How to Cheaply Repair You CDs and LPs

Listen to the Panda.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a die-hard vinyl purist or, like me, way too attached to your giant wall o’ CDs to give ’em up, either way you want to make those treasured tunes last. And there are a variety of ways to do this, both spendy and broke-ass. When I worked for Wherehouse Music (RIP), I saw a plethora of ways to repair skips and scratches on disc surfaces. The store had plenty of solutions for sale like the Skip Doctor ($30) and plastic protective skins ($8 for a pack of 10) but store employees had the cheaper methods down: toothpaste, Brasso, a banana (eew), Pledge and now: Vaseline.

Uh... Dad! No, I was just, uh, cleaning my CDs...

You can probably guess what the instructions are: using a clean, soft cloth apply the petroleum jelly gently across the surface. Use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to clean off the grease. Supposedly, the p.jelly fills in scratches and makes the CD readable. As a dying media, CD’s are relatively easy to replace so and even if this gooey alternative doesn’t do the trick you can probably find another copy of that Ke$ha CD at used at Amoeba in about 14 ½ minutes. It’s cool, I’m not hating. Oh. Wait. Yes, I am.

LPs, however, are an entirely different beast altogether. More delicately affected by dust and debris, LPs require a great deal more TLC. While there are brushes that can be used to clean off some of the detritus (and, depending on where you’re located, some places will actually clean your platters for ya), again there is a household solution to this problem. Wood glue. Yup. It breaks down like this: the polyvinyl whatnots on the LP prevent the whosywhatevers in the glue from adhering, but WILL pick up all the crappy nonsense that’s been making your records hiss and crackle.

Now listen here, see. You can clean your LPS, see.

However, there is a trade-off: instead of shelling out cash, you’ll be shelling out time for this project. Still, in concept, it’s pretty neat. All you need to do is lay some tape, sticky side up, onto your records and spread that wood glue like your making crepes. Now, let it sit for a few hours. Grab a cuppa coffee or see a movie but you definitely have a few hours to kill. When the glue has dried, peel it off gently and you should be rewarded with a switchblade-shiny surface. Might not be the most time-efficient project, but Bill Nye the Science Guy will at least be proud of you.

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Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

A freelance writer, blogger and poet based in San Francisco, Amber has written for PC World, InfoWorld, and the 16th & Mission Review. She has performed at City Hall, Litquake, the Brainwash, 16th & Mission, BlueSix, and SFSU among other places. Amber is also consummate fan of swearing, organizational freak, yoga practitioner, music geek, caffeine addict, and tattoo enthusiast who enjoys platform shoes, making out, thumb wrestling and fighting the good fight. She owns a bicycle named Gretel, a motor scooter named Elroy and a cat named Simon. She can be found in various virtual locations all over your interwebs.