Remove Scratches from CD or DVD compact disc?

Dennis Faas's picture

After sending out three newsletters last week that dealt with watching downloading movies on a DVD player / entertainment system, I received two (somewhat related) questions from Infopackets Readers over the weekend. The first question comes from Reader Manny K., who writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Please forgive me if my question has already been answered in your newsletter; however, I'm a tad curious if you happen to know whether or not those do-it-yourself DVD/CD scratch repair schemes actually work? I'm not talking the those repair kits you buy at the electronic stores -- I'm talking about the rumors you read online the 'net about using Turtle Wax [car polish] or tooth paste to 'buff out' those nasty surface scratches on a DVD/CD. I've personally tried two of the store-bought kits: one that removes a very fine layer of plastic from the disc [thereby removing small surface scratches]; the other kit is one that you rotate using a crank and spray the surface of the disc with a solution in order to fill the scratches. With the results I've had from either of these kits, I'm sure a damp cloth would have equally produced the same result. Do you know of a cheap, safe, and effective way to better repair a scratched CD? Thanks for your time! "

The second question is short-but-sweet, and comes from Infopackets Reader Martin D. He writes:

" Would you kindly advise me on the best way to clean DVD discs? Thank you. "

My response:

For general CD/DVD cleaning -- that is, to remove lint and dust particles from a disc (and not scratches), I have used rubbing alcohol or window cleaning solution with great success. Over the years, I've read from many online sources that it is best to wipe the disc beginning from the inner part of the disc to the outer edge using a cotton swab (versus wiping the disc in a circular motion). I suppose the reasoning behind this method is to prevent further damage to the disc in case the cleaning cloth creates more surface scratches; the idea being that since a CD plays in a circular motion, it would better to have scratches across multiple tracks rather than on a single track (close together) as it plays.

As for those CD/DVD repair kits: I've never tried them, and I've never tried toothpaste or Turtle Wax, either. I'm very meticulous about not touching the surface of a disc and taking great care to put it away properly to avoid scratches. But certainly, accidents do happen to the best of us!

Update 2005/08/23: This article has been updated. Click to read Part 2 and Part 3 below:

Remove Scratches from CD or DVD compact disc?, Part 2

Remove Scratches from CD or DVD compact disc?, Part 3

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