How to Fix a Scratched or Damaged Video Game Disc

Learn how to fix a scratched or damaged game disc for your Xbox, Playstation, PC, Wii, Gamecube or other disc based gaming console.
Written By: Colin @XboxDIY
Published: December 25, 2014
Updated: March 16, 2024
How to Fix a Scratched or Damaged Game Disc Xbox PlayStation Wii Gamecube PC - Featured
Home 9 Repair Guides 9 How to Fix a Scratched or Damaged Video Game Disc

A scratched or damaged disc can be a pain.

While digital downloads overwhelmingly dominate game and movie sales, there is still a large group of people who prefer discs or don’t have access to internet connections fast enough to download digital copies of games. Or they might be breaking out an older game that’s seen better times.

While fixing your disc can be straightforward, not everyone has access to a fancy disc repair system or kit.

Helping those people is our goal.

This article will walk you through how to fix a scratched or damaged video game disc, whether it’s for your Xbox, Playstation, PC, Gamecube, Wii or other gaming console.

*We also have an article that covers How to Fix the Unreadable or Unrecognized Disc Error on Xbox360. The steps outlined here could help fix that issue, but there are other nuances to consider as well that were better suited for a separate article.

Option 1: Use Toothpaste and Deodorant

If your Xbox is having problems reading your video game disc, it’s typically due to scratches on the disc that are big and/or deep enough to prevent the disc driver laser from properly reading it.

Although there is no way to “replace” the scratched portions of the disc, you can polish it with varying compounds to trick the laser into thinking the disc is readable.

In some situations where the disc is severely damaged, this trick helps you get the disc to read just long enough to install an Xbox game from a disc so it can be played without relying on the disc to be working at all times.

The quickest and easiest way to fix your scratched CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc is to use toothpaste and deodorant.

Sound crazy? Maybe.

But it works (see the thousands of comments on our YouTube video to prove it), and we’ll show you how to do it:

What You’ll Need

  • Damaged, scratched, or unreadable disc.
  • White Stick Antiperspirant Deodorant
  • Toothpaste (plain white paste without beads or additional abrasives)

Step 1: Wet Disc

How to Fix a Scratched or Damaged Game Disc Xbox PlayStation Wii Gamecube PC - Wet Disc

The first thing you’ll want to do is wet your disc with some lukewarm water. It can be cold, but it definitely can’t be hot.

This will make applying the toothpaste and deodorant much easier in the next steps.

Step 2: Apply Toothpaste from inside out using your finger

How to Fix a Scratched or Damaged Game Disc Xbox PlayStation Wii Gamecube PC - Put Toothpaste on Disc

Using a clean finger, apply plain white toothpaste to your wet disc from the inside out. Be sure to only apply the toothpaste in one motion, from the center of the disc to the edge. This helps prevent you from further scratching or damaging the disc.

After you have applied the toothpaste, allow it to dry on the disc for 8-10 minutes. This will allow the compound to dry and harden on the disc, filling in some of the scratches that have caused the disc to become unreadable.

Step 3: Rinse and Dry Disc

How to Fix a Scratched or Damaged Game Disc Xbox PlayStation Wii Gamecube PC - Clean Disc

After you have applied toothpaste to your scratched disc, and the toothpaste has had 8-10 minutes to dry (your time may vary), the next step is rinsing off your disc.

We recommend lukewarm water, like before. Just make sure the water isn’t hot so you don’t damage your disc.

Use a clean t-shirt or soft cloth towel to dry the disc after you’ve rinsed it off.

Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 using deodorant [Optional]

How to Fix a Scratched or Damaged Game Disc Xbox PlayStation Wii Gamecube PC - Put Deodorant on Disc

Do the same thing in steps 1 through 3, but with deodorant.

We can’t cite any scientific evidence on this one, but with the numerous discs we have repaired, using both toothpaste and deodorant seemed to have had the most success.

Whether it’s the combination of the two or just the fact that we’re applying substances twice, it seems to fool the Xbox almost every time.

Option 2: Find a Family Video or Video Rental Store

Family Video and other video rental stores (yes, they still exist!) usually have disc repair machines for their use. As a customer, you can also pay to have your disc repaired.

Typically they will charge you ~$2 to repair a single disc (this may have changed with inflation in 2023…)

This is a more advanced process than toothpaste and deodorant, but a similar concept.  It will help polish and buff out scratches in your game disc. If this cannot repair your disc, nothing will and you will need to buy a new digital or physical copy of your video game.

You may also be able to find disc repair machines at local retro game stores or game exchanges.

Click this link to open Google Maps and find the closest store to you.

Option 3: Use Plastic Polish to Buff Scratches in Your Disc

Plastic polish is a popular to method to remove scratches from your CD, DVD, or Blu-ray disc.  Not only is it easy to use, but there’s a good chance you have some lying around your house.

Using a clean, 100% cotton cloth, apply plastic polish to the disc in a similar manner as the deodorant and antiperspirant. When dry, buff the disc out with another clean cotton cloth.

We recommend using McGuires PlastX Clear Plastic Cleaner and Polish. McGuires is the absolute best when it comes to car detailing, so it’s definitely safe for your $60 disc. It’s also cheap at ~$7 as well. 

Option 4: Buy a Disc Repair Machine

Similar to what you might find at a Family Video, the JFJ Easy Pro Video Game Repair Machine is available on Amazon for $199.99 (when I created this post in 2016, it was $134.99!)

This is a one-stop-shop solution for fixing damaged or scratched video games, DVDs, and Blu-rays. If you like to keep your discs clean and scratch-free, this is your solution.

As we mentioned numerous times throughout our video and article if your disc is damaged badly enough, nothing (including this awesome machine) will be able to bring it back. You just can’t simply rewrite data that has been forever destroyed without burning a new copy of it.

Did you fix your scratched or damaged disc?

Damaging your disc sucks, but fixing your disc doesn’t have to.

Did this work for you? If so we would love to hear about it.

Have any suggestions to help others fix their scratched or damaged Xbox discs? We would love to hear from you too.

If so, drop a comment below, visit our Contact page, or head over to our YouTube channel and connect with thousands of other gamers who have had problems and fixed their unreadable disc error, scratched, or damaged discs.

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