Disc generally (whether CD, DVD or even game discs) are designed to last relatively long. Regardless of how careful one is, the slightest things could lead to scratches on a disc or even holes. For instance, if little grit or dust gets into the pack of the disc, then that could lead to scratches. One might be careful enough to put the disc back in its pack but just overlooked the pack itself, a scratch is created. Do not despair. The era in which a simple scratch would make one dispose of a disc angrily is gone.
It would interest you to know that discs are made up of three layers. The layer containing the actual user data is in between two layers of polycarbonate. Most scratches found on discs are only surface level. So if the scratch on the surface can be taken care of, the data on the disc could still be very much intact.
Methods for Removing Scratches
Over time, many methods have been discovered for removing scratches from discs. An interesting point shared by all these methods is that you can carry them out on your own. They do not require any special or high-level expensive material, neither do they require a specific set of skills. They can be done by just about anyone using regular household materials.
There are a lot of methods but for this article, we will be considering the most effective 5.
- Normal Cleaning with Soft Lint-free Cloth:
As mentioned earlier, a lot of scratches we see on our discs are not deep to the extent that the data on the disc is damaged. Additionally, it is possible for what appears to be a scratch to simply be dirt. Since this is the case, simply cleaning the disc might just suffice. This cleaning requires a soft cloth that does not produce lint. This cleaning using this cloth should not be done circularly. Instead, it should start from the center and proceed outward. The entire disk should be cleaned this way. This is because the center is the most important part of the disc. In cases where grease stains might occur, a gentle detergent or alcohol could be used in the cleaning process. While cleaning, make sure you remove all dust particles and fingerprints. Another key point is that, while cleaning it might do more harm than good if you scrub too hard or apply too much pressure on the disc. Clean gently.
- Using a Light Bulb:
Use of light bulbs could also be effective in eliminating scratches. However, not just any bulb would do the job well. Most preferable is the incandescent 60W light bulb. All you have to do is thread the disc onto your index finger first. Then you hold the disc at about 10 cm from the bulb while slowly rotating the disc. This rotation should be continued for at most 20 seconds before the disc is distanced from the bulb. This is because too much exposure to the heat would prove to be counterproductive. Moreover, to get what you need from the disc, you might want to put it into the computer while it is still warm and burn its content onto another disc or copy them into your system.
- Making Use of Wax:
Sounds absurd but using wax could also be effective in dealing with scratches (at least long enough for you to copy what you need from the disc). You could use waxes from polish, petroleum jelly, lip balm or even furniture wax. The process is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is rub the wax into the surface of the disc to fill the scratch using a toothpick or suitable substitute. Then with a soft and lint-free cloth, you can rub the excess wax around the disc in a radial fashion this time around. Then you dry the disc, put it into your PC and quickly extract what you need.
- Use of Toothpaste:
This could be the most absurd sounding idea so far, but it is equally effective. It works in the same way as the waxes, fills the spaces left by the scratch making it easier for the laser to read. First, clean the disc (as described in the 1st method). Then fill the toothpaste into the scratch. Then using a soft lint-free cloth spread the excess paste from the centre of the scratch outward.
- Using Scotch Tape to Fill Holes:
When a hole is found, all you need to do here is to mark the spots the holes are (maybe with a marker). Then use appropriately sized strips of tape to cover the holes on both sides. The goal is to prompt the laser to keep reading instead of stopping due to the presence of a hole.
All these methods are theoretically possible and are practicable most of the time, but not always. Moreover, in cases where they work most times, not all the data is recovered. At times you might just need a professional. But before meeting a professional to recover your data, try at least one or all of the methods mentioned above.