How To Fix a Scratched Disc Like a PRO

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How to Fix a Scratched CD

Three Methods:

Scratches and scuffs on CDs are very annoying - your favorite CD is now skipping the best songs, or maybe you're dealing with potentially losing an important document or program. You can find so many suggestions on the Internet about how to fix this problem, but we've found the very best three and have collected them here. Polishing the CD with a little might be all you need, and if that doesn't work, try using an or coating the CD with .

Quick Summary

1. Choose a basic toothpaste.
2. Apply toothpaste to the scratch.
3. Use your finger to polish the CD.
4. Clean the CD with warm water and dry with a soft cloth.

Did this summary help you?


Using Toothpaste

  1. Choose a basic toothpaste.There's no need for the sparkles, swirls, and exotic flavors of some oral care products. Instead, opt for a basic white paste to polish your CD. All types of toothpaste contain enough abrasive minerals to get the job done!
    • Basic toothpastes are cheaper than their flashier alternatives. This can be especially helpful if you have several CD's to polish.
  2. Apply toothpaste to the CD surface.Squeeze a small dab of toothpaste onto the scratched surface of your CD and spread it evenly over the surface of the CD with your finger.
  3. Polish the CD.Using a radial motion, slowly work the toothpaste around the CD. Start at the center and move in a straight line outward.
  4. Clean and dry the CD.Run the CD under some warm water and rinse thoroughly. Then, using a soft, clean cloth, dry the CD and double check to make sure you've removed all traces of toothpaste or moisture.
    • After you've cleaned and dried the CD, use a soft cloth to buff the surface of the CD.

Polishing with Abrasive Compounds

  1. Decide which compound you will use.A number of common household products can be used to polish the CD, but 3M rubbing compound and Brasso are probably the most tried and true. You can also use fine-grit polishing compounds designed for cars or hard finishes.
    • If you're using Brasso, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated area, and avoid breathing in the fumes. Always read the safety instructions and warnings on any chemical product as many (such as rubbing alcohol) are flammable and/or can cause skin, eye, or respiratory irritation.
  2. Apply the polishing compound to a cloth.Put a small amount of 3M compound or Brasso on a soft, clean, lint-free cloth. An old shirt or an eyeglass-cleaning cloth will both work well.
  3. Polish the CD.Use a gentle, radial motion, to rub the compound into the scratch. Start at the center and rub out to the edge, like spokes on a wheel. Do this 10 or 12 times all around the CD. Try to focus your efforts solely on the scratch or scratches that you have identified.
    • When polishing the disc, make sure to lay the disc on a flat, firm surface that's non abrasive. Data is stored on the foil or dye layers on the top of the disc (label side) and the protective top layer can easily be scratched or perforated. Pressing a disc on too soft a surface may crack it or cause it to de-laminate.
    • Rubbing in a circular motion (as opposed to a radial motion) can cause small scratches that throw off the laser tracking system in the player.
  4. Remove the polishing product from the disc.Rinse the disc thoroughly with warm water and let it dry. Make sure to remove all of the compound and let the disc dry completely before trying to play it. With Brasso, wipe off excess product and let the rest dry. Then, using a clean cloth, gently wipe the disc again.
  5. Test the disc.If the problem persists, polish again for up to 15 minutes, or until the scratch is almost completely buffed out. The surface around the scratch should begin to look shiny with many tiny scratches. If you still do not notice any difference after polishing for a few minutes, the scratch may be extremely deep, or you may be polishing the wrong scratch.
    • If the disc is still not operational, take the disc to a trained professional at a gaming store or CD repair shop.

