Introduction: Re-surfacing CDs So They Work Again.

Picture of Re-surfacing CDs So They Work Again.

A simple way to remove scratches from a cd so you can get your data back off the disc again.

Step 1: Gather Required Materials.

Picture of Gather Required Materials.

First gather the following materials.

- Paper towel (softer is better)
- Polishing cloth (eyeglasses cloth will do fine)
- CD scratched beyond playability (Easy to find)
- Can of Brasso Metal Polish.

Step 2: Add Brasso and Start Polishing!

Picture of Add Brasso and Start Polishing!

Take some of the brasso and pour it onto the CD. Please be careful with the Brasso, and only perform this in a well ventilated area. I was making this guide at at the office, and forgot about the fumes. I had to polish the CD in the stairwell as I would have fumed out my co-workers otherwise.

Use the paper towel pieces to polish the CD. Polishing is ideal in straight strokes from the center of the disk to the outside so you polish perpendicular to the tracks on the disc. Because I was short on time, I used small circular motions similar to how I'd polish a car. Take your time with this. Add Brasso when it dries or gets pushed off the CD. Continue this process for about 15 minutes.

You should feel the abrassiveness of the Brasso on the CD as you are doing this. If not, then use a different papertowel. The brasso is removing part of the plastic from the disc not adding to it. You are actually scraping away part of the CD which makes the existing scratches smaller.

After 15 minutes or so, Rince the CD off under water and check the CD. The brasso will have left small scratches on the disc as it wore down the CD. Keep going until the deep scratches are gone, and all that remains are the marks from the brasso. (they will diminish as you continue and get an even surface again).

When done, rince the disc, and wipe it with the soft eyeglass cloth.

Step 3: Insert CD Into CD-ROM Drive and Test.

Picture of Insert CD Into CD-ROM Drive and Test.

Take your polished, rinsed and dried CD and test it in your CD ROM. If it still doesn't work go back to step #2.

As you see by my example, I was successful at pulling the data off my CD-ROM.

I have not attempted this on DVDs or video console games. Please do this at your own risk. results will vary on your patience, and polishing technique.


Skitrow8 (author)2013-06-19

I have over 1500 CD's (music) and an unknown number of DVD's. I bought them all new. I have 2 questions - 1. How do the discs get all scratched up? I take the disc out of the case and place it into the CD player. When I'm done, I put it back in the case. This way, no dust or scratches. I have 2 discs I bought that had scratches on them when I first opened them.. I should have taken them back...but that was a long time ago.
2. I'm worried about using any of these products recommended on these scratched discs. I have a top end CD player that cost me $7000.00 - (crazy expensive but the sound is as good as it gets on disc). I don't think I want anything like Brasso, Vaseline or toothpaste anywhere near my player. Am I paranoid? I don't think so, but...?

jzweygardt1 (author)Skitrow82017-01-06

Hey guy, check out my reply. Works great. I use Maguires all the time on guitar finishes. Great stuff!

DamienJ5 (author)Skitrow82016-05-24

Take the disks to a store, that does disk repair! Failing that,try searching for a special cd/dvd scratch repair fluid.

Usually it comes with a polishing spray for shining the disks up after repair!

I would not recommend solvents or harsh chemicals, which are not supposed to be used for cd/dvd repair.

Toothpaste and vaselene do not work! You need the right tools for the job basically!

kyuuei (author)Skitrow82013-09-08

The idea is, you'll be cleaning off all of the Brasso when you are done. None will be left to somehow drip into your fancy player. You're using the components of the Brasso to scratch up the surface of the CD--you'll be creating more scratches, not less. It doesn't fill the scratches in. It is sanding it down. A splinter on a wooden handle makes the handle useless--but if you sand the handle down, you can touch it again no problem without injury. The laser reading the disc is doing the same concept here. Don't leave the brasso on forever or anything, but polish out the deeper, bigger scratches causing the disc to skip. If your disc has a scratch but is not skipping, then it is fine as is and does not need repair.

thisisoutofsite (author)kyuuei2014-01-06

what do you clean it off with when you do not have brasso???

jzweygardt1 (author)2017-01-06

Hey, thanks for the great idea. I started digging around and found some Maguires Plastic Polish and Cleaner. Just very mild abrasives that really do the trick.

