Tip: Save your scratched discs – for less than a dollar!

August 18, 2011


Let me paint a picture for you: I’m making progress in my marathon Mass Effect 2 playthrough for each class on Insanity (an appropriate name for how much I love the game…). While charging my Xbox 360 controller, I get snagged on the cord while trying to walk over it and my console tips over. I slam on the eject button in a panic, hoping to see a still-intact disc surface. Unfortunately for me, it was the proud owner of new scarring around the outer area. And just like that, my goals of beating Mass Effect 2 with each class on Insanity was derailed.

Well, until now. It wasn’t several months later until I told Glacier928 about my disc’s predicament, and he offered a very unorthodox solution: toothpaste. No, my game doesn’t have plaque or cavities (well, not THAT kind anyway), but at this point, I figured, I couldn’t really do much more damage to the disc. What did I have to lose? So that very day,  we went on a trip to our local Target and made a beeline straight for the sample section. After grabbing a tube of Arm & Hammer Advance White – a steal at 99 cents – we went for the checkout line and I forked over the cash for what would hopefully be my Mass Effect 2 disc’s salvation. So we rush back to his house to see if the baking soda & peroxide mix will work.

And after popping it back into my Xbox 360…it worked! And just like that, my marathon was back in the running.

Now, let’s get into the specifics of the toothpaste method of repair. I realize this may be a more prevalent solution than I thought, but I’m hoping my experience helps those who haven’t heard about this yet. A few things: I would try to get as simple a toothpaste as you can get. This was the only sample tube they offered, but thankfully it worked. I would avoid toothpaste with beads or breath strips in them – that’s probably stuff you don’t want to risk leaving behind on the disc. Place your damaged disc down on a flat, clean surface and apply a small amount of toothpaste to one of your fingers, preferably the index finger. Now here’s the trick – friction helps to activate the toothpaste’s properties to smooth out cracks and seal them in. Apply the toothpaste on your finger to the entirety of the scratch, and rub it in in a back-and-forth motion. Be sure to use force here – you want to apply a good amount of pressure to achieve friction. Do this for about 3-5 minutes, then clean the disc off under cool water. Once the disc is entirely clean, dry it off and pop it back in your console of choice. If all went well, you should be playing again as if the scratch never occurred!

Let us know if this trick works for you, or if you have any other obscure maintenance tips and tricks, by commenting below.

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About Argus9

Jonathan ‘Argus9′ Zisser has been an avid gamer for over 20 years. His early years of playing the NES with his father helped springboard his interest in gaming, and has eventually matured into an avid following for the gaming industry. Studying Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University also gave him insight into the more technical side of video games. A passionate writer as well, Jonathan loves conveying his experiences and opinions by creating engaging articles as often as possible. More often than not, he tries to break down today’s industry and write editorials that make his readers think.

View all posts by Argus9

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4 Comments on “Tip: Save your scratched discs – for less than a dollar!”

  1. RockN Says:

    Sheesh, that’s more obscure than wiggling your NES cartridge! I’ll have to try it on my copy of Mario Strikers Charged. Jerks at Gamestop sold me a scratchy copy. :/


  2. Michael Grella Says:

    Interesting might just try it out now.


  3. Damian Delafosse Says:

    Wish I had known this when my first xbox 360, gears of war got scratched inside the damn the thing.


    • argus9 Says:

      I definitely feel your pain, with what happened to my ME2 disc. I’m tempted to bolt the xbox down so it won’t tip in the slightest ever again.


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