Scratched Disks – How To Clean And Make Them Readable Again

CD's & DVD's should be placed in their jewel case after use. But What can we do if they are not?

how to repair scratched media

Sometimes over time our CD’s/DVD’s/Blu-Ray’s become dirty or acquire scratches and tiny blemishes which will render them un-readable. However when this happens doesn’t worry. There are a handful of ways in which you can help the issue and hopefully restore functionality to your disks.

How to Repair an Un-Readable Disk?

First things first you need to identify why a disk would not be readable, although difficult to tell as strictly speaking it is your hardware which is not reading it, not you. However there are some easy giveaways on what could be causing it.

Dust / Stains / Grime

If you’re experiencing issues and you can visible see any signs of Dust, sticky stains or grime then you can easily clean the disk. The easiest method would be to obtain a micro-fibre cloth or any other light surfaced material in which you can easily polish off the dirt in a circular motion. Feel free to apply some disc-cleaning fluid which you can obtain from most house-hold stores.  Be sure not to be too vigorous as extensive pressure will cause scratches to the disc and they are much easier to remove.



Scratches can be identified as light ‘white or silver’ like scrapes and marks on the disc. When discs are subject to excessive use they can accidently get scratched due to harsh surfaces. Ideally all disks should be returned to their DVD/CD Jewel case after use and not left out.

If you’re having issues with a Scratched Disk then there are two options. First apply the same method as above. Get a cloth or light surfaced material and polish in a circular motion on the disc to try and dislodge any dirt or other debris which may be affecting your disk.

My Disk/DVD/Blu-Ray is still unreadable?

No problem! The most efficient way of removing scratches is to take your Disk to the nearest pre-owned store which deals in the trading and sale of software. For example places like Gamestop, GAME, CEX and other branches. You can most likely assume that if the company that you choose focuses on pre-owned products then they need a way of cleaning them.

Most companies will require a small charge however they will put your disk through one of many Disk Cleaning machines which will buff a layer out of your disc for incredible results! Once the disk is in you can select the amount of time for the machine to buff. Longer periods provide a more satisfactory result however be warned. Failure to apply the necessary cleaning fluid and water may damage the disk further.

Laser Burn

Laser Burns can be identified by perfect circular rings around the data layer of the disk. They possess a white or silver coloured effect and are one of the major reasons to why disks are un-readable. You can check out our full guide on Laser Burns and how to remove them!



If you’re unlucky enough to have any kind of dents or impacts on your disk then it is very un-likely that you will be able to fix the disk. What you can try to do is to download the software online and use your current product key if the disk is for an installation.

Some myths say of banana skins and other random concoctions can help fix a disk, however as said earlier the only real way of removing scratches or laser burns without doing more damage is simply visiting your local games retailer. Ask one of the staff to use the Disc Buffer and they will attempt to remove the scratches. If you get home and you are still unable to play the game then here is another solution to fix the problem.

Ask a friend if you can use their copy of the game or DVD/Blu-Ray which you are having issues with. Install their copy so the primary files are stored safe and sound on your console. Then use your broken disc to boot up the game. Once the game has booted then it is very rare that  it will attempt to read it when all of the files are already on the console or device.

If you know of any fixes or products which can help remove scratches then please post below your experiences and share the knowledge.