How to Repair a DVD-RW Disc

by Mathew Plale
compact disc image by Madera from

Discs are prone to damage, whether from normal wear and tear or mishandling. CDs, DVD-RWs and DVD-Rs are often sold in bulk, sometimes coming in a spindle-like case, in which the discs are stacked on top of one another. This manner of storage makes the discs susceptible to scratches and cracks, due to constant pressure on their data surfaces from the weight of the discs in the stack. Even when a disc becomes damaged, it can often be salvaged with the use of some common household items.

The Toothpaste Method

Step 1

Run warm water over the disc. Using toilet paper, dry the disc in a smooth, circular motion.

Step 2

Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the data side of the damaged disc.

Step 3

Rub with a clean cloth in a circular motion until the entire disc is covered in toothpaste. Continue until most of the toothpaste has been removed.

Wash the excess toothpaste off with water, then completely dry the disc with a clean cloth.

The Metal Polish Method

Step 1

Run warm water over the disc. Using toilet paper or a clean cloth, dry the disc in a smooth, circular motion.

Step 2

Apply metal polish to a clean cloth and rub it on the disc in a circular motion. You may need to add some pressure as you do this, depending on how badly damage the disc is.

Step 3

Allow the polish-coated disc to dry completely.

Rub the disc with toilet paper or a clean cloth until the polish is removed.


  • When applying pressure while cleaning the disc, don't overdo it. You do not want to break the disc while trying to fix a scratch.


  • If the disc is cracked or still fails to play after cleaning, the disc probably cannot be salvaged.
  • As a rule of thumb, make two copies of discs containing important data, in case one is damaged beyond repair.
  • Kits are available in stores and online that claim to repair damaged discs (Resources 1). This is an alternative for you if you want to spend extra money to fix your discs


Photo Credits

About the Author

Since 2006, Mathew Plale has been a news editor and critic for the JoBlo Movie Network. He has also contributed to Passport Cinema and Stereo Subversion. Plale holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Rowan University.

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