Fixing Scratched CDs, DVDs and Game Discs

Some folks swear by those expensive commercial repair kits. Some folks swear by Brasso. Or even toothpaste.

Funny how some people get married to commercial CD repair kits. Over the years, I’ve bought them, tried them, and discarded every last one. Even the holy Disc DR. Yeah, it used to work great, back in the late 90’s when it first came out and used a more abrasive sanding wheel, but today it does little more than wipe away dirt. The abrasive wheels are too fine to remove serious scratches. Besides, they wear out after a couple of discs, which is probably by design, so consumers (an apt word) can go out and buy more. What a rip-off!

So I took a Metals class over the summer and learned more than I thought possible about sanding and polishing. We had to do some resin casting, so I got caught up on polishing plastics, too. Learning from people who do this stuff for a living is really the way to go.

Anyhow, I’m done with Brasso. It dries too slowly. Quite often, it would leave discs hazy, which is hard for a laser to read through. Some of the plastic polishers on the market also leave CDs hazy, which is to say that they’re not all created equal.

Use toothpaste on your teeth. Don’t spend a dime on mechanical or electric cleaners and polishers–it’s a scam! Manufacturers can’t make devices abrasive enough for fear of litigation, so all you’ll end up with is something that does the same thing as a squirt of Windex and an old T-shirt!

The WORST scratch I’ve EVER seen was made by an X-Box 360 on my kid’s Gears of War disc. We threw away the last game his X-Box scratched (Oblivion), because I didn’t know how to fix SERIOUS scratches–I was still using Brasso back then. But I fixed this last one, and if I can fix an X-Box 360-scratched disc, I can fix anything. The X-Box 360 can gouge DEEP circumferential scratches that are a bear to remove.

I also get a lot of CDs and DVDs from the local library. Many are scratched too badly to play or rip. I’m always able to fix them myself.

I use three grades of 3M wet-dry emery paper: 1500, 2000, and 2500. These papers do not polish CDs–they remove scratches by sanding the entire surface down. For final polishing, I use Meguiar’s PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish.

I use 1500-grit on BADLY scratched surfaces. A bad X-Box 360 disc might require 1000-grit, if you want things to go a little faster. Otherwise, I start with 2000-grit.

You buy the emery paper in sheets from auto supply joints, and cut little pieces off as needed (roughly 1/2 inch by 2 inches). The stuff wears down after a few CDs, and you’ll want fresh pieces to keep things moving quickly.

You may have heard that you’re only supposed to sand or polish radially-- between the circumference and center of the disc. That’s wrong.

In practice, sanding and polishing are done with perpendicular movements and increasingly finer grades of emery paper. You sand in one direction with a rough paper, then sand in a perpendicular direction with a finer paper, repeating this until you’ve got the finish you desire. On a CD or DVD, it looks like this:

I let my emery paper soak in the sink for a few minutes before using it. I clean my work area off, then wet it. You wet the disc, and set it label side down on a wet surface.

After judging the severity of the scratches, I pick an emery paper that will do the rough work. Most often, this is 2000-grit. I will sand somewhat circumferentially around the disc. You can only sand comfortably in straight lines, thus the pattern you see above.

After working the scratches out with the rough paper, I switch to something finer–usually 2500-grit. Then a sand in a direction roughly perpendicular to the last bit of work. This is important–sanding and polishing has to be done with subsequently finer abrasives working in a crisscross pattern. Above is the roughly radial direction I work in.

After the 2500-grit, I towel-dry the disc and move to a dry work place. I put the disc label-side down on a piece of clean paper, then apply three or four small drops of Meguiar’s PlastX. Using a clean scrap of old cotton T-shirt, I polish in the circumferential pattern you see above–it’s fast and effective. The cool thing is that you don’t have to leave the Meguiar’s to dry on the disc–it’s not like waxing the car. You basically polish until your cloth has absorbed all the excess goop and the disc is bright & shiny, which doesn’t take long at all.

Since I always polish the same way, I have to think backwards through each step when choosing my initial grade of emery paper–I need to know which direction to sand in, so I can crisscross with every subsequent step.

Written down this way, it sounds like a terrible bit of effort. In reality, it’s five to ten minutes per disc, depending upon how bad the damage is.

You want to make sure you get a good polish on your discs, all the way out to the outermost edges. Don’t leave any haziness (from the wet sanding) behind, or you may have trouble reading & ripping later.

I use the Meguiar’s because it never leaves a hazy residue on the plastic, the way some other plastic polishers (including Brasso) often do.

