Scratches on CDs and DVDs can be a problem. In some cases, even a small shallow scratch can render the disc useless. If you are wondering if there is still a use for your pile of scratched CDs of your favorite music albums, computer and console games, then you’re in luck.
Of course there are many commercial products available on the market; however, you don’t have to spend tons of money just to be able to listen to your favorite Radiohead album again or open that college thesis you burned to a CD years ago. You can easily make them work again by simply using the exisiting items you have in your home.
What You Need:
Scratched CD / DVD. Finding this is very easy since you probably have many of them at home. Just make sure that the recording film / layer is not scratched, torn, or perforated; otherwise, there is no hope for recovering the data stored on it.
Soft Cotton Cloth. An old shirt, a soft hanky, or even your old underwear will do. You can even use the cleaning cloth you usually use for your eyeglasses.
Cleaning Chemicals. No, you don’t have to buy any of these from the hardware store. You simply need any of the following: banana peel, toothpaste (not the gel type), or metal polish (Brasso works very well).
Polishing the CD
Now that you have all the materials ready, just follow these simple steps:
- Start by cleaning the surface of the disc. Run water on the disc. Warm water works best. Gently soap it using a mild detergent or some liquid soap and rub it around the disc to get rid of grime and other stains on the surface. Remember to rub the disc from the center going out. Rubbing it in a circular motion will risk adding even more scratches.
- Wash off the soap and shake the excess water from the disc. Let it air dry. Inspect the surface of the disc when completely dry. You may want to try reading the disc in your player or your computer to see if it already works.
- If it doesn’t, then you will need to further polish the CD using the cleaning chemicals you have. If you will be using the banana peel, get the peeling and rub the inside of the peel on the surface of the CD or DVD. Remember to rub it from the center going outward, focusing more on the heavily scratches on your CD. The same thing goes if you are will be using toothpaste. If you will be using Brasso or some metal polish, make sure you work in a well-ventilated area so that you don’t inhale the fumes. Use the soft cloth to apply the polish.
Rub the cleaning material you have on the disc for about five minutes and wash the the disc completely afterwards. Make sure there isn’t any residue on the surface or the side of the disc. Shake off the excess water and air dry the disc.
- Try reading the disc in the player or your computer again. Some players, like entertainment systems, are very sensitive to scratches. If it does not seem to work, try a different player.
- If the disc works, immediately back up the CD using your burning software and burn it into a new CD or DVD just to be safe. If not, repeat the process again, this time for about 15 minutes.
If it Fails to Read…
A CD or DVD is composed of two materials: the recording film (that shiny reflective layer) and a plastic part. The recording film contains all the data stored on the CD. When a disc gets scratched, only the plastic layer gets scratched.
The scratch removing process merely evens out the scratches by either wearing the surface until it is even, or by filling in the scratches so that the laser from the player can read the surface again; however, when the recording film is the one damaged, you will not be able to recover the data anymore.
The best way to keep scratches from ruining your DVDs is to prevent them from appearing in the first place. Learn how to clean DVDs. Soon, you’ll be able to enjoy all those good movies, games and music again.