Since you can’t really prevent scratch marks on your CDs, it is only natural to wonder if there is anything you can do to repair them. Once scratched, a CD will usually skip and even lose chunks of data. You may have seen an infomercial where they sell a commercial product that can repair a scratched CD. However, there are some things you can use to do the same job at a fraction of the cost of the stuff you see on TV.
Tips to Repair a Scratched CD
Our first tip to repair a scratched CD is to clean your problematic disc. Sometimes what you thought was a scratched CD was actually just dirty due to some surface contaminant. Oil, dust, and other similar substances can hinder or prevent your CD from playing. The first thing you should do is to run warm water over your CD in order to get rid of dust and other surface contaminants.
If there is any stubborn substances like a thin film of grease then use your finger to rub it off. You may use a detergent that is gentle on surfaces with water. If you don’t have warm water then you may use rubbing alcohol. Wipe your CD clean once you’re done. Make sure to use a soft cloth to wipe the surface of your CD or else you will cause more damage.
The next step to repair a scratched CD is to try and play your scratched disc. Sometimes a good bit of cleaning is all that is required to make your CD scratch free. You may try playing it on a different player just in case. You may even try running or playing your CD on a computer just to test it.
In case you were able to repair a scratched CD, the next move therefore would be to burn the contents of that CD onto a replacement disc. By this time it should be obvious that your damaged CD will have a tendency get scratches all over again. This will be a preemptive solution just in case your CD gets scratched again to a degree beyond repair. At least by then you’ll have a back up ready.
If you can no longer repair a scratched CD even with the use of commercial products then your next move is to do some data recovery. You can use different data recovery applications in order to salvage whatever data is stored on a damaged disc. Some burning programs are even equipped with similar features.
As a last resort you may try to polish your CD using toothpaste or a polishing compound. Take note that doing this has a tendency to damage your disc even further. That is the reason why this should be your last resort when trying to repair a scratched CD.