How to Fix a Scratched Video Game

Seven Methods:Cleaning With DetergentCleaning With Rubbing AlcoholPolishing With ToothpastePolishing With Peanut ButterPolishing With Wax or JellyProfessional HelpPolishing with a Banana

Imagine this: You want to play your favorite video game so you fetch it from its case and place it into the game system. But wait. What's this? You get an error message filling the screen instead of the expected game. You quickly whip it out of the system to find a horrific scratch down the back. Aaah! You're down in a creek. But before you run to the store to buy another copy, try some of these steps.

Method 1
Cleaning With Detergent

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    Ensure that the disc does not have any major scratches. A video game cd with major scratched will probably have to be professionally resurfaced, meaning it most likely cannot be fixed at home.
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    Apply a small amount of water and dish detergent to the disc(s).
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    Using lukewarm water and a soft, microfiber cloth, wipe the disc clean from center to edge, not in a circular pattern.
    • Wiping in a circular pattern will create axial (rotational) scratches, which are far more of a problem than radial scratches.
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    Rinse well to remove any detergent and grime. shake off excess water, and pat dry with a soft, lint free cloth.
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    Put it back into the game console and see if it worked.

Method 2
Cleaning With Rubbing Alcohol

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    Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol on the data-side of the video game CD.
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    Using outward (axial) swipes, clean the CD with a soft, microfiber cloth. Only wipe the CD a few times, and gently at that.
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    Allow any excess rubbing alcohol to evaporate naturally. Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly, making it a good cleaner.
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    Try your CD in your game console. If this strategy doesn't work, move on to some of the methods described below.

Method 3
Polishing With Toothpaste

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    Put a dab of toothpaste the size of a pencil eraser onto your video game disc.
    • Make sure to choose a toothpaste that's actually an abrasive, one that feels gritty between your fingers or when it's in your mouth. A natural, chunkier toothpaste will work best.
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    Wet your finger and gently wipe the toothpaste into the scratched area using a straight, outward motion. Don't rub the toothpaste in circles; it will only create more scratches that are harder for the console to read.
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    After about a minute of rubbing, gently wash the toothpaste off the video game disc.
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    Inspect for scratches. If the scratch looks entirely polished away, try putting it into your console and playing it. If it still looks scratched, you may need to gently polish it several more times until the scratches are completely gone.
    • Over repeated polishing, the scratch will start to look like more of a shadow. When you're got it to this state, you're good.

Method 4
Polishing With Peanut Butter

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    Spread a thin layer all over the shiny side of the disc.
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    Leave for roughly 5-10 minutes, the worse condition the longer.
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    Wipe off the butter and buff with a wet rag.

Method 5
Polishing With Wax or Jelly

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    Rub a petroleum jelly like Vaseline over the data side of the CD. Try this method only after other methods have failed.
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    Wipe away the petroleum jelly with a paper towel using straight, outward (axial) swipes. Again, do not rub in circles.
    • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning. Some waxes or jellies need to dry a bit before they are removed with a paper towel or cloth.
    • Make sure you get off any and all wax/jelly before you place the CD back in your console. You don't want the inside of your console to be all sticky.
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    Try playing the game in your console. Repeat if necessary.

Method 6
Professional Help

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    Ask nearby video stores if they can rebuff the disk. Professional resurfacing usually costs about $5 per disc, but $5 is better than spending another $60 for a new disc.
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    Look into buying an automated skip fixer. The Game Doctor is a good model one to look into.
    • Follow the instructions on the auto-skip fixer.
    • After using the fixer, place the game back into the console.
    • If it still shows an error, consider returning the game to the store.

Method 7
Polishing with a Banana

This is for lightly scratched discs.

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    Peel and cut your banana in half.
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    Rub onto the surface of your disc. Do not rub in circles; rub across.
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    Wash gently with lukewarm water.
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    Repeat two to three times if scratches are still on the surface of your disc. Eventually, the banana should repair the disk.


  • Try another game to make sure that the problem really is the game and not the console before getting another copy of the game.
  • Remember, it is LEGAL in the United States to use a game that was copied from an ISO image from the Internet as long as you have the original game.
  • Clean the inside of the console (where you place the disk). I'd suggest taking a slightly damp cloth (one of the fine cloths from FYE with water on it is fine or even a Shirt make sure it doesn't have like little pieces of material it has to be flat) and wipe the inside area of the console making sure that it is free of dust.
  • Try using rubbing alcohol it cleans deep scratches.
  • If your disc has stickers on it, you can still clean it. Just use a very damp cloth taking care only to get the data (shiny) side wet, both for cleaning and rinsing.
  • Windex is not the best solution for cleaning discs, the coloring, and other additives could be harmful. Eye glass cleaner is a much better solution. And conveniently enough, most are sold with soft, lint free, felt cloths.


  • None of these steps will work if there is a deep scratch in the disk. If you just noticed the scratch now or it just reached the point where the console won't read the disk then these steps should work fine.
  • DO NOT USE A SOAKING WET CLOTH ON THE INSIDE OF YOUR CONSOLE! You will short it out and not only will you have to get another copy of the game but a new console as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Fine cloth
  • Auto-skip fixer if the steps didn't work

Article Info

Categories: Video Game Console Maintenance and Repair