Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Toothpaste Trick

Yesterday afternoon I was playing a game on the Xbox when Sunny, that most graceful of creatures, walked past and accidentally kicked the console over. (The shelf in the entertainment center has zero airflow so to prevent overheating I put the 360 on the floor in front of the entertainment center when I use it).

The console made a noise like it was in pain, and fearing the worst, I stopped my game and took out the disc. There were three separate circular scratches on the surface of the disc…deep scratches. The surface of the disc had obviously had come into contact with part of the drive while spinning at full speed. I put the disc back in the console and, sure enough, I got a read error.

I took the disc out and cleaned it, but it was no use. After ten or more attempts to get the disc to read, the scratches were simply too severe. It was sixty bucks down the drain.

It was then I remembered a trick someone told me about it college. Put some toothpaste on the surface of the disc and buff it with a cloth for a few minutes. This made sense, after all toothpaste is a very mild abrasive…and I figured I had nothing to lose. The disc was already a coaster, the worst that could happen would be that I'd end up with a coaster that smelled minty fresh.

So I grabbed the toothpaste from the bathroom, put on about as much as I brush my teeth with and started buffing. I didn't hold out much hope, the scratches were deep and wide and looked almost opaque instead of clear and shiny like. About five minutes later I finished buffing, rinsed off the excess toothpaste…and looked at the surface of a disc that looked like it had been dragged behind a car. It looked much, much worse. I figured all I'd done was scuff up the rest of the disc to match the scratched portion.

Rather than throw the disc in the trash, I decided to give it one more try, even though I was certain I'd ruined it. So I put it in the console, started it up…and the disc read fine the first time. I played the game completely through from beginning to end with zero problems.

So who knew? The Toothpaste Trick actually works. As badly damaged as my disc was, as long as the scratch isn't clear through the plastic, I'd give it a 90% chance of fixing just about any scratched up disc.


MC Etcher said...

Woo Hoo! Very cool. I'll have to remember this.

Hmm... "" would be a fun website.

Evan 08 said...

I've used the toothpaste trick many times. I've had about a 50% success rate.