CD scratch repair may be necessary to make scratched CDs playable. A CD scratch remover can consist of a filler, a polish, or will involve sanding and polishing.
Scratches on compact discs are a very common problem. The scratches are usually present because of improper handling, improper cleaning of the CD, storage of the disc in a paper or plastic sleeve, storage of the CD in thin jewel cases, or playing the compact disc in dirty equipment.
Scratches can occur on the top side (label side) of the CD or the base side (play side) of the compact disc. Scratches on the top side of the CD will likely damage the metal layer underneath. If a disc is held up to the light and light shines through the disc in the scratched area, then the metal layer has been damaged and CD scratch repair is not possible. Fortunately, CD technology utilizes an error correction system that is designed to correct problems caused by a certain amount of flaws or damage on the disc. The error correction system may be able to compensate for the damage caused by the scratch so the CD can play or be read properly and without errors.
The ability to correct errors depends on the orientation of the scratch. Radial scratches are more easily corrected by the error correction system than circular scratches. In many cases, scratch CD repair with a CD scratch remover is not required for radial scratches. On the other hand, all but the very small circular scratches will likely cause an issue when the CD is played and CD scratch repair with a CD scratch remover will be required to restore proper CD performance.
Scratches may also occur to the base of the compact disc. The same issues with respect to radial versus circular scratches exist as was discussed above. However, an additional problem is that the scratches may disrupt the reading laser light and cause errors or readability/playability issues. Small CD scratches are not a problem and the laser light will simply ignore them. Larger CD scratches will require compact disc scratch repair if the disc is experiencing problems.
CD scratch repair with a CD scratch remover may involve the use of fillers. These are materials that are applied to the CD base in order to fill the scratch with a substance that matches the index of refraction of the polycarbonate plastic CD base. Generally, this is difficult to do and fillers will eventually begin to flake off of the CD. This is not an effective CD scratch remover method.
Various polishing compounds can also be used as a CD scratch repair method. However, usually the use of these abrasive substances simply creates additional scratches. Once again this method of removing scratches on a CD is not very effective.
Sanding and Polishing
A third type of CD scratch removal involves sanding the plastic base down to the level of the scratch and then repolishing the plastic to restore its optical clarity. This involves the use of specialized equipment designed for compact disc scratch repair. This compact disc scratch removal method has the greatest chance of success. However, because the thickness of the disc is being changed, this affects how the laser light interacts with the disc which may create more problems. Note that this technique may or may not produce satisfactory results.