Without buying expensive repair kits

How to Fix Scratched DVDs

by Mike Collins

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Baking Soda

We have three kids in our house and they each have a handful of DVDs they simply can't live without. Right now our two girls are obsessed with anything that includes princesses, and our son is on the waiting list for Curious George-aholics Anonymous. Needless to say, their favorite DVDs get a lot of use, and as any parent knows, kids aren't the best at keeping things in mint condition.

I've seen DVDs used as coasters, Frisbees, and shields. I've seen my son use them as stepping stones to avoid falling into the "lava" on our playroom floor. I've seen them covered with a mixture of grape jelly and crushed Cheerios.

As durable as they are, DVDs can only take so much punishment before they get scratched and stop playing. The first few times this happened to our children's favorite discs we simply replaced them, but we quickly realized how expensive that would get. So rather than tossing those old scratched DVDs in the trash, we decided to try and fix them.

You Could Buy a Kit Or...

Amazon sells a number of different CD/DVD repair kits that range in price from around $10 to over $100, but as we learned, you can get similar results using everyday items you already have in your home.

If the scratches aren't too deep, you'll probably be able to repair the disc using some toothpaste from your medicine cabinet. Gel toothpaste won't get the job done. It needs to be the type with baking soda and have some grit so it acts almost like sandpaper.

Just put a small dab of toothpaste on a microfiber cloth and gently sand the scratched disc in small circles until it is smooth again. Rinse the disc with water and then let it dry while you make some popcorn and get ready to enjoy the movie.

Really Bad Discs

Toothpaste usually works fine for minor scratches, but if the disc is in really bad shape, you might have to try an alternative method. Rather than trying to sand down the scratched disc to make it smooth enough to play, you'll have to find something to fill in the gaps in the DVD's surface.

You have a few different options to choose from depending on what you have around the house, but my product of choice is simple furniture polish like Pledge. Just spray a little on the disc and then wipe it all off with a clean, microfiber cloth. Wipe from the center of the disc out to the edge. You should never clean a DVD in a circular motion as it may cause even more damage to the disc.

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If you don't have any furniture polish handy, a banana or some liquid car wax will work just as well. Just rub a little of either on the disc and then rinse it all off and let it air dry. By the time your popcorn is finished, your DVD will be good as new and ready to go!

Mike Collins is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in personal finance topics. He's also a husband and father of three children who keep him very busy. You can read more about his quest to achieve financial freedom for his family at WealthyTurtle.com

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