Considering the fragility of their appearance, CDs are pretty durable. However, if you've been less than careful with audio discs in your auto, or if you've scratched the disc that holds a year's worth of accounting data, you may be looking for a quick fix. Before you try any scratch remover, attempt a good cleaning. Often it's the dirt, not the scratches, that is preventing proper play and data retrieval.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Mild dish detergent
- Lens cloths
- Rubbing alcohol
- Baking soda toothpaste (not gel)
- Auto wax
Clean the disc. Run the disc under warm water or soak it in warm sudsy water and then rinse it. Shake off the excess water and dry it with a lens cloth, wiping out from the centre of the disc, not in a circular motion. Test your audio CD in your player or pop the data disc in your computer. If it works, you solved the problem. If not, proceed to the next step.
Apply a few drops of full-strength rubbing alcohol to the disc and wipe it with a lens cloth. Use the same outward motion you did before. If this doesn't rectify the CD playability, proceed to scratch repair.
Attempt to play (or read) the disc on your computer. While the disc may not play on your audio system, your computer may be better equipped to read the tracks. If it can read the tracks, burn a new disc from the old one, or at least upload the disc to your hard drive before you attempt a scratch fill or polish.
Look at the disc to see if you can pinpoint the scratches. Scratches that run along the tracks are generally more difficult to fix than those that run across the tracks.
Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the lens cloth and rub the paste into the offending scratches. Run the cloth back and forth (not circular) several times, reapplying the toothpaste if necessary.
Rinse the disc under warm water and dry it with a clean lens cloth.
Wax the disc. If your disc still doesn't work, you can try to fill the scratches with auto wax using the same procedure you did with the toothpaste. If this yields success, burn a new disc from the repaired one because the wax will wear off and the scratch will resurface.
Tips and warnings
- Another product that works well on disc scratches is Brasso.
- Particularly if your disc contains irreplaceable data, back up what you can onto your computer or another disc before you attempt any self repair. You may also want to consider professional disc repair.
- If you find yourself in frequent need of disc repair, you can purchase an inexpensive CD refinishing machine.
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