There is no mechanical or electric CD scratch remover on the market that can do what you can do with your own two hands and a little emery paper. Serious scratches require more abrasive action than is available with any commercial product. Seriously, every last one is a money-wasting rip-off.

The Meguiar’s costs a few bucks and will last you the rest of your life. 3M wet-dry emery paper is very cheap. Don’t settle for other brands, as the abrasive may come off when the paper gets wet, which defeats the entire purpose of wet sanding, doesn’t it?

Emory paper is made to very high grades (up to 8000-grit, if memory serves), but these can only be had from suppliers who deal with jewelers and other artists. Besides, you don’t really need anything finer than 2500 or 3000-grit for work with plastics.

CDs and DVDs and console discs are all the same when it comes to fixing scratches. If you can fix one, you can fix them all. DVDs and console discs are more susceptible to error when scratched, because the data is packed in tighter physical spaces–a little scratch can obscure a LOT of data.

As I’ve said, the worst scratches I’ve seen are made by the X-Box 360. I suspect the laser lens is coming in direct contact with a spinning disc. I’ve started working these scratches out with 1000 or 1500-grit emery paper.

Scratches on the data side of a disc aren’t as serious as scratches on the label side. A disc’s data layer is closer to the label side than the other. For this reason, a good scratch on the label side can permanently destroy any disc–no amount of sanding or polishing can repair physical damage to the data layer.

That’s everything I can think of. I fix a LOT of discs, and I’d like to think I’ve pretty much got it down to a science at this point.

So go fix some scratches already!

[cdfreaks doesn’t allow late editing, so I’m posting an update as a reply]

[B]Fixing Scratched CDs, DVDs and Game Discs[/B]

Some folks swear by those expensive commercial repair kits. Some folks swear by Brasso. Or even toothpaste.

Funny how some people get married to commercial CD repair kits. Over the years, I’ve bought them, tried them, and discarded every last one. Even the holy Disc DR. Yeah, it used to work great, back in the late 90’s when it first came out and used a more abrasive sanding wheel, but today it does little more than wipe away dirt. The abrasive wheels are too fine to remove serious scratches. Besides, they wear out after a couple of discs, which is probably by design, so consumers (an apt word) can go out and buy more. What a rip-off!

I took a Metals class over the summer and learned more than I thought possible about sanding and polishing. We also did some resin casting, so I got caught up on polishing plastics, too. Learning from people who do this stuff for a living is really the way to go.

Anyhow, I’m done with Brasso. It dries too slowly. Quite often, it would leave discs hazy, which is hard for a laser to read through. Some of the plastic polishers on the market also leave CDs hazy, which is to say that they’re not all created equal.

Use toothpaste on your teeth. Don’t spend a dime on mechanical or electric cleaners and polishers—it’s a scam! Manufacturers can’t make devices abrasive enough for fear of litigation, so all you’ll end up with is something that does the same thing as a squirt of Windex and an old T-shirt!

The WORST scratch I’ve EVER seen was made by an X-Box 360 on my kid’s Gears of War disc. We threw away the last game his X-Box scratched (Oblivion), because I didn’t know how to fix SERIOUS scratches—I was still using Brasso back then. But I fixed this last one, and if I can fix an X-Box 360-scratched disc, I can fix anything. The X-Box 360 can gouge DEEP circumferential scratches that are a bear to remove.

I also get a lot of CDs and DVDs from the local library. Many are scratched too badly to play or rip. I’m always able to fix them myself.

I generally use three grades of 3M wet-dry emery paper: 1500, 2000, and 2500. These papers do not polish CDs—they remove scratches by sanding the entire surface down. For final polishing, I use Meguiar’s PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish. Meguiar’s PlastX can often repair minor scratches by itself, without all the sanding—it’s just that good.

I will use 1500-grit on BADLY scratched surfaces, and a bad X-Box 360 disc might even require 1000-grit—unless you want to spend all day sanding. For minor repairs, I start with 2000-grit.

You buy the emery paper in sheets from auto supply joints, and cut little pieces off as needed (roughly 1/2 inch by 2 inches). The stuff wears down after a few CDs, and you’ll want fresh pieces to keep things moving quickly.

You may have heard that you’re only supposed to sand or polish radially— between the circumference and center of the disc. That’s wrong.

In practice, sanding and polishing are done with perpendicular movements and increasingly finer grades of emery paper. You sand in one direction with a rough paper, then sand in a perpendicular direction with a finer paper, repeating this until you’ve got the finish you desire. On a CD or DVD, it looks like this:

Since I always polish the same way, I have to plan backwards from the polishing step to know which direction to start sanding in. That is, each new step crisscrosses the previous step, and I always polish in the roughly circumferential pattern seen above.

