Quickly Remove Scratches From CDs and DVDs

By Paul Michael on 3 August 2007 261 comments

I used to look in wonder and amazement at some of the CDs and DVDs in my best friend's collection. How could he let them get in such a state? "Dude, treat them with more respect" I'd say. Then I had children, and found my CDs and DVDs were perfect replacements for frisbee toys, coasters and anything else they could think of. (See also: Never Pay for a RedBox DVD Rental Again)

Recently, I found several of my favorite music CDs and movies were unplayable due to some innocent playtime fun. Kids will be kids, there's little you can do to avoid that (especially if your CDs and DVDs are at kid-height). But before I reluctantly bought replacements, I figured I had nothing to lose by going to the web and finding remedies. If they worked, great. If not, I had lost nothing anyway.

I had heard of toothpaste, which was the first remedy I tried. But I found other methods, too. Below are the results of my exploration, complete with my own experience with the remedy. Remember, I can't guarantee results. If your scratches are very deep you're probably out of luck. But if a few scratches are giving you some skipping or the CD/DVD is unreadable, this may save you a trip to your local Best Buy.

Note: NEVER clean any CD or DVD in a circular motion. Always clean in straight lines from the center of the disc outwards. Otherwise, you'll just make things even worse.

Toothpaste

I had heard about this one, but I never really knew what to do.

My results: 3/5

The toothpaste did indeed help with some scratches but only very small ones. The deeper scratches were unaffected. On another note, my CDs now smell minty!

Banana

Yes, banana. I had to watch it twice to make sure I wasn't missing something.

Results: 2/5

Not quite as good as the toothpaste, but it did help with a few tracks that had skipped. It's a lot more messy though, and a waste of a good banana.

Chewing Gum

This could have been a great way to find an extra use for a bit of gum. Here's the video.

Results: 0/5

This worked. NOT! I tried it on a DVD that was unreadable and it remained that way unitl I tried the next method.

Brasso (metal polish)

I have always called this Brasso regardless of brand name, but any liquid metal polish will work.

Results: 4/5

This worked great for me. On the two discs I tried it on, it returned them to their former glory. Very happy.

As I've said, don't try this on CDs that are 95% OK becuase I can't guarantee results. But if you have a highly-scratched, almost unplayable disc, you've got nothing to lose.

Tagged: DIY, General Tips, CDs, DVDs
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Guest's picture
Cristian

I think im going to try this on my Sonic Gems Collection

Thanks in advance
Ps:if i were you DO NOT WATCH THE ONE THAT MENTIONS SOMETHING ABOUT 1:09 it gave me nightmares

Guest's picture
braden

i dont trust any of those methods and dont want to go to the game store and get it fixed is there a way to use water and sope (purple colored soap).

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braden

to the comment above its (red-pinkish colored) and its 2 ps2 games starwar battlefront 2 it freezez during loading ( starwars battlefront2) and the other one is ( hot wheels stunt track challange) it freezez during loading when i start it and it freezez on the last loading part with a lot of writing on that screen pls tell me if their is a way to use water and ( red-pinkish colored)

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Mike H

I was looking under the sink for Brasso and came across a Mr.Clean Magic Eraser. It worked great on the light scratches. Don,t ask me how it works. It's Magic!

Guest's picture
Guest

Right above the toothpaste video is the statement:

Note: NEVER clean any CD or DVD in a circular motion. Always clean in straight lines from the center of the disc outwards. Otherwise, you'll just make things even worse.

Start the video- only to see the guy putting toothpaste on the CD with nothing but circular motion...

what's the deal?

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Surya Tyagi

Thanks! I tried Brasso and it worked perfect.

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Guest

Brasso works great!! I have a dvd that would not play beyond the first couple of minutes...now it plays perfectly all the way through. Also tried Brasso on a pair of plastic lense sunglasses (I can slip them over my regular glasses in a heartbeat. I didn't like transitional lenses). The sunglasses were badly scratched, but now they are very clear. Kudos to Paul Michael!!!

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Guest

Rain-X works for me every time.

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Emilyy

I used the toothpast method, the bana method, AND the peanut butter method. NOTHING worked. my cd is still jank. I click on it and it says its loading then it just stops. it did that before. any methods i can use that ACTUALLY work and when i say work i mean work REALLY EXTREMLY good?? One that will get off almost ALL scratches?? thx for any help.

