Save Your Scratched CDs
June 9, 2009CDs are no longer the high-value items they once were. It's no surprise that we've become pretty casual in our handling of these discs, which can lead to scratches that can render them useless.
Amazingly even a disc with deep scratches can be recovered. Try using toothpaste to repair the scratches by applying with a soft cloth. For it to work the paste must have some abrasive in it. Some of the new gel formulas may not be as effective so choose your toothpaste wisely. I've also used cleaning products that have a "scrub" component for polishing surfaces. Something like SoftScrub is idea for this.
Just put a small amount of paste on a soft cloth, and rub firmly on the scratch. You may need to add a few drops of water. This should remove the scratch marks, though it may make the surface of the CD look a bit dull. Repeat using a much lighter touch to restore the shiny surface, then end by buffing with a clean, dry, soft cotton cloth.
For really severe scratches, a rubber pencil eraser can speed the process of smoothing the scratch before you advance to the polishing step.
You can recover CDs even if substantial damage has been done to the bottom surface. This is because the data layer is actually at the top of the disc. You merely need to get the bottom clear enough for the laser and detector to "read" through the plastic layer.