How to Repair a Scratched CD

Like if this guide is helpful
How to Repair a Scratched CD

CDs are still relevant for data storage, and those who need to keep these data must know how to repair a scratched CD due to daily wear and tear or accidents. In general, some scratches are less damaging than others. Users can learn how to locate the offending scratch when a CD has many scratches but skips only once. DIY repairs for a scratched CD range from simple to bizarre. While these are worth a try, if all else fails, a professional kit or machine can do the trick. Knowing the several ways to repair a scratched CD allows owners to retrieve valuable data and preserve CDs.

1. Clean the CD

Cleaning a CD first before repairing a scratch eliminates dust, oil, and dirt as causes of the CD malfunction. DIYers should run warm or tap water over the CD to wash away dust. If there is grease or dirt, one can use rubbing alcohol or water with liquid soap, rubbing the dirt or grease off the CD with a finger or a cotton swab. Rubbing should move outward: start from the innermost part of the disc toward the edge. Then, shake off the remaining liquid and air-dry the CD.

2. Test the CD

After cleaning, users can try to play the CD and see if simple cleaning it has solved the problem. Sometimes all it takes is a good rinsing to make a CD functional again.

3. Identify the Scratch

A scratch that runs straight from the centre to the rim is relatively less damaging, while a scratch that follows the direction of the spiral can destroy several consecutive data bits. When a CD has several scratches but only skips in one or two places, DIYers can pinpoint the damaging scratch by identifying one which track the CD skips. The first track of a CD starts near its centre, with the succeeding tracks moving outwards from the centre.

4. Repair the CD with a Light Bulb Heat

One way to repair a scratched CD is to turn on a lamp with a 60-watt incandescent filament bulb, and simply holding the CD towards the lamp-with the recorded side facing the bulb-and rotating the CD slowly around the index finger. The distance of the CD from the lamp is about 10 centimetres and one should only expose the CD to the heat for 20 seconds or less.

5. Repair the CD with Wax

If the light bulb method fails, DIYers can apply a thin coat of furniture wax, neutral shoe polish, liquid car wax, or Vaseline onto the surface of the CD, then wipe the excess wax with a soft, lint-free cloth in an inside-to-outside motion. Some applications need to dry first before wiping off, while some require wiping off while wet.

6. Repair the CD with Toothpaste

As toothpaste contains a gritty substance that can polish a CD surface, it is good for scratches that are not too deep. Squeeze a small amount of basic white toothpaste onto the CD surface and with the fingers, rub the toothpaste in a straight sweeping motion from the centre of the CD to the outside. DIYers can be more thorough in rubbing toothpaste on the badly scratched surface. A thin layer of toothpaste should cover the recorded side of the CD.

Leave the toothpaste to dry before gently rubbing the paste off while rinsing it with running water. Finally, dab a clean, soft cloth on the CD to dry.

7. Repair the CD with a Banana or Peanut Butter

Although may appear bizarre to DIYers, one can also try a banana peel or a peanut butter to fix a scratched CD-and even have enough ingredients left over to make a tasty sandwich. When using a banana, peel the fruit and cut the banana. With circular motions, rub the cut banana onto the surface of the CD. Then with the banana peel, rub the CD in circular motions. Clean the CD with a clean cloth and test if it works.

When using peanut butter, put a smidgen on a dry cloth to polish the surface of the CD in a straight sweeping motion from the centre towards the edges. Let the CD sit overnight so the peanut oil fills in the scratches more effectively. Then, rinse the CD with cold water before patting it dry with a cotton cloth or air-drying.

8. Repair CD with Window Cleaner or Eyeglass Cleaner

Window cleaners and eyeglass cleaners gently clean the CD surface as well as smooth over scratched areas. As good dirt removers, they take away stubborn dirt or stains that may appear as a scratch. When using either of the cleaners, spray the recorded surface of the CD, and wipe it with a clean, soft cloth starting from the centre to the outside.

9. Have a Professional Refinish the CD

If all else fails, and if the CD contains valuable data, owners can take the CD to a music or DVD rental store with a CD refinishing machine that performs well in repairing CDs. Such professional repair only sets back a CD owner a few pounds.

How to Buy CDs and CD Repair Materials

eBay is a varied marketplace, and buyers not only find CDs but also DIY repair items from simple toothpaste to professional CD scratch repair kits. Buyers on the lookout for listings with free postage can save some money, and it is also a good idea to check out listings by top-rated sellers. For more discounted items, visit eBay's Deals page, which updates regularly. DIYers can also post questions on eBay's Talk page to get insights from other members of the site. There are many ways to repair a scratched CD, and DIYers who know them have a better chance of preserving valuable data

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides