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Now that touchscreens and smartphones have become the norm, it's never been so common for phones to get scratched. Scratches can range from a cosmetic grievance to a full-blown wreck of your device, depending on the severity and placement of the scratch. While the worst scratches typically require replacing the screen, mild and moderate scratches can be solved at home. To remove scratches from a phone screen, you can try buffing them out with toothpaste (if the screen is plastic) or glass polish (if the screen is glass). After taking care of the problem, you should also take precautions to prevent future scratches.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:
Using Toothpaste (for Plastic Screens)

  1. 1
    Have toothpaste at the ready. Toothpaste should already be a standard part of your medicine cabinet and morning routine. Designed to be abrasive, toothpaste can fix a plastic scratch the same way it cleans teeth. Because it is home-based and shouldn't require additional purchases, toothpaste is the recommended remedy for fixing plastic scratches. It's important to make sure the toothpaste is an actual paste, as opposed to a gel-based toothpaste.[1] In order for the scratch to work, the toothpaste needs to be abrasive. Check your toothpaste box if you're unsure about the kind of toothpaste you are using.
    • A baking soda mixture has the same abrasive qualities as toothpaste. If you'd rather use baking soda, you can stir up a paste and use it in the same manner.
  2. 2
    Dab the toothpaste with an applicator.[2] Because this is a home-based remedy, there aren't any set rules of applicator you need to use. A soft cloth, paper towel, cotton swab or toothbrush can all suit your purposes in this instance. When you dab the toothpaste, you should only use a pea-sized amount. Any more will create an unwieldy mess on your phone.
  3. 3
    Apply toothpaste to the scratch. Once you've got your dab of toothpaste, rub it around in a gentle, circular motion. Continue doing this until the scratch is barely noticeable. Due to the fact that the toothpaste is abrasive on its own, you won't need to apply too much pressure. Keep at the scrubbing until you start to see progress. Even if the scratch is too significant to be done away with entirely, the abrasion should reduce the scratch.[3]
    • If your scratch is significant enough, toothpaste won't be enough to fix it. Even so, it should at least reduce the look of most scratches.
  4. 4
    Clean your phone. Once the scratch is reduced to your liking, it's a simple process of cleaning off the toothpaste. Taking a soft, slightly damp cloth and wiping away the excess toothpaste is a good start.[4] From there, you should take a polishing cloth and wipe away any dirt or oils that have otherwise built up on your screen. By doing this, you'll renew the look of your phone, and hopefully make your phone look better than even before the scratch.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 3:
Using Glass Polish (for Glass Screens)

  1. 1
    Purchase a cerium oxide polish. If your phone has a glass screen (instead of a plastic one) you'll have to use a more heavy-duty solution than toothpaste or baking soda to get scratches off your phone. In this case, a cerium oxide polish is recommended. This type of polish can be bought as a soluble powder, or in a pre-mixed form. While the pre-mixed polish is obviously the more convenient option, you'll get much better value if you buy it in its powdered form.
    • 100g of cerium oxide powder should be more than enough when it comes to polishing your phone screen. You may want to buy a larger amount in the event of future scratching however.
  2. 2
    Mix your powder into a slurry. If you bought powdered cerium oxide, you'll first need to prep the mix yourself. Luckily, this is very easy, and likely worth the money you'll be saving. Pour some powder (approx. 50-100g) into a small container. Slowly add water until the solution has the consistency of dairy cream. Mix regularly as you add the water in order to make sure your measurements are correct.
    • Measurements don't have to be perfect in the case of this polish, so long as you make sure there's enough water for the polish to soak into an applicator.
    • This step can be disregarded completely if you buy a pre-mixed polish.
  3. 3
    Block off all vulnerable spots with tape. A cerium oxide polish will do a number on your device if it seeps into any of the phone's holes, including the speaker, headphone jack or charger input. It can also potentially endanger your phone's cam lens. With that in mind, you should first cordon off the area you'd like to have polished with tape. Cover up whatever parts of your phone that might have problems if they're touched by the polish.
    • Taping up your phone before cleaning may seem overzealous, but it's highly recommended you follow through with this step before proceeding forward. In the case of a foul-up, your phone can be quickly wrecked otherwise.
  4. 4
    Apply the polish to the scratched area. Dab a smooth polishing cloth in your cerium oxide mix, and rub the scratched area in a vigorous, circular motion. Regularly check to see how the scratch is looking as you tend the area. Every 30 seconds or so, it's a good idea to wipe away the mix with the opposite end of your cloth, dab the cloth in new polish, and repeat the process for maximum effectiveness.
    • When applying an abrasive polish, you'll want to go harder with the application than if you were simply cleaning it. Make sure not to go too hard, however. There would be nothing worse than causing new cracks in the screen while you're trying to fix old ones.
  5. 5
    Give your phone a follow-up clean. Once you've applied and cleaned off the polish, it won't hurt to give your phone a quick once-over with a polishing cloth. This will wipe away any excess debris caused by the polish process. Remove the tape you added before polishing and wipe your phone. It doesn't need to take more than a minute or two to do thoroughly, but you may be impressed how much nicer your phone looks once you've wiped away the excess muck.
    • You should wipe your screen regularly. Twice a day may sound like a lot, but it only takes a second, and will ensure your screen stays healthy.
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Method 3
Method 3 of 3:
Preventing Scratches

