Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Cavity Protection for your DVD's

When we're feeling like a stay at home date we usually whip up a batch of (don't look Kathleen) Peanut Butter cookie dough (way better than popcorn) and pop in a movie. The nearest DVD vending machine to us is 30 minutes away, so when we decide to actually rent a movie, it's big deal. Everything will be going great...we'll be snuggled on the couch with our cookie dough when all the sudden the movie will die because the last person to rent the DVD decided to use it as a skateboard. :| (I always think of an angry Muppet with people type that "face"). 

One time we decided to see what we could do to "fix" it and found the toothpaste method. Never head of it? Well, let me show you. 

The Original Pin
The idea of it is that you take kids Crest (because it's grainy) and you apply it to the DVD and then buff the disk. This is supposed to buff out the scratches to minimize any refraction when the laser hits that section. We tried it and the DVD played a few minutes farther, but then it died again. So it worked...for a few extra minutes, but not great.

Well, fast forward a few years and we have Pinstrosity going and low and behold we get a submission from Alison using the exact same method that we tried.

The pin that Alison found on Pinterest had the following caption: "I just did this and it WORKS! Not once did it skip!!! And it was a bad DVD before hand." So she pulled out a scratched DVD, raided her kids bathroom, and buffed away. 

The Pinstrosity 

Here is Alison's result. "Not only did it not work but you can actually see the additional scratches that were added by "buffing" in the toothpaste. Oh well, it was worth a try."

I've had friends and family have relative success with this method, but it never seems to fix a disk 100%. It can help a disk play better, but it does not make your disk like new. And, if you have kids at home (to supply you with the Kids Crest, right?), chances are that the disks will get scratched again. Heck...if you have humans in your home the disks are liable to get scratched again. I swear I've blinked and had an eyelash fall on a disk and scratch it. 

There are various machines and gadgets out there to help get rid of scratches. Some of them work, some don't. My mother's been through a few of them...my brother used to be really hard on disks. They work great once or twice a disk, but any more than that and you just need to replace the disk completely. 


  1. Try car wax, not to buff out scratches but fill them in.

  2. What I have done that has worked for me a few times is coat it with rubbing alcohol and it usually works

  3. The few toothpaste CD fixes I've read have all said to make sure to use regular toothpaste, not gel and NOT a whitener because the one won't help and the other has "grit" which does, in fact, scratch. If there's a paste out there with no grit (does one exist?) try that.

  4. What a bummer that it doesn't work! This post reminded me of a pin I've seen on Pinterest that will "fix" a dead DVD (as long as it's a Disney, and let's face it, if you have kid's toothpaste and scratched DVD's, there's a good chance it's a Disney movie) You can actually send in your messed up disc for a replacement, how cool is that?!

  5. A librarian friend told us that she uses silver polish on scratched CDs and DVDs.

    I haven't tried it myself.

  6. I've tried this with regular, nothing fancy toothpaste, and it worked reasonably well to buff out a few lightly scratched discs... and to clean some that were snagged by super sticky fingers.

  7. I tried it too and it didn't work. Bummer. Also, I used bare hands and it really dried my hands out, so I recommend gloves.

  8. Our solution is to rent films from iTunes. We haven't had a scratched one yet ;o)

  9. Kids crest, NO. Plain white toothpaste? Yes.

  10. I'm thirding the recommendation to NOT use kid's crest. Only regular. Works every time....okay, works a lot of the time. Then, and I know this wont be popular, we put a little spit on it. There have only been one or two DVD's that didnt work after that. LOL

  11. WOW it took me 10 tries to get pass the verification.

  12. I think you are supposed to go in concentric circles not just buff in general

    1. I own one of the 'resurfacing' tools (basically grinds off the top layer) which has worked very well for me in the past. The instructions on this say that you should go from edge to edge, NOT concentric circles. This means that any minor scratches you add do not follow the line of the track but cut across and therefore should be less noticeable.

  13. Ok, I've tried this on an unsalvageable Cool Runnings DVD and it worked like a charm! Some persistence is needed, and it might be a good idea to practice on a less well-loved disc before graduating to the graduation DVD, but it's worth a try.

    1. Make sure the disc is clean. Any grit or even dust on it could make things much much worse.

    2. Put a pea sized amount of toothpaste on a soft lint-free cloth and wipe your DVD from the centre to the edge (if you wipe around the disc any scratches you accidentally make will be along the line in which the DVD will play and that will really mess it up). Keep going with this until you've covered the whole surface of the disc a few times. Don't press too hard, just keep at it.

    3. Dampen the cloth slightly and gently wipe the toothpaste off. You should see some small directional scratches where you've wiped. DON'T PANIC. This first bit was to create a uniform surface for the next step.

    4. Apply some wax based furniture polish (I have heard car wax does well, but I've not tried it) to a clean cloth and repeat the action you used for the toothpaste, middle to edge and then buff it up. The wax fills in the scratches and so the laser reader sees through it to the foil containing the data.

    Good luck folks!

  14. Adding to the votes to use regular toothpaste! I don't have this problem much anymore, but with younger brothers it used to happen all the time! I would dab it in the scratches and then wipe from the center outwards. It worked well on small scratches!

  15. I use regular toothpaste and always rub radially (from the centre out to the edge). If a scratch is put in, it goes across the tracks not along it, and can only cause a minor skip. It does work to buff out minor scratches on DVDs and CDs.

  16. Ahhh in the days of DVD rental stores you could nip along and the friendly counter staff would pop it in the resurfacing machine for you! In fact we still do this!

  17. I used to use the toothpaste method all the time. Then it became harder and harder to get my hands on plain toothpaste, no gel, no grains.

    This isn't intended to BUFF out the scratches. It's meant to fill them in enough so the laser doesn't get "stuck" inside a big scratch or have to do a BMX bike jump over a smaller one.

    However, I now use Pledge wood polish, just spray it on and wipe gently from the center out with a damp cloth until all the polish is off. Works great :)

  18. My parents used to use WD40 and one of those Viva paper towels? (they're really soft and no pattern) and rub in small circles, i remember that working I think...


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