean the surface of your damaged CD. Sometimes, even if a disc is lightly scratched, it will play anyway if properly cleaned.

To do this, just take a piece of Microfiber cloth and clean your disk using eyeglass cleaner or an easy-to-make homemade solution we wrote about in the past. Be sure to wipe the CD / DVD starting from inside out and do not touch the reflective surface with your fingers while doing it. Do not attempt to clean the disc using circular motions! Doing so may worsen the condition of your media if you accidentally scratch it. (It’s always better to have a simple scratch going across one location on several tracks than one affecting the entire length of a single track.)

If after trying this, your disc still doesn’t work, you’ll need to employ a more drastic approach to the situation.

The only things you’ll need to do that is a soft cotton swab and a little bit of mild abrasive, such as Brasso. Be careful, Brasso emits fumes and can be very irritating. Perform the following steps in a well-ventilated area:

  1. Imbue your cotton swab with a little dab of Brasso.
  2. Gently polish the damaged area of your CD or DVD using a small circular motion until the scratch disappears or at least subdues.
  3. Rinse the media.

That’s it! Now stick your disc back inside your player, and attempt to play it again. Does it work? If yes, then great! If no, then repeat the above procedure. I also heard that white toothpaste and car-rubbing compound could be effective, but I have not tried them.

And yes, I was able to get my Star Wars DVD’s back in working condition with this technique, but please note that if you do this, you do it at your own risk. Putting up too much pressure on your scratched disc will probably worsen its condition instead of improving it, so don’t forget to be gentle!

This trick will also often work wonders on damaged PS2, PS3 and Xbox game CD’s.

Does anyone have additional tips on how to repair scratched CD’s and DVD’s? Let us know in the comment area of this post!

Related article: Use a banana to repair a scratched CD or DVD




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