Polish - clean - rinse - PLAY! Works great!

onionbuskut (author)2008-12-23

HOLY CRAP! the circle my xbox carved in to my GTA4 disk is gone! aweeesome

how do you fix deep scraches

DamienJ5 (author)thisisoutofsite2016-05-24

Take it to a shop that does disk repair! They will resurface the disk for a small fee It should come up as good as new or almost. Failing that, if it doesn't work allthough it should, you will have to buy a new one however it should work fine!

use peanut butter and wash itoff

Lafawnduh (author)onionbuskut2009-05-31

does it work?

zawy (author)2015-09-30

I just tried peanut butter and it worked quickly. But then I noticed there scratches on the top label side so light could get through. I used a permanent marker on the label side (2 coats) and it worked (on CDs, but maybe not movie DVDs, and certainly if it's an executable file, then it's not going to work). Judging from other poster comments, CDs don't like the light going through, but don't mind if it hits black spots.

zawy (author)zawy2015-09-30

Someone mentioned dipping disks in boiling water to "remelt" the plastic. I think boiling water is risky like leaving the disk on a black dashboard of a car in the sun, especially if the label/information coating on top expands with temperature at a different rate from the plastic and causes it to separate. However, I would think 150 F is safe if 212 F boiling is working for some people without them noticing harm. The higher temp might make it more pliable so deeper scratches can be worked on with other abrasives, and re-apply the heat in some small hope of getting rid of the small scratches the abrasive leave.

I do not think the oil in the vasoline is melting the plastic, but maybe it is. I would not have thought it has abrasive in like peanut butter, car buffer, and toothpaste, so it might not be a permanent fix if the oil is filling the scratches and evaporating over a few days. I tried chapstick in the hopes of just filling scratch holes, but it did not work. The idea is that light sees waxes and oil like the plastic (they all have a similar index of refraction like glass of 1.5, where air is 1.0).

The peanut butter leaves a dull shine and even visible scratching everywhere. You can see your circles from rubbing because it is scratching at small scale.

Someone mentioned rubbing from inside to outside and back instead of circles theoretically because of the way the disk is read with the laser. I don't know about that, but it might be helpful with harsher abrasive that will be needed for deeper.

You will have to compare your toothpaste to your peanut butter to see which scratches more for getting rid of deeper scratches, then follow up with the less abrasive. Car polish/buffer cleaner should be the least abrasive. The auto-repair abrasive might be a good start for the deep cuts.

I wonder what telescope lens makers of the 1600's were using. That gets even glass perfectly shiny, so if you need something to be perfect you could research that. They start out with coarser grinding, so whatever they did can acheive perfection on disks.

But really, peanut butter in circles worked very fast and easy with no smell and easy clean with napkin, although deeper cuts were a problem, so the 2000 grit sand paper if all else fails.

I didn't try the basso. Seems like it should be strong for deep cuts and finishes up with a good shine. I wonder if it "melts" the plastic a little for the deep cuts. But I didn't want to buy it or have the chemical in the house with 2 busy-body kids.

CraigD4 (author)2015-02-20

Brasso is a very bad idea....too much ammonia and far too coarse. If you must, use a swirl remover for clear coats on cars

SeeMeGroup (author)2014-12-15

Better than Brasso as it is LESS ABRASIVE but more effective is Liquid Cutting Compound used by Car Body Shops for the final buffing of new paint... you can also use Silver T-Cut, does a perfect job and you can SHINE the CD after, they come up like a Mirror again

kyoung31 (author)2013-06-18

You can actually use green alchohol and soak a rag or paper towel and wipe down the back if you want to do it the easy way of course.

people101 (author)2013-05-11

could u use soap water or some thin' like that?

Tovamon (author)2012-10-07

i would like to point out that this really does work and that it has saved my ass dozens of times

Uncle Kudzu (author)2012-02-14

I have polished automobile tail light lenses and plastic watch crystals with cutting compound paste (like Turtle Wax brand). I'm guessing it would also work on scratched CDs, and it might be easier to find (auto parts store) than Brasso.

eric m (author)Uncle Kudzu2012-08-04

Autopolish is cheap too.

chosen114. (author)2012-04-10

dudes and doodies if u want a cd to b clean use anormal erazor and wipe with kaka tissues simple as that

wildviolets (author)2012-02-28

peanut butter works as well....just wipe from small hole outward...

travis96 (author)2012-02-14

I prefer colgate mint toothpaste it puts more scratched but the disc will work again...on video games at least.

1) apply toothpaste
2)let sit for 5 min
3)rinse in warm(not hot or cold)
4)repeat until disc works

P.S. apply toothpaste with your finger, rubbing in circular motions.

P.S.S. I like this guide 5 Star for you. im going to try it sometime too. Just one question...does it erase the memory?

50-50 (author)travis962012-02-14

All this is doing is waring down to layer of plastic below the skratchs.
You are preatty much skratching the rest of the disk down to the same level so it looks like it was never would have to ploish for hours to get down to the data.

slayer04 (author)50-502012-02-14

or just start from the top, because all the data lies directly on the other side of the label :p

hedgesci (author)2012-02-14

use a "mister clean" magic eraser, from the center towards the outer edge. works everytime

MrSnIpErHaWk4 (author)2011-12-18

Does this actually work? How deep can the scratches get before it doesnt work anymore?

Brandonfonzyman (author)2010-10-03

ya i that on my game and it didnt work can any one gve me some more tips?


