"Use a banana to fix a CD/DVD!"
A fan on our facebook page requested we look into ways to fix CDs. She had seen there was a pin out there for toothpaste, and I had one already saved that said banana, so I figured I'd tackle both of them in one post. So, can common household items fix your CDs? Yes, but.. some are better than others.
|Sketch of a disc : Make Use Of|
It comes down to how CDs are made. You can see a lovely sketch made there to the right. They are all just plastic discs with aluminium backings, which allows the laser of the reader to bounce back and read the pits and notches engraved on the CD, very similar to how old records work. When a disc gets scratched, it's the protective plastic coating that was scratched. Rubbing a banana on it (some have also suggested car wax, peanut butter, banana peels, etc.) fills those scratches in temporally, allowing the disc to hopefully play right. But it's not a permanent fix, and really the idea of keeping a disc around that has banana goo stuck in the scratches is kind of weird.
But what about toothpaste and the like? That is a definite YES actually. Because toothpaste is abrasive, it acts as a buffing compound that helps smooth out the top layer of plastic on the disc. This makes the scratches less noticeable by the laser, ensuring the disc can be read better. It has to be our tried-and-trusted old fashion high grit toothpaste, not the modern gel styles, but it does appear to work. So I'd keep the bananas in the kitchen and just grab your toothpaste instead.
Before grabbing every ruined disc in your house though, I'd highly suggest reading this great write up over at "Make Use Of", where he goes more in depth about how this works and why (and also gives some great pointers if you're wanting to try it yourself).
Not post-related but I wanted to take the time to let you guys know I'm now on twitter too, so make sure to follow us at @dontpinthat