iPod Screen Scratch Removal

Seeing the teaser for the next FromTheShadows video reminded me of another iPod “hack” I did not too long ago. The image at right is also shamelessly taken from that video, as I no longer have anything to show for my efforts.

While using a RadTech case for my iPod, a small grain of sand managed to get trapped between the window-cling-like screen cover and the glassy iPod screen itself. I didn’t notice it’s presence until it started to gouge an awful scratch into my beloved audio player’s crystal clear screen. After doing a little research, I wound up back at RadTech, buying their IceCreme scratch removal abrasive.

After shelling out the $21 for the polishing solution from RadTech (which I suspect is some common polishing solution), I started out following their directions, attempting to remove the scratch. They suggest 30 to 45 minutes using one solution, then another 10 to 15 with the second. That’s a rather large chunk of time, and I wasn’t sure I’d be up to that. So, I fired up my standard tool of choice — the Dremel. With the included polishing wheel attached, I put a tiny bit of the “A” abrasive on the iPod screen and set the Dremel to it’s lowest rotation speed. Too high a rotation speed would cause heat to build up because of friction, and possibly melt the iPod screen to an even more unusable point. After only a minute or so of using the polishing wheel, the scratch was nearly gone. The next step was to wash the wheel and clean off the iPod screen, per the instructions. Follow up with another Dremel run, this time using the “B” polishing solution, and the iPod screen was good as new. I wish I had taken before and after photos, because the difference was unbelievable…but that iPod has since been dropped, hacked, and sold for parts. The upshot is that I learned a lot doing all these mods and have become quite proficient at iPod repair. I hope someone can make use of this information for their own hacks or fixes.

And, despite my mishap, I still think that RadTech’s iPod “sleevz” are the best cases out there. They come in plenty of colors and fit iPods of all flavors. Just watch out for that beach sand.

Update: Following the comments, I’ve since tried Brasso and found that it works quite well, too.

iPod Screen Scratch Removal

36 thoughts on “iPod Screen Scratch Removal

  1. Remove Scratches from iPod

    Here’s a good, pretty short article from Collin at Command-Tab that describes how he was able to remove a big scratch from his iPod screen: So, I fired up my standard tool of choice — the Dremel. With the included polishing wheel attached, I put a …


  2. I use the Radtech cases too (black for me). There are no other cases out there like them. It’s a shame that they don’t have them in other colors.

    And I also tried out the Ice Creme polisher, but it didn’t work too well. It ended up creating scratches of its own, but I’ll be sure to try out your method.


  3. HayMoose says:

    YESSSSSS! I have found the solution!!!!! I was reading all of the postings about scratched Apple Ipod screens. I have found the answer…”KIT” “SCRATCH OUT” is it! Found over on the automotive waxes aisle of most auto parts stores. It is in a bright yellow plastic bottle. “Easily removes scratched and stains…from auto finishes…plus plexiglass and plastic.”

    There are 100% cotton towels right beside it thanks to the great merchandising geniuses out there. All paid it was only an $8 procedure. I followed the instructions and repeated about 6 times to completely rid my plastic “TiVo” Edition 20GB Ipod color display screen of all the scratches! It really does work!!! Be prepared to use that elbow though.

    I was just about to break down and buy just the replacement from. Not anymore!


  4. Ryan says:

    Iv been looking for something to rid my baby of its scratches… I have recently bought a 60 gig video(black) that is severly scratched and Iv been looking for a polish, cleaner or somthing to get rid of them (scratches) and iv come up with zip. but “scratchout” might do the trick.

    thanks joe


  5. Pete says:

    My beloved 30gig video has endured minor but visible scratches to the screen!! ARRGHH! what is the best method for removing scratches from the white front and the screen without causing further damage?

    Also, there are scrathces on the shiny back, what can i do?


  6. Angela says:

    My Nano has minor but visible scratches on the edges from the SCREEN PROTECTER! ERRG. and I happen to have a big and very visible scratch on the screen. Is there anything that could remove the scatches without causing any minor scratches? please.. I’m desperate.


  7. Tom says:

    I’ve used iDrops, and it works awesome! It took some time to get all the scratches out (about half an hour), but the stuff did wonders for my iPod.

    Their customer service was amazing, too. I emailed about how to use it (the instructions on the bottle were kinda vague), and within a half hour, I had a nice detailed message on how to get better results.