I let my emery paper soak in the sink for a few minutes before using it. I clean my work area off, then wet it (the water protects the label side from scratches). You also wet both sides of the disc, and set it label side down on the wet surface.

After judging the severity of the scratches, I pick an emery paper that will efficiently handle the rough work. According to the plan I’ve already developed in my head, I sand in one of the patterns seen above, until I no longer see the worst scratches.

After working the scratches out with the rough paper, I switch to the next finer paper and sand in the other pattern above. Every time you change emery paper, you sand in a different, criss-crossing pattern

After a sanding with fine 2500-grit, I towel-dry the disc and move to a dry work place. I put the disc label-side down on a piece of clean paper, then apply three or four small drops of Meguiar’s PlastX. Using a clean scrap of old cotton T-shirt, I polish in the circumferential pattern you see above—it’s fast and effective. The cool thing is that you don’t have to leave the Meguiar’s to dry on the disc—it’s not like waxing the car. You basically polish until your cloth has absorbed all the excess goop and the disc is bright & shiny, which doesn’t take long at all. Get a good polish on your discs, all the way out to the outermost edges. Use a second, clean scrap of cotton T-shirt if you need it. Don’t leave any haziness (from the wet sanding) behind, or you may have trouble reading & ripping later. I use the Meguiar’s because, if used properly, it never leaves a hazy residue on the plastic, the way some other plastic polishers (including Brasso) often do.

Written down this way, it sounds like a terrible bit of effort. In reality, it’s no more than five to ten minutes per disc, depending upon how bad the damage is.

There is no mechanical or electric CD scratch remover on the market that can do what you can do with your own two hands and a little emery paper. Serious scratches require more abrasive action than is available with any commercial product. Seriously, every last one is a money-wasting rip-off.

The Meguiar’s costs a few bucks and will last you the rest of your life. 3M wet-dry emery paper is very cheap. Don’t settle for other brands, as the abrasive may come off when the paper gets wet, which defeats the entire purpose of wet sanding, doesn’t it?

While emory paper is made to very high grades (up to 8000-grit, if memory serves), these can only be had from suppliers who deal with jewelers and other artists, such as Rio Grande. Besides, you don’t really need anything finer than 2500 or 3000-grit for work with plastics.

CDs and DVDs and console discs are all the same when it comes to fixing scratches. If you can fix one, you can fix them all. DVDs and console discs are more susceptible to error when scratched, because the data is packed in tighter physical spaces—a little scratch can obscure a LOT of data.

As I’ve said, the worst scratches I’ve seen are made by the X-Box 360. I suspect the laser lens is coming in direct contact with a spinning disc. I’ve started working these scratches out with 1000 or 1500-grit emery paper.

Scratches on the data side of a disc aren’t as serious as scratches on the label side. A disc’s data layer is closer to the label side than the other. For this reason, a good scratch on the label side can permanently destroy any disc—no amount of sanding or polishing can repair physical damage to the data layer.

That’s everything I can think of. I fix a LOT of discs, and I’d like to think I’ve pretty much got it down to a science at this point.

So go fix some scratches already!

Nice Thread, sorry I disagree, but I love my Scratch DR. Plus. I get about 70 disk repaired per reel. And I pay less then 5 dollars for replacement kits at Fry’s! :bigsmile:

Good read mate. I’ll make a couple comments:

You said: “CDs and DVDs and console discs are all the same when it comes to fixing scratches. If you can fix one, you can fix them all. DVDs and console discs are more susceptible to error when scratched, because the data is packed in tighter physical spaces–a little scratch can obscure a LOT of data.”

I completely disagree. Backup any 360 game onto a blank DL media and the Blank media will be more effected by the same scratch than the original would. Originals have higher reflectivity and a naturally easier for a laser to read. I don’t know why you think the data is packed tighter, it isn’t because a copy of the game would result in the same amount of data being written in almost the exact same amount of area on the disc.

Which brings me to the next point - why bother continually sanding down the original when it gets scratched? Why not just buy a modchip and install it in the 360 and play backups? If the backup dies, you can easily re burn off the original or work at repairing the backup. Of course, some DVDs you rent from libraries etc would need your sanding to work again so there is some great uses for it.

I personally had a badly scratched original that my sister wanted to work again. I have buffing wheels at work and I took the disc there and carefully used the buffing wheel to take tiny amounts off, just like you would with sand paper. It worked amazingly well. You just have to be careful and always rotate the disc so you don’t make it un even. The final finish was very smooth and shiny. I don’t know how well it’d work on major scratches but the scratches on this disc were radial and made the disc unreadable in spots for all my writers. It was un burnable. After buffing, there was no slowdowns or errors at all in the rip! :slight_smile:

But yeah, my best suggestion is getting modchips for consoles so you don’t have to continually rework the original. Eventually the original will have too much taken off it and won’t work. Plus the replacement cost of blank media is quite cheap. Most likely cheaper than super fine sandpaper and the stuff you use to polish it up.

Still a good guide though - I’d recommend people who aren’t good with stuff like this not to try it lol. They may make more damage than they repair.

Data on DVDs and console discs are written in channels more narrow than that of an audio CD, which is why the same scratch on both types can make a movie skip or crash a game, while the audio CD plays just fine.

Everyone knows this. How else do you think 4.7Gb of data fits in the same physical space as 800Mb? It’s packed in tighter and more susceptible to scratches.

And I would suggest ripping a game console apart and soldering in mod chips is a tad more risky than sanding a CD.

[QUOTE=teh roxxors;1987041] [B]And I would suggest ripping a game console apart and soldering in mod chips is a tad more risky than sanding a CD.[/B][/QUOTE]

Not really true. Games cost 100 bucks a pop brand new here. If it’s a PS2, you wreck two games, you could have gotten a new console. Carefully taking it apart and knowing a bit about soldering etc makes it an easy job that might take a few hours at most. Now risking to mod a PS3, without any instructions on how to open the console up etc is risky and dumb. I always wait for consoles to become cheap and for modchips to be fully tested before taking the plunge. Being able to backup games is important IMO.

Now I just suggest my idea would be easier for most people and is also used more. But you seem to have taken quite harshly to it for some reason. I still think your idea is good for accidents on originals.

Logic would be to mod the console, make kids play backups. Every time they wreck the discs, re-burn to a new blank - easy and requires far less skill. Better than sanding away making the disc thinner each time. If your scratch goes .03 mm deep, you need to take that much plastic off. Do that several times and the disc is going to be almost a 1mm thinner, which is actually a fair bit. But if the original is damaged, your methods are a good idea to resort to.

[QUOTE=teh roxxors;1987041]Data on DVDs and console discs are written in channels more narrow than that of an audio CD, which is why the same scratch on both types can make a movie skip or crash a game, while the audio CD plays just fine.

Everyone knows this. How else do you think 4.7Gb of data fits in the same physical space as 800Mb? It’s packed in tighter and more susceptible to scratches.[/QUOTE]

What are you talking about mate? I am comparing original games to backups on blank media of the same format. An original DL DVD game is pressed, a blank DL DVD is burnt, the data is “packed in” the same amount. Why are you comparing audio CDs to game dual layer DVDs? I didn’t mention a word about audio CDs and they have nothing to do with this.

Whatever your thoughts are about data being “packed tighter” is wrong. They are packed the same on original games and their backups. My point was that the original disc will have more chance to play through the same spot than the blank will because the original has higher reflectivity etc.

People, especially young ones, will perceive only as much as their ego will allow.

I was contrasting the data density of audio CDs and DVDs.

Data is packed tighter on DVDs than on audio CDs.

Fixing scratches on DVDs is the same as fixing scratches on audio CDs. If you can fix one type of disc, you can fix any other.

Most people will have better luck sanding than opening a console and taking a soldering iron to it. I recommend sanding a disc over voiding a warranty. But you kids probably see things differently; I completely understand that.

The Disc DR is a rip-off. You can do the same with a bottle of lens cleaner and soft cloth. Say what you will, it doesn’t remove scratches the way it did when first introduced.

[QUOTE=teh roxxors;1976336]Scratches on the data side of a disc aren’t as serious as scratches on the label side. A disc’s data layer is closer to the label side than the other. For this reason, a good scratch on the label side can permanently destroy any disc—no amount of sanding or polishing can repair physical damage to the data layer.[/quote]This is true for CDs only. Not for DVDs, which have the reflective layer under an additionnal layer of polycarbonate (sandwich structure), unlike CDs. For the record.

Your method is very interesting. But I don’t think that this “Meguiar” polish can be easily found in all parts of the world. :frowning:

[QUOTE=teh roxxors;2063926]People, especially young ones, will perceive only as much as their ego will allow.[/QUOTE]How does it impact the repairing of scratches? :confused:

:stuck_out_tongue: Seriously now, cd pirate was contributing to clarify some parts of your post, which I found somewhat confusing myself. No need to patronize and talk about each others egos. :slight_smile:

[quote=teh roxxors;2063926]People, especially young ones, will perceive only as much as their ego will allow.[/quote] That is uncalled for. Please conduct your discussion without being disrespectful to other members.

You’re all crazy. :bigsmile:

Seriously, for me, Occam’s Razor applies, and what I’ve found is that the simplest route to fixing scratched DVDs is simply cleaning the darn things.

You’d be amazed at how many DVDs I’ve been able to recover by simply giving them a good clean and buff with a soft cotton cloth and 70% rubbing alcohol. A clean and shiny surface does wonders for readability. It’s all about that reflectivity. For me, that works 80% of the time. For the other 20%, that’s when you need to take more drastic measures such as those outlined by the OP.

teh rox,

THANKS for the info, very useful.

I just gave up and bought a simotech disk repair system I have not yet received it, I will post more when I have used it on several disks.)

I tried many different ways to remove scratches from dvd and cd disks.

My biggest dissapointment was purchasing the Skip Dr. Motorized Automax Scratch Repair System.

It DID repair about 10 scratched disks, (I was very impressed!) (along with manual final buff, as per the instructions), then the polishing disk wore out, and I had to buy another polishing disk for 10 bucks at frys.

It fixed a few more disks, then the gear that turns the disk seems to have stripped out.

I have also tried (with mixed results, sometimes success, sometimes no improvement,) the following products:

For polishing and removing scratches
Brasso
Ultra fine Steel Wool
Toothpaste (Arm & Hammer paste!)
Noxon
Kit Scratch out (Auto Scratch removers)
“green pad” scrubbing pads
Nu-Finish (the ONCE A YEAR car polish)
Glass Science Glass Scrub Gel (at wal-mart)
(worked GREAT on my windshield however!)
Comet
Meguiar’s PlasticX

And for coating the CD/DVD to make a shiny surface, I have tried:
Rain-X
Armor all (I think the brand I used was Black Magic)
pledge liquid furniture polish (pourable liquid, not the spray on)
Glass Science Rain Clear (again, it worked GREAT on my windshield!)

And NO, just in case you saw this on the 'net, I have NOT tried peanut butter or bananas!

And I am tired of spending a half hour or more trying to hand polish out scratches.

I have become the MP3 creator for all my friends CD collections, and being the perfectionist that I am (I use EAC .99 beta 4 in secure mode, and LAME beta 3.98 v 7 --preset fast standard) I want to get a perfect MP3 on every track.

While the Simotech is more expensive than I wanted to spend, I can see that I have already spent over a hundred bucks, 5 dollars at a time (with the exception of the skip dr).

I almost bought the Aleratec DVD/CD Disc Repair Plus instead, but I didn’t want to spend yet another 40-50 bucks, and still not have a great solution. The Aleratac did have some good reviews on amazon however.

I read nothing but great reviews about the simotech.

AND, to extend the life of the pads, I am betting that for severely scratched disks, I could use a 3m green kitchen scrubbing pad to hand buff out all the scratches, then use the simotech to polish the disk.

[QUOTE=teh roxxors;2063926]Most people will have better luck sanding than opening a console and taking a soldering iron to it. I recommend sanding a disc over voiding a warranty. But you kids probably see things differently; I completely understand that.

The Disc DR is a rip-off. You can do the same with a bottle of lens cleaner and soft cloth. Say what you will, it doesn’t remove scratches the way it did when first introduced.[/quote]

Well, professionals can mod your consoles for you. I mainly speak about PS2s here, since XBOX360 and PS3 are relatively new. It may soon be that modchips for the new consoles are not needed, only firmware hacks instead. By the time these consoles are figured out, your warranty will have ended and it may be a good idea to think about going down the backup route instead.

Good info teh rox.

OK, I’ve totally changed this thing, but can’t just replace my old posts, because CDFreaks doesn’t allow for the editing of old posts. So here is my most recent version:

[B]Fixing Scratched CDs, DVDs and Game Discs[/B]

Some folks swear by those flashy retail repair kits. Some folks swear by Brasso. Or even toothpaste.

Over the years, I’ve tried every system you’ve ever heard of but given up on every last one–even the holy Disc DR by Digital Innovations. Yeah, the Disc DR used to work great, back in the late 90’s when it first came out and used a more abrasive sanding wheel, but today it has a less abrasive wheel that does little more than wipe off fingerprints. Also, these newer wheels seem to wear out after a couple of discs, which is probably by design, so consumers (an apt word) have to buy more. It’s an ineffective and expensive system.

I’m done with Brasso. It dries too slowly and leaves a film on plastic, which is hard for a laser to read through. Even some polishers specifically marketed for use on plastics may leave a hazy film behind.

Use toothpaste on your teeth. Don’t spend a dime on mechanical or electric cleaners and polishers—it’s a scam! Manufacturers can’t make devices abrasive enough for fear of litigation, so all you’ll end up with is something that does the same thing as a squirt of window cleaner and an old T-shirt!

While studying jewelry and model making, I learned more than I thought possible about sanding and polishing. Casting in resin caught me up on polishing plastics, too. Learning from people who do this stuff for a living is really the way to go.

The WORST scratch I’ve EVER seen was made by an X-Box 360 on my kid’s Gears of War disc. We previously threw away a copy of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, because I didn’t know how to fix SERIOUS scratches at the time. But I fixed this last one, and if I can fix an X-Box 360-scratched disc, I can fix anything. The X-Box 360 can put some NASTY scratches on your games. I also get a lot of CDs and DVDs from the local library. Many are scratched too badly to play or rip. I’m always able to fix them myself.

I generally use 3M wet-dry emery paper in a number of grits, from 600 to 8000. 3M has micron-graded emery papers that are of especially high quality, and I’m using those now to great effect. As an option for final polishing, I use Meguiar’s PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish. Meguiar’s PlastX can often repair minor scratches by itself, without any sanding—it’s just that good.

You buy 3M emery paper in sheets from auto supply joints, and cut little pieces off as needed (roughly 1/2 inch by 2 inches). The stuff wears down after a few CDs, and you’ll want fresh pieces to keep things moving quickly.

You may have heard that you’re only supposed to sand or polish radially— between the circumference and center of the disc, as seen in pattern A, below. That’s actually pretty good advice to follow.

Most generally, sanding and polishing are done with perpendicular movements and increasingly finer grades of emery paper. You sand in one direction with a rough paper, then sand in a perpendicular direction with a finer paper, repeating this until you’ve got the finish you desire. On a CD or DVD, you might follow pattern A with 2000-grit, pattern B with 3000-grit, pattern A again with 4000-grit, pattern B with 6000-grit, and so on.

Because of the way data is encoded on and read from an optical disc, it is really is best to ALWAYS follow pattern A, above. Otherwise, small circumferential scratches may be left behind to interfere with the normal operation of your CD, DVD, or game player.

I like to polish discs on a smooth, clean countertop, as in a kitchen or bathroom. I clean my work area off, then wet it (the water protects the label side from scratches). I run water over both sides of the disc, and set it label side down on the wet surface. I wet my emery paper soak before using it. Basically, everything needs to stay wet, so try to keep water on the disc as you work.

A 2000-grit emery paper will remove most scratches, but especially bad ones may require the use of 1500, 1000, or even 600-grit paper.

Start with a paper rough enough to remove the worst scratches and follow pattern A, above. If you’re not sure what paper to start with, try 2000-grit and evaluate the results. Slowly rotate the disc with your off hand while sanding back and forth, making at least one full rotation. The worst scratches should disappear after several swipes. If they do not, use a rougher paper, but don’t go below 600-grit. IGNORE ANYTHING 600-GRIT DOES NOT EASILY REMOVE.

After working the scratches out with the rough paper, switch to the next finer paper and continue to follow pattern A, above. Repeat the process using progressively finer grit emery papers for the best results.

Usually, I work all the way up to a micron-graded 8000-grit paper, and finish by drying the disc with a soft towel. If you don’t have anything above 2500 or 3000-grit, or just want the best possible surface, finish the disc off with three or four small drops of Meguiar’s PlastX. Using a clean scrap of old cotton T-shirt, spread the Meguiar’s evenly, then follow pattern A, as when sanding before.

You don’t have to leave the Meguiar’s to dry on the disc—it’s not like waxing the car. You basically polish until your cloth has absorbed all the excess goop and the disc is bright & shiny, which doesn’t take long at all. Get a good polish on your discs, all the way out to the outermost edges. Remove any residue with a second, clean scrap of cotton T-shirt if you need it.

Discs do not necessarily need a mirror finish to function perfectly. They just need to be reasonably free of errant scratches. After repairing a few, you’ll quickly recognize how much work is really required for any given repair.

All this may sound like a terrible bit of effort. In reality, it’s only about five minutes per disc, depending upon how bad the damage is.

While there are a couple of good (and expensive) commercial-grade disc polishers out there, nothing you’ll find at your local retail outlet can do what you can do yourself with your own two hands and a little emery paper. Serious scratches require more abrasive action than is available with any retail product. Seriously, every last one is a money-wasting rip-off.

The Meguiar’s costs a few bucks and will last you the rest of your life. 3M wet-dry emery paper is very cheap. Don’t settle for generic brands, as the abrasive may come off when the paper gets wet, which defeats the entire purpose of wet sanding, doesn’t it?

