How to fix an unreadable cd

Updated March 23, 2017

A CD (compact disc) is an optical disc, which is used exclusively to store digital data such as music files or other types of data files like pictures, for example. CD discs are used in devices such as CD players and radios and other devices that use the CD disc audio format. CD discs can become unreadable, meaning that the CD playing device cannot read the data information stored on the disc, rendering it unplayable. This can occur because of dirt, which may be covering the readable side of the disc or because of scratches. These two problems can be remedied with some products that are easy to attain.

Handle the CD by inserting your finger into the middle hole of the CD disc. Do not touch the readable (shiny) surface of the disc, as this could leave more smudges and dirt, which will further impede the transfer of readable data.

Apply a small amount of dish detergent onto a non abrasive hand towel. Wipe down the readable surface of the disc with the towel.

Rinse off any dirt, grease, grit and other debris using warm water. In addition, make sure to rinse off all dish detergent residue from the CD with the warm water.

Dry off the CD by blotting it with a nonabrasive hand towel.

Squeeze some toothpaste (the white, chalk-based type) onto the readable side of the CD disc.

Using a straight, middle of the CD to outer edge pattern, rub the toothpaste over the scratches with a nonabrasive hand towel. Whatever you do, do not use a circular pattern while rubbing, as this could render the disc completely useless. This will make the uneven scratches smooth.

Let the toothpaste settle for about 5 minutes.

Rinse off the CD disc with warm water, removing any remaining amounts of toothpaste residue.

Dry the CD with a nonabrasive hand towel, using the blotting method.

Things You'll Need

  • CD disc
  • White chalk-based toothpaste
  • Nonabrasive hand towels
  • Dish detergent
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Jason Candanedo is currently a student at Empire State College, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in social theory, social structure and change. He has been writing since August 2008 on his political blog and since September 2009 as a freelance writer for various websites.