    I tried iCleaner, but it left a lot of swirl marks, so I tried something else. I haven’t tried any of the other brands, but iDrops definitely gets my vote. I got it from their site at http://podshop.com/


  8. BMac2 says:

    I tried the KIT brand “scratch off” mentioned above. tax and all under 4 dollars at AutoZone. Worked WONDERS for my black ipod 30 gig video. It had some serious screen scratches, and a lot of ugliness. I really wish I had done some before and after pics. You would swear it was a new ipod screen on it now. Try the stuff. I took an old tube sock that was in the rag bin and about an hour or so on and off while doing other things rubbing and polishing. It looks great now.


  9. Porter says:

    The best product I have used on my iPods is iCleaner Ultra Pro. Don’t bother with iDrops — it was cheap but did not do the job, and just made the scratches worse….
    Get the iCleaner Ulta Pro or Pro kit as they are well worth the price:


  10. Chuck says:

    Pwalshj is right. The Novus products are the way to go. However, what is just as important is the cloth you use for polishing. Make sure it is a high quality microfiber cloth. Most of what people are talking about with residual scratches after polishing is caused by a poor quality cloth and not the polish itself. I haven’t used one but I imagine that the Novus polishes in combination with a Dremel like tool would yield speedy and quality results.


  11. RJ says:

    i have an older 20g ipod that is severly scratched. can i just go to a website somewhere and buy a replacement cover? everytime i search for a replacement cover, it shows only protective covers for ipods.


  12. John says:

    Another vote for iDrops. Less expensive than iCleaner, and worked out great for me. I was very impressed with the results. What convinced me to try it were the testimonials from users on the company’s blog page http://here/.

    It did take some time to get all of my scratches out, but I imagine every product will be about the same amount of time, total.

    Another thing I liked about the iDrops was that it was just one bottle rather than two or three to get the job done but not sure if that really matters or not.


  13. jim says:

    re:scratch’s,why not try t-cut car polisher and a bit of elbow grease,it also works a treat on scratch’s on dvds and cds,I found that out after my 360 put a gouge in one of my games and I then spent about 30 mins polishing it out and now it works fine.


  14. Or you know you could, like, get an mp3 player made not out of plastic but of quality materials, like my iRiver H140, which has a carbon black magnesium case that, after four years being lugged around, has no scratches. None at all. Seriously.


  15. Ted says:

    Umm, sure seems like an awful lot of pro idrops and icleaner posts… I smell a shill, the stuff is crap people.

    At any rate, I’ve really tried everything mentioned here as I repair and refurbish iPods for a living. I can honestly say that ice creme is the best by far-we purchase it by the half gallon now.

    And the cloths that come with ice creme are far superior to anything else. You can remove fine scratches and daily wear and tear with just a damp ice creme cloth.

    And none of these other kits do squat for the back, whereas the ice creme includes a special tool that makes even the worst iPod back look new.

    If you have fine scratches William (black iPod I bet), just polish with a damp ice creme cloth-takes them right out.

    My .02, ice creme just works.


  16. jannikins says:

    I used toothpaste (Colgate–non abrasive) and a CD scratch removal kit. First I buffed the scratches with the toothpaste and then after that used the CD scratch removal kit for the fine scratches…Took me 6 hours but I am very happy with the results!


  17. I’m struggling with deciding what of all these products I should use – I suspect that the product doesn’t matter quite so much if you’re using a Dremel. That’s brilliant!


  18. Glen says:

    I’m having a hard time deciding what to use as well. I’ve read so much conflicting views. I hear Kit Scratch Out is good, but I can’t find it here (in Canada). Another one I read is good is Novus Plastic Polish.

    One I found is Quixx Acrylic Scratch Remover for acrylic glass and plexiglass. And if I’m not mistaken the iPod Classic screen is made of Lucite (aka acrylic glass). I assume this will work well, I haven’t tried it yet…

    Any info anyone?


  19. sara says:

    to all the people on this site, you can buy a replacement screen on ebay for $10, and it comes with all the tools. so instead of spending the money on cleaners you can just have a brand new screen


  20. georgert says:

    I recommend the Dremel method, but not while drinking. I got a good buzz on then decided to do some repairs around the house. My 5G iPod got all sorts of furrows ground in the case. Now I have a 7G Classic, so I’m not so worried anymore.


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