Auto supply and other retail outlets carry the coarser emery papers, while extremely fine emery paper is sold by outfits that deal with jewelers and other artists, such as Rio Grande and Micro-Mark.

CDs, DVDs, and console discs are all the same when it comes to fixing scratches. If you can fix one, you can fix them all. However, damaged DVD and console discs may need a finer polish than do damaged audio CDs. Data channels on DVD and console discs are much, much smaller than on audio CDs. Because of this, scratches on DVD and console discs may require a higher level of repair than would the very same scratches on an audio CD. It’s rather like comparing a scratch on one’s eyeglasses to a scratch on a window across the room: one scratch obscures your view more than the other.

With audio CDs, scratches on the data side (the shiny, reflective side) aren’t as serious as scratches on the label side. You’re able to sand the working face of a disc because it is simply a rather thick layer of plastic. In an audio CD, the actual data layer is closer to the label than the other side. For this reason, a good scratch on the label side can permanently destroy a disc.

That’s everything I can think of. By sharing my experience, I hope to save you time and money should you ever need to restore your own DVDs, console, or audio discs.

So go fix some scratches already!

He’s right about the higher data density of DVD’s. It’s a simple concept and if this is beyond anyone’s comprehension, don’t try to act like you know what your talking about.
Let me point out one more simple idea here. If you can fix your sctratched disc with alcohol or some glass cleaner then, guess what, it wasn’t scratched in the first place. If that concept is beyond your understanding then you clearly have no business offering anybody advice on this subject.

@[B]MC808[/B]: Nobody here has attacked you, so I advise you to use a more repectful tone towards other members in this thread and on these forums and not try to pick a fight. :cop:

[QUOTE=MC808;2097817]If you can fix your sctratched disc with alcohol or some glass cleaner then, guess what, it wasn’t scratched in the first place. [/QUOTE]Not true. :disagree:

Some slight scratches may cause reading issues only when combined with a dirty surface, issues that may well disappear when simply cleaning the disc. I have personally experienced what negritude mentions rather often.

Besides, cotton combined with isopropanol can be abrasive enough to make light scratches disappear without resorting to more harsh treatments. That’s also something I have first hand experience with.

Several hundred repairs later, and I’m going to update this again. Peace & chicken grease.

[B]Fixing Scratched CDs, DVDs and Game Discs[/B]

Some folks swear by certain retail repair kits. Some folks swear by Brasso. Or even toothpaste.

Over the years, I’ve tried every system you’ve ever heard of but given up on every last one–even the holy Disc DR by Digital Innovations. Yeah, the Disc DR used to work great, back in the late 90’s when it first came out and used a more abrasive sanding wheel, but today it has a less abrasive wheel that does little more than wipe off fingerprints. Also, these newer wheels seem to wear out after a couple of discs, which is probably by design, so consumers (an apt word) have to buy more. It’s an ineffective and expensive system.

Brasso dries too slowly and often leaves a film on plastic, which is hard for a laser to read through. Even some other polishers specifically marketed for use on plastics may leave a hazy film behind.

Use toothpaste on your teeth. Don’t spend a dime on mechanical or electric cleaners and polishers you find in retail stores. Those manufacturers can’t make devices abrasive enough for fear of litigation, so all you’ll end up with is something that does the same thing as a squirt of window cleaner and an old T-shirt!

The WORST scratch I’ve EVER seen was made by an X-Box 360 on my kid’s Gears of War disc. We previously threw away a copy of The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, because I didn’t know how to fix SERIOUS scratches at the time. But I fixed this last one, and if I can fix an X-Box 360-scratched disc, I can fix anything. I also get a lot of CDs and DVDs from the local library. Many are scratched too badly to play or rip. I’m always able to fix them myself.

I generally use 3M wet-dry emery paper in a number of grits, from 1000 to 8000. 3M has micron-graded emery papers that are of especially high quality, and I’m using those now to great effect. As an option for final polishing, I use Meguiar’s PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish. Meguiar’s PlastX can often repair minor scratches by itself, without any sanding—it’s just that good.

You buy 3M emery paper in sheets from auto supply joints, and cut little pieces off as needed (roughly 1/2 inch by 2 inches). Some of the micron-graded papers wear down after a few CDs, and you’ll want fresh pieces to keep things moving quickly.

You may have heard that you’re only supposed to sand or polish radially— between the circumference and center of the disc, as seen in pattern A, below. That’s actually pretty good advice to follow.

