How to Repair Deep Scratches on Vinyl Records

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

Scratches in a vinyl record interfere with the quality of the sound reproduction, and a deep scratch can cause the record to skip. Repairing a deep scratch on a vinyl record will ensure the record will play over the scratch and continue without skipping. The repair requires enormous patience and should be done when you can devote plenty of time.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass bowl
  • Newspaper
  • Measuring cup
  • Distilled de-ionized water
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Photographic wetting agent
  • Plastic spoon
  • Record cleaning brush
  • Cotton cloth
  • Dish rack

Step 1

Put newspaper down on a work surface. Put the bowl down on the newspaper. Use the measuring cup to put 3 ounces of distilled de-ionized water into the bowl. Use the measuring cup to add 1 ounce of isopropyl alcohol to the bowl. Sprinkle a few drops from the bottle of photographic wetting agent into the bowl. Stir the mixture with the plastic spoon.

Step 2

Dip the record cleaning brush into the bowl and saturate the brush. Hold the record over the newspaper with the scratch facing up. Swipe the record cleaning brush over the scratch from the top of the scratch to the bottom, following the direction of the grooves in the record. Dip the brush in the bowl and saturate it again. Apply the brush to the scratch in the record in the same manner.

Step 3

Rinse out the measuring cup with tap water. Fill the measuring cup with distilled de-ionized water. Hold the vinyl record over the bowl with the scratch facing up. Pour the distilled de-ionized water from the measuring cup onto the scratch.

Step 4

Carefully dry the vinyl record using a cotton cloth, wiping in a swirling motion starting at the outer edge and moving to the inner edge. Wipe the rim of the vinyl record with the cotton cloth.

Step 5

Put the record into a dish rack so it can air dry vertically. Play the record after it has thoroughly dried and watch the tone arm move over the scratched area without skipping.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dust off the vinyl record with a camel's hair brush before playing it.
  • A warped vinyl record will never play correctly and should be replaced if possible.