Fix a Scratched Xbox Game

Xbox consoles use a laser to gather data from the surface of your Xbox game discs. If your disc is scratched, the laser is refracted and will result in skipping or a failure to play. You can use toothpaste to sand down the plastic around the scratch, allowing the laser to read the disc again. You can also use lip balm to fill in the scratches with wax.


Using Toothpaste

  1. Rinse off the disc. Before applying toothpaste, give the disc a rinse to get rid of any excess dirt and grime. You can use warm water to rinse the disc off in the sink.
    • If the label is peeling off of the disc or if there are physical cracks, you won't be able to fix them.
  2. Dry the disc off with a soft cloth. Use a microfiber or other soft cloth to dry the disc off after rinsing it. When drying use straight strokes from the center of the disc out to the edge. Avoid circular strokes. This will help prevent more scratches.
  3. Get some toothpaste. You'll need the proper toothpaste in order to effectively fix your disc scratches. Toothpaste works by sanding out the rough edges of the scratches, allowing the laser to read the disc properly. To get this effect, you'll want a plain white toothpaste, preferably one with baking soda.
    • Avoid gel-based toothpastes, or toothpastes with whitening agents.
  4. Apply a bead of toothpaste to a scratched area on the disc. Apply a small amount of paste directly to a particularly bad scratch on the disc.
  5. Use a cotton swab to buff the length of the scratch in small circles. Use a small cotton swab and buff along the length of the scratch in a tiny circular motion, much like you would wax a car. Run along the entire length of the scratch.
    • You don't need to apply much force, just continue gently buffing in a circular motion.
  6. Continue to buff the scratch until it fades or completely disappears. You may notice some new finer scratches created by the toothpaste, but the big scratch should be nearly or completely gone.
  7. Repeat for additional scratches. Repeat the buffing process on any additional scratches, using a small amount of paste for each one.
  8. Rinse the disc and dry it off. After you're done buffing out all of the scratches, you can rinse the disc off with water and dry it again using your soft cloth.[1]

Using Lip Balm (Chapstick)

  1. Rinse your disc off with running water. If you don't have the right toothpaste to buff out the scratches, you may be able to use lip balm to fill them in instead. First, remove any excess dirt and grime by rinsing the disc off with running water.
  2. Get a plain lip balm. Use a lip balm without any colors, flavors, or glitter. You can also use a petroleum jelly like Vaseline.[2]
  3. Apply the lip balm to the scratch using straight strokes. Run the lip balm up and down the length of the scratch. Do this several times so that a fair amount of lip balm is applied.
    • Repeat for any additional scratches on the disc.
  4. Use a soft cloth the buff away the excess lip balm. After applying several layers to the scratch, use a soft cloth to buff the balm in small circular motions. Continue buffing until all excess wax has been removed. You should notice that the scratches are much less visible than before.[3]
  5. Try the disc again. After you've buffed out all of the excess lip balm, you can try using the disc again. Make sure all of the excess balm has been removed before inserting the disc into your console.

Using a Magic Eraser

  1. Purchase a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This cleaning tool can be found in most supermarkets. You may be able to find an off-brand version for cheaper as well. Make sure you're using a melamine foam eraser.[4]
  2. Use the eraser to scrub the scratches. Make sure to scrub in straight lines from the center outwards. Apply a fair amount of force so that the eraser can polish the scratches, but not so much that it wears away the entire layer.
  3. Rinse and dry the disc. After you've finished polishing the scratches with the magic eraser, run the disc under a water tap and dry it off with a soft cloth. When drying, use the same motion that you used to erase: straight lines from the center out to the edges.
  4. Try the disc. After you've finished polishing and rinsing the disc, you can try playing it again. If it still doesn't work, you can go another round with the magic eraser, or try another method from this article.

Using a Disc Repair Tool

  1. Purchase a disc scratch repair tool. There are a variety of tools available online and at electronics retailers. One of the most popular products is the SkipDr, though there are several others available as well.
  2. Rinse and dry the disc before using the disc repair tool. Use warm water to rinse any debris and dust off of the disc, then dry it off with a microfiber cloth. Most repair kits come with a soft cloth you can use.
  3. Spray the included cleaner fluid onto the "read" side of the disc. Don't spray it onto the label. Apply an even coat across the entire "read" side of the disc.
  4. Insert the disc into the repair tool. The process for this will vary depending on the tool you are using. Make sure the "read" side is facing the scrubbing pad on the repair tool. Refer to the instructions to make sure you are inserting the disc properly.
  5. Press the mechanism to spin the disc in the repair tool. You may need to turn a crank or press a button to make the disc spin. The repair tool will spin the disc, rubbing the cleaning pad across the "read" side. You'll likely need to spin it several times in order to buff out scratches.
  6. Buff the disc with the included buffing cloth. Many repair kits come with a buffing cloth, which you'll use to buff the disc after repairing it. Vigorous buffing will help ensure that the disc can be read. use the cloth and buff in small, concentric circles around the read surface.
  7. Try the disc. Insert the repaired disc into your Xbox console and try playing it. If it still doesn't work, you can repeat the repair process again. Some users have reported it taking up to ten tries to get a game to work. Some scratches may be too deep to repair using these tools.[5]

Using a Lamp

  1. Find a lamp with a 60 watt bulb. Heating the back of your disc can slightly melt the plastic coating and fix minor scratches. You'll get the best results with a desk lamp using a 60 watt bulb.
    • Avoid using heating methods that apply a lot of heat, such as a stove. This will likely melt your disc beyond repair. Stick with a 60 watt bulb.
    • Low-energy bulbs may not give off enough heat to melt the top layer.
  2. Let the bulb warm up for 5-10 minutes. This will ensure that it is giving off enough heat to melt the outer layer.
  3. Hold up the "read" side of the disc 3 inches from the lamp. Hold it close enough that you can feel the heat from the bulb.
    • When holding the disc, only grip around the edges and insert a finger through the ring for support.
  4. Hold up to the lamp and rotate back and forth for about 20 seconds. If you hold the disc too long, you may permanently damage the disc. It's better to pull it away too soon and try again than to hold it too long.[6]
  5. Test out the disc. Take the disc from the lamp and immediately place it in your Xbox. Start up the console and see if your disc works. If it still doesn't work, you may need to have the disc professionally resurfaced.[7]



  • Borrow a friend's copy of your Xbox game and install it on your Xbox before you use your version. This may help the console to store more information from a working copy of the disc, instead of trying to use your damaged copy.
  • Avoid setting your Xbox 360 vertically, as this has been known to increase the chances of scratching your disc.
  • If you're getting consistent perfect circle scratches around the center ring of the disc, your Xbox 360 may be defective and require replacement.
  • Game stores like Gamestop and GAME may offer disc repair services for a few dollars per disc. These stores usually have access to more powerful sanding tools than consumers have access to, and may be able to get your game working when you can't.
  • Apply a small amount of car wax to the repaired surface after using one of the above methods. This will help fill in any remaining scratches, and prevent future scratches. Use a soft cloth and rub the wax in small circles around the disc until it's been completely worked in.[8]


  • Most of these methods will not work very well with Blu-ray discs. These discs have much thicker layers to prevent scratches, but if one does get scratched it's usually too deep to repair.

Sources and Citations