Most generally, sanding and polishing are done with perpendicular movements and increasingly finer grades of emery paper. You sand in one direction with a rough paper, then sand in a perpendicular direction with a finer paper, repeating this until you’ve got the finish you desire. On a CD or DVD, you might follow pattern A with 2000-grit, pattern B with 3000-grit, pattern A again with 4000-grit, pattern B with 6000-grit, and so on.

Because of the way data is encoded on and read from an optical disc, it is really is best to ALWAYS follow pattern A, above. Otherwise, small circumferential scratches may be left behind to interfere with the normal operation of your CD, DVD, or game player. When stepping up from one emery paper to the next finer paper, you may want to vary the angle a little, but avoid anything like pattern B while sanding.

I like to polish discs on a smooth, clean countertop, as in a kitchen or bathroom. I clean my work area off, then wet it (the water protects the label side from scratches). I run water over both sides of the disc, and set it label side down on the wet surface. I wet my emery paper soak before using it. Basically, everything needs to stay wet, so try to keep water on the disc as you work.

A 2000-grit emery paper will remove most scratches, but especially bad ones may require the use of 1500 or even 1000-grit paper.

Start with a paper rough enough to remove the worst scratches and follow pattern A, above. If you’re not sure what paper to start with, try 2000-grit and evaluate the results. Slowly rotate the disc with your off hand while sanding back and forth, making at least one full rotation. The worst scratches should disappear after several swipes. If they do not, use a rougher paper, but don’t go below 1000-grit. IGNORE ANYTHING 1000-GRIT DOES NOT EASILY REMOVE.

After working the scratches out with the rough paper, switch to the next finer paper and continue to follow pattern A, above. Repeat the process using progressively finer grit emery papers for the best results. Usually, I work all the way up to a micron-graded 8000-grit paper, and finish by drying the disc with a soft towel. At the very least, work up to 2500-grit emery paper.

Using a clean scrap of old cotton T-shirt, spread the Meguiar’s PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner & Polish evenly. Polish following pattern A, making a couple full revolutions around the disc, then use pattern B with a very light pressure. Don’t let the Meguiar’s dry on the disc. Instead, polish until your cloth has absorbed all the excess goop and the disc is bright, shiny, and somewhat wet-looking. Finally, remove any residue with a second, clean microfiber cloth or scrap of cotton T-shirt. Get a good polish on your discs, all the way out to the outermost edges. If the disc looks hazy, it may not play or rip well–go over it with the Meguiar’s again if that should happen.

Discs do not necessarily need a mirror finish to function perfectly. They just need to be reasonably free of errant scratches. After repairing a few, you’ll quickly recognize how much work is really required for any given repair.

All this may sound like a terrible bit of effort. In reality, it’s only about five minutes per disc, depending upon how bad the damage is.

While there are a couple of good (and expensive) commercial-grade disc polishers out there, nothing you’ll find at your local retail outlet can do what you can do yourself with your own two hands and a little emery paper. Serious scratches require more abrasive action than is available with any retail product.

The Meguiar’s costs a few bucks and will last you the rest of your life. 3M wet-dry emery paper is very cheap. Don’t settle for generic brands, as the abrasive may come off when the paper gets wet, which defeats the entire purpose of wet sanding, doesn’t it?

Auto supply and other retail outlets carry the coarser emery papers, while extremely fine emery paper is sold by outfits that deal with jewelers and other artists, such as Rio Grande and Micro-Mark.

CDs, DVDs, and console discs are all the same when it comes to fixing scratches. If you can fix one, you can fix them all. However, damaged DVD and console discs may need a finer polish than do damaged audio CDs. Data channels on DVD and console discs are much, much smaller than on audio CDs. Because of this, scratches on DVD and console discs may require a higher level of repair than would the very same scratches on an audio CD. It’s rather like comparing a scratch on one’s eyeglasses to a scratch on a window across the room: one scratch obscures your view more than the other.

With audio CDs, scratches on the data side (the shiny, reflective side) aren’t as serious as scratches on the label side. You’re able to sand the working face of a disc because it is simply a rather thick layer of plastic. In an audio CD, the actual data layer is closer to the label than the other side. For this reason, a good scratch on the label side can permanently destroy a disc.

That’s everything I can think of. By sharing my experience, I hope to save you time and money should you ever need to restore your own DVDs, console, or audio discs.

So go fix some scratches already!

Help!! Too much for me to understand. I just need to know which way the reader goes on a dvd? From the center to the edge? I rented a movie and it skips at the beginning. I used peanut butter and it helped a little, but it seems to jump right over this one whole section. I think if I could find which way it reads and focus on that area I may be able to get most of the scratch so I can just see most of this movie. Can anyone help with this? Please.