How to Remove Scratches From Shiny Gloss Plastic on a Laptop

By Jane Williams

i James Goodwin/Demand Media

As your shiny, glossy laptop lid starts developing scratches over time, they begin to draw your attention until that's all you can see. Removing these scratches requires time and a little elbow grease, depending on the depth of the scratch. Shallow surface scratches may buff out with a bit of polish, while deeper gouges may require more concentrated effort to fade them.

Prepare the Surface

Before attacking your laptop lid with your polish of choice, you need to make sure there aren't any tiny grits of dust or dirt on it first. Even the tiniest grain of sand or dirt can become a scratch-causing abrasive, and you don't want to put more scratches in as you try to remove the ones already there. Power down your laptop and disconnect the adapter to minimize the possibility of shock or damage. Use a soft cloth and some soap and water, just enough to scrub the lid's surface, to thoroughly clean the laptop's cover. Dry it with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Buff It Out

After your laptop lid is squeaky clean, select your buffing compound. Car scratch removers and polishes work well for removing laptop blemishes, as they are designed to work with shiny plastic surfaces. If the scratches are shallow, select a fine grit scratch removal compound for buffing. For deeper scratches, such as those you can feel with your fingernail, you need a slightly rougher grit. Apply the scratch remover to a soft, clean cloth and gently rub over the scratches in a circular motion. Periodically check your progress by wiping away the excess scratch remover, and continue if necessary.

Polished Pretty

When your buffing has successfully removed the scratches to your satisfaction, polish the area to match the lid's glossy finish. You can use the finest grit available in scratch remover, or a dedicated polish or wax. Use your cloth to apply the polish and keep rubbing in circles until the polish dries. Keep polishing until you achieve the high-gloss finish you desire.

Slow and Steady

Removing scratches isn't a race, and you could cause more damage if you hurry to finish. The key to successful scratch removal or reduction is even, gentle pressure in steady strokes. Pressing too hard or working too fast can work through the lid's surface, causing more damage than you're trying to fix. Work slowly in small sections. You can always go over them again if the scratches remain.