Whether it's from the car keys in your pocket or an accidental drop, our phones are bound to be victims of scratches and scuffs.
The best (and safest!) way to fix your scratched and scuffed-up iPhone, Android phone, or other mobile device is to replace the screen!
Apple for example only charges $29 to replace your screen(opens in a new tab) if you have AppleCare+. If your warranty is expired, it costs around $129-$379 for Apple to change out the screen, depending on your iPhone model. You can probably find reputable third-party local businesses who will replace your screen for even less.
If you're looking for DIY methods, its never been easier to load up a how-to video online. Companies like iFixIt(opens in a new tab) will give you all the tools you need, though prices will vary significantly according to the phone model you're trying to repair.
If even those repair options are out of reach, there are some quick DIY fixes that may help you remove some shallow scratches from your beloved gadget.
Here are nine remedies that have had various degrees of success when it comes to rescue phones from minor scratches.
Before trying any of these methods out, make sure you power down your phone, remove the battery (if you can) and seal the ports of your phone with tape to prevent liquid damage. Again, these methods are for minor, annoying marks on your phone. If you have major scratches and cracks on your screen, you're going to need to go to the pros or completely replace the screen yourself.
And maybe also consider a screen protector(opens in a new tab) next time.
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Look no further than your bathroom to cure small marks on your phone's screen. The key here is to use actual toothpaste, not a gel-based toothpaste.
Here's how this method works:
Dab a small amount of toothpaste onto the end of a cotton swab or clean, soft cloth.
Gently rub the cotton swab or cloth in circular motions on the screen until you see the scratch go away.
After this, wipe your screen with a slightly dampened cloth to remove any excess toothpaste.
2. Sandpaper or drill grinders
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Grinding stubborn phone scratches with sandpaper or a small drill grinder is a drastic solution, but has the ability to remove unwanted scuffs from your phone. We don't recommend using this one on your phone's screen. It’s best to use this method for smoothing out scratches on the back of your phone.
When using fine sandpaper, it's important to use the least abrasive kind and to press gently onto your phone. As you grind the phone scratches, check often to make sure there is no damage on the screen.
Note: If you aren't careful, this method can end up causing more scratches and damage.
3. Magic Erasers
Magic Erasers, like the ones sold by Mr. Clean, are the perfect size to maneuver around your phone to get out small scratches. But Magic Erasers' looks can be a bit deceiving. They're abrasive and work basically like wet sandpaper, so we urge the same caution as the method above.
4. Baking soda
Mix two parts baking soda and one part water in a bowl to create a thick paste that can help get rid of scratches of your phone. Credit: FLICKR, KAFKA4PREZ
Baking soda can serve as a handy phone scratch remover. Be careful with this method, you don't want to end up water damaging your phone too. Here's how this remedy works:
Mix two parts baking soda and one part water in a bowl.
Stir until it forms a thick paste.
Apply the paste to a clean, soft cloth and gently rub in a circular motion on the phone's scratches.
After this, wipe your screen with a fresh, slightly dampened cloth to remove any excess.
5. Baby powder
Baby powder mixed with water creates a thick paste that can be used to remove scratches on your phone. Credit: FLICKR, AUKIRK
Adding water to baby powder creates a paste that can take out the scratches on your phone. In the steps above, simply substitute baby powder for baking soda. And again, be careful not to water damage your phone.
6. Vegetable oil
For small, hidden scratches, vegetable oil is said to work well as a temporary solution. One tiny drop of vegetable oil on top of scratches can be a quick cosmetic fix.
7. Egg and potassium aluminum sulfate
Mixing egg whites and potassium aluminum sulfate can get rid of some small scratches.
For this, you'll need a microfiber cloth, an egg, aluminum foil, and alum (potassium aluminum sulfate, which can be purchased at your local drugstore).
Mix one egg white and one teaspoon of alum in a saucepan. Heat to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Soak the microfiber cloth in the egg and alum mixture.
Put the cloth on aluminum foil, and then place it into a 300-degree oven until the cloth is completely dry.
Take the cloth out of the oven and rinse it in cold water for 20 to 30 seconds.
Repeat the step above three times, and then let the cloth air-dry for 48 hours.
Now, use the cloth to remove scratches.
8. Car scratch removal creams
Car scratch removal creams such as Turtle Wax, 3M Scratch, and Swirl Remover can minimize and get rid of minor scratches. Simply apply the cream to a clean, soft cloth and wipe your screen in a gentle, swirling motion.
9. Brasso, Silvo, or other polishes
Silvo and Brasso have been said to clean and repair scratches on phones. Credit: FLICKR, MARKCPH
A word of caution before you follow through with this method: Using polishes such as Brasso and Silvo can sometimes remove the screen coating and result in larger scratches. Try this at your own risk.
Pour polish into a bowl. It's a good idea to put a towel underneath the bowl so it does not spill.
Dip a soft cloth into the polish.
Rub the cloth up and down the scratch and in circular motions.
After this, wipe your screen with a fresh cloth to remove any excess.
UPDATE: May. 24, 2023, 1:30 p.m. AEST This article was originally published in 2014, updated in 2018, then updated again in May 2023.