How to Remove Scratches from a CD or DVD – Having a CD or DVD that suddenly stops playing is not the “privilege” of a few. It is extremely common, after all, the surface of this type of media is delicate and we do not always take the necessary care with the handling.
It is practically impossible to avoid the appearance of scratches on a CD / DVD. In the worst case, the reading is impaired, but there are measures – some safe, some more radical and homemade – to recover a disc you already considered lost.
Simple cleaning with dry cloth
Sometimes the reading of a disc is impaired by fingerprints, grease and other types of dirt. In these cases, a basic cleaning should suffice. Always hold the disc with one finger in the center and others on the edge.
Start with a dry, soft, lint-free cloth. Some examples are microfiber cloths and those for cleaning glasses. Without pressing, move the cloth from the center to the edge of the disc.
CDs and DVDs are recorded in strips, so circular motions around the center of the disc can damage it, greatly impair its reading, and render it unusable.
The dry cloth can also be used on Blu-ray discs.
Water is a possibility
If simple cleaning is not enough, the next step is to use water. Washing a disc does not damage a media as long as care is taken. Use warm water on the disc. If the dirt is quite stubborn, use fingers rather gently to wipe it.
You can use neutral detergent to deepen cleaning or specific cleaning products for mediums. What you should not do is use strong chemicals such as alcohol.
Allow the excess to drain a little and use a soft cloth to dry by always moving it from the center to the edge.
Specialized products and services
In the market, it is not difficult to find solutions for cleaning and recovering discs. They are usually marketed as a kit with the cleaning solution and the apparatus where the disc is cleaned.
In other cases, they are marketed separately. Philips, for example, markets complete kits, solutions, specific clothes already moistened with the solution, etc.
In addition to specific products, you can find media recovery services. They basically use professional cleaning machines. It is not cheaper than trying at home, but it is a possibility in case you are afraid to use some homemade method.
One of the weapons of professional services is polished. It seems cruel to see a disc in such a machine, but the practice is efficient and common in rental companies, for example. So one possibility is to go to a rental company and ask if they can provide the service for you.
Recovery with software
Another possibility is to use specific programs for reading scratched discs. For audio CDs, one of the best options is Exact Audio Copy, which extracts tracks from a CD in different audio formats.
Some disk writing and copying software have settings to correct or ignore read errors. Basically, they try to replace the data that can not be read or they read slowly and repeatedly in an attempt to recover. Then, with new media recorded, the data must be recovered.
Thorough reading for data recovery requires a good read drive. There is a risk of damaging the player if a disc needs to be read extensively, so be careful.
ATTENTION: The methods described below are widely disseminated through the internet and with a good success rate, however, they are recommended only as a last resort. The use of abrasives is not often recommended, only as a last resort. Therefore, if you are successful in recovering a disc, enjoy and make a copy. Follow the instructions carefully and do it at your own risk. We recommend that you test on media that can be “sacrificed” before attempting to clean your favorite disc.
Toothpaste / Baking Soda
The most widespread homemade solution on the internet is toothpaste with sodium bicarbonate. What this polishing does is remove some of the plastic layers, thus leaving the more superficial and therefore easier risks for reading.
Use toothpaste with baking soda. It can not be gel type or contain microparticles. Some apply the paste with a cloth, others use the fingers in movements from the inside to the outside of the disc.
There is no consensus here: many recommend circular motions, others indicate motions in straight lines. By the disc reading system, really circular movements should be avoided.
If the disc is scratched, then apply the entire disc. Otherwise, it is best to clean only the affected area. Then remove excess toothpaste and dry thoroughly.
Other products used for polishing discs are metal polishers (such as Brasso’s old version), fine polish for car polish and sodium bicarbonate itself (a teaspoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of lukewarm water).
Vaseline (temporary solution)
Vaseline is indicated as a temporary solution. Apply it on the disc with a soft, lint-free cloth. Some use furniture wax as well. If you try this method, pay attention to the manufacturers’ instructions for use.
If the disc reading is retrieved, you should make a copy immediately because the petroleum waxing is temporary.
We hope we have helped you with these tips. Until the next tutorial.