Picture of a lightly soiled CD music disc, showing the play side.

How to Fix a Scratched PS3 Disc, PS3 CD, PS3 DVD, and PS3 Blu Ray Game Discs




We’ve played PlayStation games with our nieces and nephews for several years, many of which were bought from used and discount game shops.  Saving money buying these discs in this way unfortunately, had a cost.  It had the consequence that many of the PS3 discs would not run in the gaming machine.  So, under express orders from the kids, we’ve found ways for how to fix a scratched PS3 disc that would not load.  These often brought the disc back to life, making it playable again for years more. Cleaning them often works!




No PS3 disc is exempt from this pesky problem, whether cheap or expensive.  No brand of disc is safe from this either.  Indeed, all laser discs, including PS3 game discs, will eventually freeze up or fail to load, no matter who makes them.  Thus, it’s useful for PlayStation 3 gamer buffs to know how to deal with this issue, particularly when kids are handling the discs, leaving them out of their cases, smearing them with chocolate finger prints, et al.  For that, we offer tips below on how to get your PS3 games playing flawlessly again; reducing disc reading times, freezes, and disc ejections by the game machine because it can’t read the disc.

How to fix a scratched PS3 disc. Picture of typical PS3 game discs.
How to fix a scratched PS3 disc. Typical PS3 game discs.

How to Fix a Scratched PS3 Disc

The Faulty PS3 Disc Could Indeed be Scratched

The PS3 disc itself may carry manufacturing flaws, or be  scratched or dirty.  It may be aging beyond its useful life.  Or the disc may have been damaged by improper cleaning techniques prior.  If the scratches are bad enough, then you might not be able to fix the PS3 disc.

The PlayStation 3 Game Console could be Damaged

The PS3 player itself may be broken.  Perhaps the laser for reading game play data from the discs, has dimmed due to age or lots of use.  Perhaps dust has landed on the console’s laser lens. Or maybe the laser servos or the motor that spins the disc is worn out.  Like PS3 discs, the game machines themselves age.  Plus, they gradually develop disc reading defects over time. In fact, these gaming computers wear out at faster rates than the game disc media itself.  This often results in games locking or freezing up.  Or, you might notice jumbled audio or pixilated pictures.  Sometimes, these game discs won’t even load enough to get the startup banner screen to display.  At any rate, when looking for how to fix a scratched PS3 disc, keep in mind that it could be that your console is defective, and not the discs at all.

How to Fix a Scratched PS3 Disc: Troubleshooting PS3 Game Disc Problems

Try the Suspect PS3 Disc in a Friend’s PlayStation 3 Console

If it runs fine on your friend’s console, then your console may just be too old.  Consider that if the PS3 machine that shows the issue is more than several years old, then it’s probably time for a replacement PS3 player.  As mentioned, these players do indeed age.  Their laser light output decreases as they age.  Then this laser loss impairs the game console’s ability to read the optical data on the discs.




Try Cleaning the PS3 Disc

We detail how to do this in our  How to Clean a DVD Disc  post.  Essentially, you should avoid any chemicals harsher than dish soap.  Just use s mild dish soap and water.  Wet the play side of the game disc with a filtered water and soap solution. Next, gently rub with smooth fingers.  Then, rinse with more filtered water. Finally, dry with a lint-free lens cleaning cloth.

The washing removes fingerprints, oils, and loose dirt. Further, the wiping dry with the cloth not only removes the water from the disc.  But this gentle rubbing also polishes out the microscopic scratches that often cause read errors during play.

Try Cleaning the PS3 Console Inside

The game console may become dusty inside, depending on its environment.  They sell a laser lens cleaning CD, designed to clean game console laser lenses.  We’ve never had good luck with these however.  But they may work for you, and could save you the cost of buying a whole new PS3 machine.  The cleaning disc has a small brush glued to the play side.  You put this disc into your console. Then, when the player spins this disc to read it, the attached brush skims over the laser lens. This presumably, removes dust and dirt from the lens.

How to fix a scratched PS3 disc. Picture of the slightly dusty dual layer PS3 disc, showing the gold data side
How to fix a scratched PS3 disc. Slightly dusty dual layer PS3 disc, showing the gold game data side

But if the laser lens cleaner does not speed up the slowed disc reading, then dust out your console.  If you feel able enough to take your PS3 console apart, then remove the top cover.  Then, blow out any dirt and lint; particularly from the rails upon which the laser assembly moves.  Blow gently though, to protect console electronic parts. A can of residue free air is great for this.




How to Fix a Scratched PS3 Disc: Avoid Scratches in the First Place

Never Touch the Play Surface

Avoid getting fingerprints on the play side of PS3 game discs. Instead, lift them by edges. Do not grab them via their flat data surfaces. Holding them strictly by their edges limits the need to ever clean off skin oils from them.

Keep Harsh Cleaning Chemicals Away!

The strongest cleaning solution you should ever use on PS3 discs, is a mild dish soap and water solution.  Avoid gritty cleansers and polishes.  If you’ve tried everything else though without success, we suggest polishing the scratched discs with toothpaste only.

Keep your PS3 Discs Clean and Scratch Free, Before they Ever Become Soiled

A stitch in time saves nine when maintaining these delicate gaming discs. To preserve peak performance, avoid ever dirtying the discs to begin with.  Always store them in their cases when not viewing, and avoid exposing to weather and direct sunlight.

Keep your PS3 Console Clean, Cool, and Out of the Sun

Avoid setting up the PS3 console in dusty locations. Plus, keep it away from direct sunlight and heat sources.  This minimizes dust drawing to the console.  Don’t pen it up inside a hot home theatre console.  Your game console needs to breathe to stay cool.

Keep your PS3 Discs Out of the Sun as Well

Light and heat can break down the micro thin metallic surface of the disc.  This raises the chances of failed reads and thus, faulty game play.  So, for error-free playback for the longest time possible, avoid exposing your PS3 discs to light and heat; especially to the high levels of both that sunshine contains.  This is easy. Just keep these discs in opaque cases.  You can buy these yourself if the game disc does not come with one.  Further, store your PlayStation discs away from windows and heat sources.  Keep them far from radiators, machines, audio amplifiers, and so on. A climate controlled area is best for storing them.




Suggested Reading

How to Fix a Scratched PS3 Disc: References

Revision History

  • 2018-02-22: Originally published.