Vaseline (Petroleum Jelly) Seems To Work Very Well For Me.(:

imdoinme1999 (author)2011-08-14

The easiest way to fix unplayable CD's (that i found to work) is With Vaseline or Petroleum Jelly.(:

skaihaku (author)2011-05-14

They use discs because when was the last time it cost more than 30p to make a disc as opposed to £3.50 for a cartridge. When also was the last time you could wipe a discs memory with a magnet?

They use discsettes for a reason, because physical memory beats virtual memory, and always will. fact

Addy771 (author)skaihaku2011-08-01

diskettes and CD's are all "physical" memory. There is no "virtual" memory. Both formats store data in physical 3 dimensional space

toogers (author)2010-10-28

CDs are so much work, i wish cartridges were for movies and music, in addition to some video games

siafulinux (author)toogers2011-01-28

I've thought of cartridges for media too. It's certainly possible with SD cards and such. Maybe they'll just start putting them on those SD cards instead with the only problem being that they are easy to lose. A cartridge of some sort would be better IMO.

ahmedhosen (author)2011-01-03

It is Ok . I did it

Brandonfonzyman (author)2010-10-03

i tried that and it didn't work. Any more tips i could try.

Funkmasterlogan (author)2010-07-20

i recommend 3500 grit, comes in disk for for a DA sander, but you can put brasso on it and had sand it

javitech (author)2010-07-02

This is the ticket! Brasso for brass works great. I've tried car wax, toothpaste ( too harsh) and the winner is Brasso. Gives a mirror polished shine that the Wii likes. I used in conjunction a cotton polishing cloth (looks and feels like the type of material used in baby blankets) after 3 tries i decided to remove the residue of brasso from the center towards the edge of the CD and it read w/o errors virsus circular motion (on removal of residue remember) Polishisg must be done in circular motion then again trial and error if you have the time and material to experiment. Good luck and thank to the contributor of this fine idea!!! (germanpickle). Regards, Javitech...

scottamus (author)2007-04-24

2000+ grit Sand paper would probably work great. Just attach it to something perfectly flat (I would use a sheet of glass) and start rubbing the disc on it in circular motions. I'd start with 2000 grit and see if that's enough to take the scratches out if it's not go to a lower grit. Once the surface is uniform go a higher grit and repeat. You'll have the added benefit of a trued (flat) surface. This is how I true chisels and if you do it right they have a mirror finish.

Andy229 (author)scottamus2009-07-24

I use 1200, 1500 and 2000 grit sandpaper, I've found simply tearing off a small piece, say 5x3cm and sanding the disc by hand, usually in straight motions from centre to outside. Depending on the severity of the scratch, I usually use 2000 and if it doesn't work, then 1500, sometimes 1200 if I just want to hurry it up. Then go back up to finer grit (1200 to 1500 to 2000) then polish with brasso on a cloth. That usually fixes it. If I want, I can also polish it further with plain white toothpaste, which can vary in ingredient.

pixy.misa (author)Andy2292010-01-06

When gentle polishing alone does not work, I also use sandpaper and work up to 3000 grit before polishing with rubbing compound.

fnkdctr (author)scottamus2009-04-21

You dont want to rub in a circular motion.. this is the way the data is read.. You actually wipe from the center straight out. And dont expect to remove all the scratches, you just buff them and remove the sharp/jagged edges so the laser doesnt skip. It can go up and down a hill, it cant jump a mountain. skip doctor is pro.

wittyhoosier (author)scottamus2007-08-03

That may work, but first you'll have to sand down the ridge that runs around the center hole (presumably to keep the readable surface from contacting anything if the disk were laid flat. Take a look!)

The readable surface is not the shiny side of the cd. The data is written on the upper side under the print. That's the vulnerable side. The scratches on the 'playing surface' just get in the way of the laser , inhibiting it's ability to read the upper layer. Just fyi. Shabbadooooooo!!!

dal123 (author)2009-12-11

I don't know what's in brasso and the fumes do smell - but i do know that I tried it AND IT WORKED!!!! WOO HOO!  I almost threw the disk out, I tried toothpaste and that just made it horrible.  I was going to send it to one of those resurfacing places but with shipping and that the cheapest I could find was about $9.00.  I had some brasso and it worked, my daughter's playing the disk right now - THANKYOU!

linda2010 (author)2009-10-13

brasso is sometimes corrosive and toothpaste is a terrible idea. for effective scratch removal i would use ScratchOut its a great product and can be found a gaming stores besybuy and walmart. its a great item to have around the house.

Mr. Brownie (author)2009-09-07

I actually just take Lens Cleaner (for glasses), and a lens cloth and it works fine.

rakol1 (author)2008-02-03

there is no place that sells Brasso

vandal1138 (author)rakol12009-07-02

Any military post / base / station whatever you wanna call it. Its a privates worst nightmare. (a privates, as in a person of the rank E-1 to E-3 in the army. Not your junk. Though I'm sure brasso on your junk would suck)

baneat (author)rakol12008-09-02

You get it in supermarkets.

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