  1. 1
    Purchase a screen protector.[5] Cellphones have never been so fragile and prone to scratching as they are today. Screen protectors are commonplace, and you should invest in one if you're the slightest bit worried about damaging your phone. Common phone protectors aren't generally too expensive, and they'll be much more affordable than replacing your screen or phone if the damage is bad enough. Higher-end protectors are virtually unbreakable, while affordable brands will at least take damage so your phone proper won't have to.
    • Between a plastic screen protector and tempered glass protector, you are better off investing in the latter.[6] Tempered glass protectors offer better durability, visibility, and comfortable feel.[7]
  2. 2
    Wipe your screen regularly. Small scratches can occur on your screen if you leave excess debris on your screen. Wiping your screen clean with a microfiber or silk cloth a couple times per day will keep your phone screen looking its best. Wiping your screen is especially useful if your phone is a touchscreen, as built-up oils and fingerprints can smudge the screen and blur it up.
    • Using clothes fabric like a shirt sleeve or even a dishcloth can also work as screen wipers, although ideally you'll want the smoothness of silk or microfiber when it comes to maintaining your screen.
  3. 3
    Stow your phone somewhere safe. Most of the time your phone is scratched or damaged, you'll be on the go somewhere. It's important to consider where scratches come from and how they're most likely to be made. Put your phone in a separate pocket than your keys or coins. If possible, place your phone in a zip-up pocket to prevent it falling out accidentally.
    • Don't put your phone in your back pocket. On top of risking cracking if you sit down on it, there have been reports of it causing nerve problems due to the pressure it creates on your backside.[8]
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Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question
    Can I use toothpaste on my iPhone 5c screen?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    No, as the screen is glass, the toothpaste would corrode it. A friend of mine ruined his phone this way. Don't try it.
  • Question
    My phone has a scratch and the toothpaste I have is Crest Whitening. Will that work? It's a Samsung.
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    Does your Samsung have a glass or plastic screen? If it's a Galaxy S7, S8 or S9, it won't work.
  • Question
    Will toothpaste work on the Galaxy s9?
    Community Answer
    Community Answer
    No, the Galaxy S9 has a glass screen, which will be ruined by toothpaste. The polishing method must be used.
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      • While you should be able to tell whether your screen is glass or plastic based on the difference in touch, looking up the model of phone you have (either online or via your user manual) should give indication as to what material you should use.[9]
      • There are new and upcoming types of phones branded as "self-healing" devices. The plastic in these phones will actually repair moderate scratches on their own. If you're particularly scratch-prone and like to keep your devices in peak condition, you may want to check out a self-healing model for your next phone purchase.[10]
      • Phone scratches are a woefully common problem, and there are plenty of professionals who make a living fixing those problems. If your phone scratch is significant enough or you don't have the time to fix it yourself, you can look online for a phone repair shop near you. Be forewarned that some of these places can get fairly expensive, so it's always best to try to solve the issue yourself.


      • If you choose to use a heavy-duty polish, you may end up scrubbing off part of the screen coating as well. Screen coating (such as an oleophobic coating) is there to reduce friction and increase comfort while using the device. Keep this in mind and weigh the pros and cons of polishing your screen.

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      About This Article

      Linh Le
      Co-authored by:
      Certified Mobile Repair Specialist
      This article was co-authored by Linh Le. Linh Le is a Certified Mobile Repair Specialist and the Owner of SC Mobile Repairs in San Clemente, California. With more than 12 years of experience, he specializes in smartphone, tablet, and smartwatch hardware repair. Linh has an iTech Mobile Device Repair Certification and an iOS Certification. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from The Franciscan University of Steubenville. This article has been viewed 629,072 times.
      How helpful is this?
      Co-authors: 14
      Updated: July 28, 2022
      Views: 629,072
      Article SummaryX

      Scratches on your phone screen are a nuisance, but you can fix some minor scratches on your own with household products. If your phone screen has a plastic cover, try buffing out scratches with toothpaste. Make sure you use a toothpaste with a pasty texture instead of a gel. Apply a dab of the toothpaste to a soft cloth, a cotton swab, or a soft-bristle toothbrush. Gently rub the paste over the scratched area in a circular motion until the scratch fades. Then, wipe your screen clean with a soft, slightly damp cloth. Finish up by wiping it with a dry microfiber polishing cloth. For glass screens or screen covers, use a cerium oxide glass polishing powder instead. Mix about 100 g of the powder with enough water to create a paste with a creamy consistency. Cover your speaker and any other ports, such as your charger or headphone port, with tape to keep the polish from getting in. Dip a polishing cloth in the glass polish mix and rub it vigorously over the scratched area using circular motions. After about 30 seconds, wipe away the polish and see if the scratch has faded. Repeat this process until the scratch is gone or faded to your liking. When you’re done, wipe away the polish and remove the tape. Then, go over your phone again with a clean, dry polishing cloth. To learn how to prevent scratches on your phone screen, keep reading!

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