Guest's picture
Amzjaff

Why can't the CDs or DVDs be made in a casing like they used to make Minidiscs? Coz no matter how careful you are, the disks get scratched sooner or later. I have cassette tapes that have outlasted most of my CDs because they are in a casing. Sometimes I think it's a ploy by content makers to make us keep buying new disks of their same old stuff.

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Guest

One good thing to do is not to leave the water running while you rub the CD with the soap.

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Freddy Patterson

what do you think is the best for scratch remover? i guess that would be the involving big tools like the buffing machine. its the fastest, and most efficient. it can clear deep cut disc too.

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trevor

hey, for all u dudes and dudets who have scratched up games for xbox,wii,ps2, or ps3, what u can do is go to blockbuster or hollywood video and rent the game or even movie that u already have that is scratched up, write the code that is on the good disc onto the bad disc and put the bad disc in the good disc case and send it back to the owners and just say that the game/disc that u rented is scratched and they will say sorry and take it back. they might even give you a refund. (and its all okay if you take it back to blockbuster for them, cause they get free replacements on movies) ;)

Guest's picture
Guest

What i did to fix my xbox 360 ring scrached games was a friend that has a machine that sands it down that i rented the same game and download it to my hard drive and wella you game works brand new.
Another way is for other sysems is to get it sand down by a machine and then have anoth machine to get it rebuff this is only for ring scraches.

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Guest

Does the banana work?

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Guest

i would point out that re manufacturing(burning) a new one is what i do for friends with the problem. when you let a computer download a cd that is unplayable, once reburned are perfect or very near so. happy listening.......

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Guest

I've tried the candle wax method with good results. Unlike the person below, I just cut out a piece and rubbed it on the dvd. It would probably be better to light the candle though to soften the wax. I just tried spray wax (auto touch up) to fix a dvd but haven't tried to play it yet. Hopefully that works because it would be a lot easier and faster.

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Guest

Instead of trying to repair your discs with gum or brasso cleaner - send them to www.wefixcds.com

It's a lot easier!!

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Guest

just rub it on the bottom of ur foot for 3 minutes then wipe the oils off its worked a thousand times for me

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Guest

Toothpaste DOES NOT work.
It screwed up my CD to the point where its now unplayable.

Oh well... guess I have to fork out another $50...

Guest's picture
need 2 fix

I used toothpaste because I didn't have any brasso. IT WORKED HORRIBLY!!!!!!!!!! In fact, it scratched even more! How could it possibly get 3/5?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?

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Guest

4/5
It really works!I tried it on my Gameshark2 and then it started working again.
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!:]

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TB

I have two touch screen cell phones...and I was wondering if Brasso could remove the deep scratches off the screen, or could candle wax? I cant stand scratches being on a touch screen and dont have the money to afford the removal or replacement of the screen!!!

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SPADES

Thank you so much for this! I was about to buy a new Left4Dead2 CD for the Xbox360 because it was scratched. I found this, had some toothpaste in the other room and nothing to lose, so I tried it. Managed to save my CD's life and $35. Thanks!

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Mikej

Hey guys.. my dvd of "the illusionist" was badly scratched so bad it would not play,I got tooth paste applied it with a cotton pad rubbed it in for approx 2 min, rinsed it off & dried it with kitchen towel paper, I couldn't believe it, it was like magic my dvd played perfectly...i would recommend this method highly ..... thanks again ...Mike.

Guest's picture
RoxasTheHaxGod

I Got a Ring Of Death On my New Red Dead Redemption CD. Ive Tried Toothpaste, 4 types of metal polish,Wax (as said in the comment about wax) which i had some problems with,Furniture Polish,Ive had it cleaned by the Average Cd Store Cleaner. The Ring itself Was Somewhat Lessened, But it wasnt completely Removed,Anyone got any suggestions on how to remove it? (RoxasTheHaxGod Is my GamerTag if any R.D.R. People out there want to play me)

Guest's picture
Guest

The toothpaste method actually worked! It removed most of the scratches.

