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Methods to fix scratched DVDs?

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  • [R1 DVD] Methods to fix scratched DVDs?

    Widgets Magazine
    What is your method (if any)? I never thought banana could be a possible remedy.

    via Yahoo! News
    Can You Fix a Scratched DVD with a Banana?

    I have two children; they have their favorite DVDs; and sometimes mommy needs them to be watching those DVDs. So when the favorite DVDs get scratched and stop playing, it's a problem!

    Whether it's DVDs, CDs, or game disks for your Xbox or Wii, there are ways to fix and buff out scratches. The Internet is full of solutions — claims that handy products you might have around the house will fix those scratches. So here are the unscientific results of my attempts to fix disk scratches with common household substances — from best (#1) to worst (#4).

    Methodology: I used two forms of scratched disks, ones that had small scratches resulting in a few skips or pixilation points on the disk, and then seriously scratched disks that wouldn't play at all in my DVD player.

    #1 Car Wax
    I took a fingernail file to a Barney disk (boy was that satisfying), and when I placed it in my DVD player, the screen read "invalid disk" (again, wonderfully joyful).

    I put Turtle car wax (liquid form) onto a soft cloth and buffed the disk in an in-to-out motion (not wax on wax off /Mr. Miyagi style). I rinsed the disk thoroughly and let it dry.

    I placed the disk back into the player and, amazingly, it went straight to the menu and played flawlessly. The purple dinosaur rides again, and car wax did the job!

    #2 Furniture Polish
    I have always used Pledge furniture polish on scratched DVDs, and when I tried it on a minimally scratched disk, Pledge brought it back to life easily. But with a seriously scratched disk that wouldn't play, I had to polish twice with Pledge for it to come back to life. It was a close second to the car wax — and it smelled better. I think any furniture polish would work; I just used what I had under the sink.

    #3 Banana
    WHAT? A banana? Yep, this was advised by multiple sites online, so I had to try it. First, I rubbed the banana itself all over the disk, then I finished by rubbing the waxy interior of the peel all around the disk's surface. I cleaned it well with water, polished with a soft cloth, and let it dry.

    The results were pretty good, especially considering I had such low expectations. The minimally scratched disk was good as new after the banana treatment. It does make some sense: that waxy stuff on the peel is pretty slippery — as I'm sure you know from all those years watching cartoon characters slip on banana peels.

    But apparently, it wasn't waxy enough to fix the seriously scratched and unplayable disk. Even after multiple banana cleanings including soft-cloth buff-outs in between, I couldn't get the unplayable disk back from the dead with just the Chiquita treatment.

    #4 Toothpaste
    Toothpaste, especially the abrasive baking soda kind seems too rough for removing scratches; I was worried it would add scratches of its own to the disk, but I gave it a try. On the minimally scratched disk, I rubbed very gently with Colgate as I tried to clean off scratches and scrapes. When I put the disk in the player, the area where the disk previously skipped was still skipping. So I tried again and this time used baking-soda paste and really rubbed it in hard. When I tried again, the skipping area played straight through — no problems. Turns out there is a fair amount of extra poly-carbonate layered over the data pits on the disk, so buffing can take a top layer off and minimize the scratches.

    But when I tried the toothpaste trick on the seriously scratched and unplayable disk, it was completely unsuccessful at resurrecting it. I tried three separate times to buff with toothpaste and then rinse/dry, but it just didn't fix the disk.

    Alternate Solutions

    SKIP Dr.
    If you have a lot of scratched or unplayable disks, it might be worth investing in something like the Skip Dr., which I bought for $30 online. You place your disks into it, crank the handle, and it uniformly takes the top layer of polycarbonate off the disk. It's a more abrasive solution than the toothpaste, and it worked on both my minimally scratched disks and the unplayable disk...

  • #2
    Re: Methods to fix scratched DVDs?

    I prefer to just send mine to a professional resurfacer. The discs come back basically looking brand-spanking new (though a few may show an extremely faint spiraling pattern when held at the right angle).
    Help get Higurashi: When They Cry on Steam!

    New & Early releases thread | MAL profile | anime collection | Avatar: Kobato Hasegawa (Haganai)

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    • #3
      Re: Methods to fix scratched DVDs?

      The article’s author provides the perfect reason that backing up DVDs (which falls under the heading of Fair Use) needs to be made a bazillion times easier: Kids destroy things because they’re kids. For the rest of us, there is one very simple scratch repair: Put the damn thing back in the case when you’re done with it, you lazy slob!
      I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.
      Stephen King

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      • #4
        Re: Methods to fix scratched DVDs?

        kind of refreshing to see this article knowing where everything's heading.

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        • #5
          Re: Methods to fix scratched DVDs?

          Originally posted by adc View Post
          The article’s author provides the perfect reason that backing up DVDs (which falls under the heading of Fair Use) needs to be made a bazillion times easier: Kids destroy things because they’re kids. For the rest of us, there is one very simple scratch repair: Put the damn thing back in the case when you’re done with it, you lazy slob!
          If it's too late for that, one option that's perfectly ethical as long as you own the series: Rent the disc from Netflix, AnimeLane, etc. and back up that copy

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          • #6
            Re: Methods to fix scratched DVDs?

            Originally posted by davesimmons View Post
            If it's too late for that, one option that's perfectly ethical as long as you own the series: Rent the disc from Netflix, AnimeLane, etc. and back up that copy
            Ethical, but not legal.
            My animé & figure collections
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            • #7
              Re: Methods to fix scratched DVDs?

              I never personally scratched a DVD, but it seems every pre-owned disc I have has seen some shit. Shana volume 6 had playback issues until I noticed some dried food on the bottom of the disc. I was pretty impressed with myself after managing to clean it off without making things worse. This whole concept makes me paranoid as hell. I'll borrow someone something and then hours later realize I may have sent that disc to its doom. I borrowed Game of Thrones to my step mom months back and it's been making the rounds with other family members. I almost wish it vanishes so I don't have to see consequences of my action.
              Avatar: Misaka Mikoto, the Railgun. Level 5 Electromaster and Ace of Tokiwadai Middle School.

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