A Hitch-hiker’s Guide to CD/DVD Repair

You’ve been there. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. Netflix and Redbox are great. One has unlimited DVDs for a low price, the other you rent DVDs for as low as $1. Amazing right? Sure, unless someone who rented the DVD before you was a complete animal. This is often the case.

As I said before, we’ve all been there before. You get really excited to watch a movie that night. You pop in the DVD, and everything is running fine, until it happens. It stalls, it makes your DVD player groan slightly, the frame freezes, jumps a little, freezes again, and then either jumps to three scenes later, or goes to your DVD player main screen with a message that reads, “No Data on Disk,” or “DVD unreadable,” etc. It’s a horrifying sight to behold, absolutely, but it’s not the end of the world, and is a surprisingly easy fix.

Don’t worry; you don’t need to buy one of those DVD cleaner money-down-the-toilet gizmos. For slight scratches and smudges, all you need are three simple things you probably already have in your home: oil, pledge/furniture polish spray, tissues. Yes, that’s it. Please keep in mind that for deep scratches, this might not necessarily work entirely. It may help, but it won’t save it.

Now you’re probably thinking I’m crazy but hear me out. There are reasons the first two items fix the job. But first, I’m going to explain the last necessity, the tissue. The tissue is there to wipe them off as they are soft (unlike paper towel) and won’t scratch the surface. Yes I’ve tested out several different kinds of papers, and the tissue, in my opinion is your best bet. Toilet paper (especially Charmin) also works particularly well. Now if you have a microfiber cloth like the kind they provide to clean off glasses, go ahead, and use that instead, but the point of this exercise is using regular household items. And yes, an old t-shirt will also work.

Now the other two items have different functions, and you may not necessarily need to use both. Inspect the troublesome DVD; does it have scratches or just smudges? Or both?

Oil is great for getting off smudges. You’d think oil would dirty something up, but in the case of DVDs (and cast iron pots and pans) it helps season and the surface. Dab some oil on the tissue and then just rub it on the disc. It’s as easy as that. Make sure to rub of all the oil so it doesn’t get in the disc player.

Now for the pledge. Pledge, is a lifesaver. According to some furniture specialists, despite what the commercials tell you, do not use pledge on your furniture. The reason why it’s not good for furniture is exactly the reason why it is good on DVDs. Pledge is pretty much all silicone. Why it’s not good for wood, is that it essentially makes it like plastic instead of treating it like it should be treated (most recommend oil for wood). But that’s ok; we can use the pledge for something even better! That silicone aspect? Helps repair the scratches on your DVDs. I don’t know how, and I don’t think I care to know how, it just works.

What do you do? Simple, spray it on the DVD, rub it in with that magical tissue, and you are all set. Again, make sure to rub in all the pledge. Now, put your DVD in, and it should work like magic.

So that’s all you need to save a semi busted DVD. Of course, if you do return your DVD, please be kind to your fellow renters, and make sure to clean them and take care of them before returning them. And don’t let your cats and dogs play with them either. And make sure you hold a DVD properly, on the edges, with your finger tips. If you have small hands, grip from inside the hole to the rim of the DVD. And no one wants to see your tongue print on a DVD, that’s just gross.