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david r.

thank the video was very helpful just saved my black ops game so u saved me $55
it takes a bit but it works i had to rub in for about 6 mins thanks again

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Guest

you should try using oil wipe it on then wipe it or 4 a few minits and after wala but it works 75%

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Guest

I had an xbox game that someone said I could have because it was covered in scratches. I used rubbing alcohol on it then put it in front of my Lasko heater (I'm not sure if combining them did anything) for about 2 or 3 minutes then put it in and installed it on my xbox and it worked perfectly. before i did that it wouldn't get past 47%

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Guest

Thanks a bunch for this! The toothpaste worked great for one oft favorite DVDs.

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Teresa Stephenson

Thank you!!! Toothpaste worked. Saved footage I needed to use for my reel!

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Guest

The brasso worked really well! Took care of all the scratches and now my CD plays fine.

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Mr. Awesome

Thanks. The metal polish worked perfected. I applied it for about one minute with circular motions then washed it with water and hand liquid soap. Thanks again.

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LotSoft

How about reproduce another DVD from your lawfully possessed one?This is just another still that our DVD lovers need to learn

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Guest

Extra fine rubbing compound for your car works really well too. we always had a bottle of 3Ms product in my computer shop. Got us outa a lot jams when customers would drop of their broken computers, and their data disks were damaged.

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emma

i let my sister use my fav cd for like 5min and i got it back and there were a lot of scratches on it i learned two things that i should not let my older sister use my stuff and toothpaste works on getting scratches out... thank you guy on the video ;D

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Ryan.C

Toothpaste did brilliant on the faint scratches! But not so much on the deep, but anyhow Thanks! :D

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Whiskey

I tried the "hot water" thing, it didn't work. I'll try the "toothpaste" method when I get home....
Thanks. For your time :)

Guest's picture

I have used toothpaste on my CDs for years, with moderate success. But recently my kid's Xbox games keep getting scratched and the toothpaste isn't working anymore. I found the furniture polish tip and I am giving that a try. Whether it works or not, I will come back and give an update...

Guest's picture
Guest

here's what i did:
1. add lens cleaner (a lot) and let it sit
2. wipe it off with a cloth (not in a circular motion)
3. if that adds more scratches wet some toilet paper and gently wipe down the disc.
4. now that all scratches are gone wipe away the water (if you need the disc immediately) with a cloth or if you can wait let it air dry in front of a fan or in the open.

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Rachael

this is awesome i tried the toothpaste and the cd is working much better then did before I guess it happens if you listen to it too much when you're little lol

Guest's picture
Reown

The tooth paste one really did work even with deep scratches... after a while. I've done if 4 or 5 times now the the scratch I had on it is nearly completely gone, although the wait 1 or two hours for every wash to let it dry is annoying, it does work.

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Guest

the toothpaste messed my CD up

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MJOLNIR

The oil on your nose seems to work well on CDs. A trick I picked up somewhere. Just rub your nose on the surface of the disc.

Guest's picture
ohandy1

Use a professional. For $3 or less you can have the disc repaired the right way with a commercial grade tool made for video stores and game swaps.

If you don't have one close look up "play it again disc repair" just a few bucks and real fair on shipping too.

Guest's picture
MW3 8===D

Thank You!!! toothpaste really works i have been looking for 10 days for a remedy to my MW3!!! Game works really awesome now!!! :D

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Guest

Contrary to common belief, I used Brasso and toothpaste, and those only worked rubbing on circular movements, not radial.

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Guest

Will it work on Xbox games

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Guest

Ok. Here's a good method that i tried and worked. I took toothpaste and put iton from the left of the game disc from the middle and working your way to the edges.Then i smoothed it out with my index finger. Then i wait for 5 minutes and wash it off. Then i wiped it off with a soft cloth from the middle and working my way to the edges. then i put window cleaner on it and wiped it off. then i let it dry overnight. when i did that, i tried it out to see if it worked and it worked.

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Guest

I used Brasso to remove scratches from a DVD. It worked like a charm! Thanks for taking the time to record the process.

-Charlene

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Guest

WD-40 I found works really well too.. I have used it to add extra shine to boots too.. As far as training kids.. CDs and DVDs are very easily scratched.. I know before I even had my boys I already had scratches on my CDs .. That's the cost of technology.. Things break easier.. Odd how a simple helpful post about what someone has figured out turns into someone always knowing better about children of all things.. Keep it to yourselves if it doesn't relate to the conversation at hand.. Blogging etiquette 101..

