How to Restore a CD


If a CD or CD-ROM gets scratched, it often becomes unplayable. Don't write off your favorite album or computer game yet, though.

Moderately Easy


Things You'll Need

  • Commercial Disc-repair Solution
  • Very Mild Abrasive Cleaner
  • Mild Soap Such As Dishwashing Liquid
  • Soft Cloth
    • 1

      Clean your disc so that you can see where the scratches are. Holding the disc by its edges, wash it with mild soap and water and pat it dry (don't rub it or you'll make more scratches). Sometimes this is enough to make a disc playable again.

    • 2

      Examine the clean disc carefully under a good light. Scratches that are likely to affect disc play run parallel to the edge of the disc. Vertical scratches that run between the center hole and the edge are usually not a problem.

    • 3

      For minor scratches, carefully clean the clear plastic that protects the aluminum inside the disc. Use a soft, damp cloth and a small amount of very mild abrasive cleaner--plain white toothpaste, metal cleaner or plastic cleaner. The key is not to make new scratches. When polishing or cleaning, always rub gently from the inside of the disc to the outside (see illustration). That way, any scratches you make will be the harmless vertical kind.

    • 4

      After wiping away a scratch, clean the disc again, let it dry and try playing it again. If it still skips, repeat the process.

    • 5

      If your disc is severely scratched, try using a combination abrasion and waxing technique with a commercial disc-repair solution.

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