How to Fix A Scratched CD

Don't suffer a skipping CD

Close-up look at a scratched compact disc
Ion-Bogdan DUMITRESCU, Moment, Getty Images

Although streaming is the most popular way to listen to music, there are billions of CDs still being played. Keeping them in good shape is key to their longevity, however.

If a CD skips or freezes, there may be smudges or dirt on the disc. If so, a good cleaning is probably the best course of action. However, if after cleaning, the CD still skips or freezes, it may be scratched.

If a CD is scratched, there are several methods you can try that may be able to fix it so that it is playable again.

You can use the following methods for fixing scratched DVDs as well.

Option One – The Toothpaste Method

What You Need:

  • Non-gel toothpaste
  • Baking soda (optional - can already in the toothpaste or can be mixed in).
  • Warm water
  • Wet and dry microfiber cloths
Fix Scratched CD – Toothpaste Method
  1. Squeeze some toothpaste (or toothpaste-baking soda mixture) onto the CD (the shiny side where the scratches are visible, not the label side) and spread using your finger or microfiber cloth.

    Scratched CD – Applying Toothpaste
  2. Spread the toothpaste on your CD radially, from the center out. However, if you have circular scratches, you can use a circular motion (not suggested when just cleaning CDs) to spread the toothpaste. Even if only a small portion of the CD is scratched, coat the entire surface anyway.

    Scratched CD Covered in Toothpaste
  3. Rinse the CD off under a sink faucet (use a wet microfiber cloth to assist).

    Scratched CD Toothpaste Rinse Off
  4.  Dry the CD off with a dry microfiber cloth (radial motion).

    Scratched CD Dry-Off with Cloth
  5. Check the CD for any remaining toothpaste residue and visible scratches.

  6. Test the CD in your player or PC's CD drive.

Option Two – The Polishing Product Method

What You Need

  • A rubbing product such as 3M, Pledge furniture polish, Turtle Wax metal polish, Novus Plastic Cleaner
  • Wet and dry microfiber cloths
  • Warm water
Fix Scratched CD – Polish Method

Although Brasso metal cleaner is often mentioned as suitable polish, it has been reported that their formulation has changed, which may do more harm to your CDs than good. 

Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area to avoid breathing in any fumes from the polishing product used.

  1. Apply the polishing product to a dry microfiber cloth.

    Fixing Scratched CD – Polish on Cloth
  2. Rub the polishing product onto the CD surface using radial strokes with attention to the scratched areas. Use about 10 strokes on each area.

    Scratched CD Covered in Polish
  3. Rinse the CD off with warm water.

  4. Let the CD air dry on a flat surface.

  5. Use a Microfiber cloth to gently dry the rest off (radial motion).

  6. Test the CD in your player or PC's CD drive.

Option Three – The Wax Method

This method only provides a temporary solution.

What You Need

  • A Waxing product: Vaseline (petroleum jelly), chapstick, liquid car wax, or furniture wax
  • Dry Microfiber Cloth
Fix Scratched CD - Wax Method
  1. Wax scratches with a thin coat of the waxing product you have selected (radial motion). If there are only a few scratches, you don't necessarily have to coat the entire CD, you can rub the wax into just the areas where the scratches are located.

    Scratched CD Covered With Waxing product
  2. Set the CD aside for a few minutes so that the wax will settle in the scratches.

  3. Wipe the CD in a radial motion with a dry microfiber cloth to remove the excess wax. Also, note the instructions for using the wax you are using as some need to dry before wiping while others should be wiped off while still wet.

  4. Test the CD. If it works, it is best to make a copy of its contents onto another disc or your PC hard drive for storage or eventually transfer to another disc, flash drive, cloud, etc...

  5. Once copied, store the disc or discard it. Discarding may be best as the effect of the wax method is temporary.

Option Four – The Peanut Butter Method

If you don't have the supplies to perform the previous methods, you can try using peanut butter to fix a scratched CD.

Make sure you using creamy peanut butter as the chunky style may damage your CD further. 

What You Need

  • Peanut Butter
  • Both wet and dry microfiber cloths
  • Warm water
Fix Scratched CD - Peanut Butter Method
  1. Rinse the CD with warm water and dry it off with a microfiber cloth to make sure the surface is free of sticky or loose debris. 

  2. Place some creamy peanut butter on a different microfiber cloth and spread it on the CD surface using radial motion (from the center out to the edge). 

    Fixing Scratched CD – Peanut Butter
  3. Rinse off the CD in combination with a wet microfiber cloth. When using the cloth make sure you use the same radial inward-to-outward motion. 

  4. Once the peanut butter is removed, let it air dry or dry it off lightly with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. 

  5. Test the CD.

Option Five – The Banana Method

This is the weirdest method that "may" work temporarily for minor smudges or scratches. This will probably not work for deeper or extensive scratches. Consider the previously discussed options before trying this one.

What You Need

  • A peeled fresh banana (don't throw out the peel)
  •  Dry cotton or microfiber cloth
  • Warm water and/or glass cleaner
Fix Scratched CD - Banana Method
  1. Cut the Banana so that one end can be wiped onto the CD surface in a radial motion.

    Fixing Scratched CD – Banana Method
  2. Use the inside of the banana peel to wipe off the inside the CD surface using radial motion.

    Fixing Scratched CD – Banana Peel
  3. Clean the CD further with dry cotton or microfiber cloth. If residue or particles are still present, use a wet cloth or glass cleaner (lightly) to finish up.

  4. Test the CD.

CD Repair Kits

If you are cautious about repairing scratched CDs yourself, and you don't mind spending a little cash, you can opt to use a CD Repair Kit or specific CD cleaning solutions. Depending on the kit or solution, it may both clean your CDs and repair minor surface scratches.

Skip Doctor CD/DVD Repair Kit
Amazon

With any of the above solutions, results may not always make a CD playable again. You may still see some scratches. These may be deeper than the outlined methods can repair.