I enjoyed the tips and some of those in the comments section.. And plan on trying them thank you for taking the time to share!

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Pokefan

I haven't tried any of these remedies, but I just lathered soap into the disc and wiped it off with a glasses cleaning cloth and then rinsed it off with HOT water and it doesn't work perfectly, but now it starts to load. :) Also, has anyone tried non-stick spray for frying pans? Just an idea. Please tell me if it works. I would try it, but my mom doesn't have any... :(

Guest's picture
Guest

I have not tried Brasso but have tried plastic cleaner and polish made for cleaning scratches for the car. I think this only fills in the scratches though. Say I use Brasso that takes that top layer off. And a yr. later I have more scratches (just saying) can I use it again. I'd love all of my CD's to look new again even if they only have a few scratches now. Is that a bad idea as should they be 95% ruined?? Thanks!!

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Tiffany

Thanx the brasso worked! I have a performance disk(irreplaceable, but completly non-reading) that was found wedged under the seat of car where it slides along the metal, and looked hopeless. I now have 1.5 songs playing after only brasso and I am going to try the other methods to see if it will polish up a little. I am happy enough with what I have now though, great idea!

Guest's picture
AndrewKehoe

I went to an auction, and bought a bunch of dvds. it looks like the previous owner may have used the discs as a serving dish for their cat? idk.. But anyway, i only picked a couple of the discs out i want to keep and the rest i'll take to a buy/sell/trade place and trade them for store credit for other dvds i want. so... I NEED TO COMPLETELY REMOVE ALL SCRATCHES FROM DISC. I don't want them to "just play so I can watch them." No. I don't care. I want them to look new so I can trade them off and the store wont take scratched discs. I have over 400 movies here to "fix" What can i do to make them look NEW? THANK YOU

Guest's picture
Robert

These are very good tips. I have used toothpaste before and it did work on some game disc of mine. I have yet to try brasso, but I am going to pick some up since that seems like the wisest choice for removing scratches. My kids scratch their DVD's up sometimes, so I found a different approach to repairing the disc-- that is, to simply copy the DVD disc so you have backups in case one where to get badly scratched. That way you wouldn't have to worry about fixing the scratches. You can do this without much difficulty. Here's a hub that shows people how to do it with images, it might be helpful to people who are confused about the whole process.
http://jponline.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Copy-DVD-Movies-And-Burn-Them-to... Obviously this doesn't work for game disc, but works excellent for making backup copies for DVDs.
The banana method surprised me. My first thought was bull----. I had no idea about it. Next time I get a scratched disc I'm going to try it. Toothpaste has saved my disc quite a few times, but sometimes it can be a temporary solution and based in my own experience you will have to apply some more to the disc that is badly scratched in a few to several months later. I've had a disc before that was badly scratched, and did the toothpaste method. Two years later and they still work, but these disc I'm referring to are game disc and they haven't been heavily played. I've had a disc that was extremely horribly scratched, and I had to apply the toothpaste again in a couple of months to get them to work again.

Using the brasso method, I'm curious as how long the disc will last? I'm guessing a lot longer then a heavy played toothpaste-fixed disc? I think I'm going to go buy some brasso now as the method has really picked my curiosity.

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David Cornwall- Edingleigh

When I see scratches on CDs I scold my children. After I cut the CD into pieces and boil them for 6 minutes in water with a dash of vinegar. Then I put them into a microwave on thaw level for 3 minutes. After that I lightly fry in olive oil for 3 minutes. Then I put all the pieces together using duct tape. When I put in the CD player and press play the CD doesn't work.

Guest's picture
Guest

Try cleaning it first with dish soap & water.

Many oils have nearly the same refractive index as the plastic. I've had good luck with all but the worst scratches with Pledge or olive oil. You want a very thin film. Like try to wipe it all off with a soft lint free cloth.

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Guest

I'm never going to try this so there! You may think these are good but other people don't.

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Mawai

Does any of this work on ps1 disks??
I tried the toothpaste on my disc (Crash Bandicoot, warped) and it did nothing!

Any tips??