We check out several children’s DVDs and CDs from our library each month. We love the library, but the downfall to their wide variety of educational movies? Most are damaged and don’t play without skipping or freezing in our DVD player.
I experimented with a few different techniques of safely repairing the scratched DVDs: soap and water, toothpaste, Windex. None seemed to make any sort of difference on the playback quality.
I knew that the toothpaste was supposed to get rid of the grooves and scratches, but it wasn’t doing the trick.
I thought something thicker and more waxy would be easier to apply and stick to the surface of the disc. So I pulled out the Pledge furniture polish and tried it out on a freshly-cleaned DVD. I’m not kidding, the results were amazing! Far better than any other method I tried.
Since discovering Pledge works to repair scratched DVDs, I’ve started the routine of washing and polishing all the DVDs we check out before I ever pop them into the DVD player. Since then, I’ve only had one DVD that was too damaged to work with my magical method. Every other one has played back just fine!
Grab furniture polish and some cleaning cloths (microfiber cloths are the best!). Then follow these steps to repair scratched DVDs:
- Wet a soft microfiber cloth with warm water, plop on a drop of dish soap, and wash the DVD in a circular motion.
- Rinse the DVD and dry it with a dry, nonabrasive cloth.
- Use a Pledge wipe or spray some Pledge furniture polish (in the yellow can) on a dry, lint-free cloth. Apply it to the DVD in short, strokes from the inside of the disk to the outer rim (against the grain). Keep doing this until the surface of the disc is coated.
- Use the other side of the dry cloth to lightly rub the disc in a circular motion until it’s wiped clean.
- Put the disc in the DVD player and play it. If it doesn’t work, repeat steps 3 and 4 and try again!
If your DVD, CD or Blu-ray still doesn’t work, apply Brasso metal polish on and around the scratches. You need to be very gentle with this–it’s intended to polish tough metals, not delicate wood furniture!
Brasso works in a different way than Pledge does on discs. Pledge furniture polish is a waxy substance that fills in the scratches. Brasso smooths and buffs the scratches out. It’s effective, but work carefully with it and focus on the most damaged parts.
These are the important products mentioned above:
Lemon Pledge Furniture PolishBrasso Multipurpose Metal PolishAmazonBasics Microfiber Cleaning ClothsLemon Pledge Wipes
Note: don’t use Pledge multi-surface spray in the blue can. It works great to repel dust from electronics and everything else, but it doesn’t have that waxy consistency that’s needed for fixing DVDs.
Do you use a different method for repairing scratched DVDs? Leave a comment letting me know your best advice!
Don’t miss 10 ways to repurpose baby food jars. Even if you don’t have a baby it just might inspire you to get your hands on those little glass jars!
You know I have never tried Pledge on them. I’ve always done the toothpaste trick, which does work but it isn’t fun!
What brand do you get
We use Vaseline, it’s thicker so it may work on the tougher one.
Marybeth Hamilton says
Oooh, Rivka, I’ll be sure to remember that! Thanks!
The tooth paste doesn’t fill in the scratches. It is a method of buffing the disc to make the scratches that are already there shallower. It has the problem of adding in new shallow scratches though. I use the tooth paste for discs with some bad scratches in it followed by car wax. If the disc has only minor scratches, then I just use the car wax. The results I have gotten are the disc reads flawlessly to just a slight improvement.
Thankful Momma says
This worked!! So thankful for your post. We were trying to watch a movie we bought at a yard sale and it wasn’t working at all and was scratched so badly! I read this and we gave it a shot, and BAM! It worked and we are enjoying our movie! Thank you so much! 🙂
Marybeth Hamilton says
Oh yay! I’m so happy!
I was told never polish a disc in a circular motion. Always go from inside to out.
What is the reality ?
The reason you don’t want to rub in a circle is because that’s the way the disc reads, and if you accidentally scratch it in such a motion, it can be devastating to the playback because it covers a long, nearly continuous section instead of just an occasional short skip. There is also a particular spot on the disc where the player reads to recognize the disc. If that part is scratched, the player may not be able read the disc at all, even if the rest is spotless.
Try brasso metal polish on deeper scratches. Much better than toothpaste. Ive considered using a car headlight polishing kit.
I have been wondering about the headlight polish or headlight restore too. I may try it, or hopefully someone already has.
Worked like a charm! Appreciate the information. Now I can save so many DVDs and CDs. You’re awesome!
It’s really, really, really not OK to do this to library materials. The library has professionals on staff and the right materials. If there is a problem with the DVDs, just tell a librarian. Experiment with car wax on your own stuff.
Well seems like the librarian should be checking them upon borrowing and return,is it not part of the job?You ask me it sounds like this lady is doing a great job with helping out the people at the library!!
Hannah Evans says
Uh, Bob, I really, really, really doubt the public library has a professional dvd cleaner on staff, and if they do, said dvd cleaner should be fired for failing to do their job. Why don’t you go volunteer at your local library instead of trolling peoples blogs with your scolding sentiment and bad suggestions??! P.s. What materials do you think the library has to clean and repair scratched dvds, if any at all??? THE. MATERIALS. LISTED. ON. THIS. BLOG.
Dave T says
This is helpful info. I tried these methods and when library cds still didn’t play, I decided to buy an external dvd writer for my computer for $80. I figured out that on my older computer, the dvd or cd has to be perfect to play, and the library cds are far from pristine. But when I hooked up the new dvd writer the old library-borrowed cds worked fine. My old computer is a IMac with a verticle slot, the dvd writer has a horizontal slide-out tray. These are much more forgiving of blemished media.
blaze dvds says
hi thanks for the information and posts
Paula Barton says
Hi! I bought a Mary Poppins DVD at a outreach center and it was badly scratched. I just applied the Toithpaste/Peanut Butter hack. I’m trying out the cleaned DVD now hoping fir good results. Many people replied that this hack helped. I’m so glad I found your helpful hints.