How to Fix a Scratched DVD

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

A compact disc (CD) is a plastic molded disc that contains digital data. The data is scanned onto it by a laser beam [source: Britannica]. A digital video disc (DVD) uses laser technology to read digitalized data that has been encoded on it. Since it uses a digital format, a DVD can store any kind of data, such as movies, images or text [source: Britannica].

As a DVD stores its data externally on a disc it can easily get scratched, which can affect the data. Scratches are a disc's worst enemy. Whether or not a scratched disc can be repaired depends on where the scratch is located. If the scratch is on the top, shiny part of the disc, the disc is not repairable and all the data is lost. If the scratch is on the bottom, plastic part of the disc, you may be able to repair the disc by resurfacing and polishing it. Today, some disc manufacturers are developing scratch-resistant discs. This will eliminate the necessity of trying to repair them [source: TDK]. Professional companies actually advise you to discard any scratched discs [sources: Roksan, Iomega]. However, if you'd like to try to fix the scratches, you may want to follow these instructions.

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  1. Clean the disc with a mild soap and warm water. This will remove any oils and finger marks.
  2. Dry the disc with a lint-free cloth.
  3. Squeeze toothpaste on the disc.
  4. Rub the toothpaste on the disc in a straight motion (not in a circular motion) from the center to the outer edges.
  5. Wash off the toothpaste and dry the disc.

Originally Published: Jun 29, 2011

Fix DVD FAQ

Can a scratched DVD be repaired?
Whether a scratched DVD can be repaired depends on where the scratch is located. If the scratch is on the top, shiny part of the disc, it isn't repairable. If the scratch is on the bottom, plastic part of the disc, you may be able to repair it.
Does Magic Eraser get rid of scratches on a disc?
While some people report that a Magic Eraser has gotten rid of light scratches on a disc, it's risky, as it may actually strip the finish off a disc and leave it useless and unrepairable.
Does toothpaste really fix scratches on a disc?
Yes, toothpaste can be used to remove scratches. Clean the disc with warm water, soap, and a cloth and then dry it, making sure that no lint is left behind. Squeeze toothpaste onto the disc and rub it on the disc in a straight motion from the center out to the edges. Finally, wash off the toothpaste and dry the disc. It should work now!
Does GameStop repair scratched discs?
No, GameStop doesn't offer repairs for anything — consoles, controllers, or discs of any kind.
How much does it cost to repair a DVD disc?
You may be able to find a mom and pop shop that will repair your disc for a few bucks, but if not, your best bet is to purchase a kit or machine. Three great options include: the JFJ One-Step Eyecon, Maxell CD/CD-ROM Scratch Repair Kit, and the SkipDr.

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