Finishing With Wax

  1. Determine whether or not wax is an option.Sometimes you’ll need to physically remove plastic from the disc by polishing. However, removing a lot of plastic can affect the refractive property of the lens making the data unreadable. Waxing scratches is useful because even though the defects are visible to your eye, the laser sees around/through them.
  2. Wax the scratches.Apply a very thin coat of Vaseline, chap-stick, liquid car wax, neutral shoe polish, or furniture wax to the CD’s playing surface. Let the wax sit in the scratches for a few minutes—remember, the idea is for the wax to fill in the scratch so it can be read again.
  3. Wipe away the excess wax.Using a clean, soft, lint-free cloth, wipe in a radial (inside-to-outside) motion. If using wax, follow the manufacturer’s instructions (some need to dry before you wipe them off, while others should be wiped off while still wet).
  4. Test the disc again.If the wax or Vaseline does the trick, burn a new disc immediately. The waxing method is only a temporary solution meant to get the CD working long enough to transfer the data to a computer or new disc.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Is it true that CDs can be repaired with a banana?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Sliced fresh banana can clean up minor smudges and scratches on a CD. Rub a banana slice over the CD and wipe it off with the inside of the banana peel. Then use a clean cotton cloth to wipe down the CD.
  • Question
    How do I know how deep the scratches are?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    By observing the scratches with your eyes, you should be able to see how deep they are. (The reflection of the light will be a clue.)
  • Question
    How do I get the scratches off my DVD?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The methods for a scratched CD will work for a DVD as well.
  • Question
    If my DVD gets too many scratches, will it become unfixable?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If the scratches are bad, yes. It's more about how deep the scratches are than how many there are.
  • Question
    Can I use any kind of toothpaste for repairing DVD scratches?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Use paste instead of a gel because it is grittier.
  • Question
    How do I fix a deeply cut CD?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can’t. However, if you take it to a professional, they may be able to copy the information onto another disk.
  • Question
    How do I fix a game disc?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    I used the toothpaste method for my Just Dance 2 game with heavily used toothpaste and it worked perfectly.
  • Question
    Can I use Windex to repair the scratches on a CD?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can, but it might not work as the other methods.
  • Question
    Can I copy music on a DVD disc?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, but you will only be able to play it on a DVD player.
  • Question
    Will the toothpaste destroy the laser?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No. Remember, you're removing the toothpaste before you try playing the CD again.
Unanswered Questions
  • Not only is my disc not playing properly, but has a static all though the recording now that wasn't there bofore, and so far none of these have helped. Any idea what this could be?
  • Whats the scientific principle behind the solution to scratched CD?
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  • To avoid damage, always hold the CD by the sides.
  • Severely damaged CDs may not be salvageable. Very deep scratches and cracks that reach the CD's foil will make the CD useless. In fact, the Disc Eraser uses foil damage to render CD's and DVD's unreadable!
  • Practice repairing scratched CD's that you do not care much about before you set out to repair your favorites.
  • Try using a dry "Mr. Clean Magic Eraser" to remove scratches. Use light pressure, wiping from the center of the disk to the outside edge just as described with other polishing methods. The repaired area can be buffed until shiny using the other polishing or waxing techniques described.
  • It is a good idea to create a backup of any data disc before damage occurs.
  • If the CD is irreparable, use it as a coaster for your beverages! See how to reuse old CD's for lots more great ideas.
  • Xbox discs can usually be returned directly to Microsoft and replaced for around .
  • Instead of toothpaste, consider using peanut butter. The oily viscosity of peanut butter makes for an effective polishing compound. Make sure it's the smooth kind!
  • Make sure if you are using the toothpaste method, that the toothpaste does not have any crystals or minerals in it-- make sure it is the original white kind.
  • You can use an iPad or iPhone cleaning cloth, instead of a eyeglass cleaner.


  • To prevent damage to your CD player, make sure that CD's are completely dry and free of excess polishing products or waxes before you attempt to play them.
  • Do not apply solvents to CD surfaces as it changes the chemical composition of the polycarbonate substrate resulting in an opaque finish and an unreadable disc!
  • Understand that any CD repair method may cause additional damage. Make sure to follow the steps carefully.
  • If you hold the CD up to a bright light to check for holes in the foil layer, remember not to stare at the light for too long. A 60-100 Watt bulb should be more than enough to see pinholes in the foil layer. Do not use the sun!

Things You'll Need

  • Clean, soft, lint-free cloth (microfiber cloths are excellent)
  • Water (or rubbing alcohol)
  • Brasso metal polisher, fine polishing compound or toothpaste
  • Liquid car wax or Vaseline
  • Cotton gloves or plastic food-handling gloves (they make it easier to handle CDs and not leave fingerprints)

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