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How to save a damaged CD

Updated on June 20, 2011

One of the most significant shortcomings of compact discs that brought to their replacement with the better performing USB pens, memory cards etc. ..., is their tendency to be easily scratched and damaged. In some cases, however, if the scratches are not excessive it is possible to repair the CD with simple do-it-yourself remedies.

In this guide I don’t promise to offer you miraculous ways, but simply try to suggest you the best solutions in the case the CD surface is not too badly damaged.

Before applying any product on the CD, always remember to remove the dust and clean the disc, in fact, the grains of dust are the first cause of scratches on a disc. This is easily done by removing the dust with a microfiber cloth or cotton and then wash it with alcohol or glass cleaner.

The first and the easier option is to try to run the CD on another CD player (especially the ones that can record on a disc): it is possible, indeed, that some CD player is powerful enough to be more precise in reading. If you succeeded, make an immediately a back-up on a new disc.

If this method did not work, you should try to decrease the amount of scratches. In order to do this you need to use a polisher, which with its light abrasive action will remove the scratches. One of the most effective natural polishing is potassium, so you can safely use the peel of a banana: this is the same method used in the past to polish shoes. Take a banana peel and rub it gently on the surface of the disc for about ten minutes. When finished, wash away residues with alcohol and gently dry the surface with a soft cloth.

Another method used is with the toothpaste: apply a small amount of toothpaste on a soft cloth and spread it on the entire CD surface, then, rub it gently for ten minutes, afterwards, wash away residues with alcohol and gently dry the surface with a soft cloth. Be careful not to use too much force, otherwise you risk making the situation worse.

The last method is identical to the first two, but this time you will use a professional polisher product, like for example a polisher for cars or for the phone display scratches. A few drops are enough followed by a light massage for about ten minutes. Warning: professional products are more abrasive than toothpaste so be very delicate.


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    • satomko profile image

      Seth Tomko 6 years ago from Macon, GA

      Thanks for the practical advice. I'd not heard of using toothpaste before, so I'll have to try it next time I have a damaged CD.