Wipe Out! is first aid for CDs

You've probably experienced it at least once: You put your CD-ROM in the drive and it doesn't load. When you examine it and discover that the culprit is a scratch in the CD's surface, you figure it's a lost cause and pitch it in the trash.

Thanks to Esprit Development Corp. , Flemington, N.J., this scenario now might have a much happier ending. When you discover a scratch, instead of tossing the CD, you can grab a bottle of the company's Wipe Out! CD repair solution, rub it on the offending scratch and voil& Aacute;: Your CD loads.

Wipe Out! is a polishing compound that removes scratches and renders CDs readable again. It works on data, multimedia and music CDs as well as DVDs. The only stipulation is that the scratch must not have damaged the digital wafer beneath a CD's polycarbonate coating. In that case, the actual data is damaged. However, the vast majority of CD scratches do not penetrate that far and likely can be removed with Wipe Out!, even if they appear to be fairly deep.

The product comes in a 0.75 oz. bottle, enough to repair about 80 CDs because each repair job takes only a few drops. A nonabrasive cloth also comes with the Wipe Out! kit.

We tried Wipe Out! on a couple of music CDs that skipped, and it worked fine. Sometimes locating the scratch can be difficult, but in those cases, you can scrub the entire CD and often get positive results. You also may have to apply the product more than once.

Even if it doesn't work every time, the $15 bottle is a worthwhile investment because otherwise you would have to replace any scratched CDs. And Wipe Out! repairs scratches permanently, so no maintenance is required after initial treatment.

The kit includes a handy sheet of detailed information, instructions and helpful hints. For example, it tells you that CD-ROMs and music CDs read data from the inside of the disc to the outside, opposite of vinyl records. Therefore, if a later track on a music CD is skipping, you should examine its outer edges.

We think this is an innovative product that is well worth a try. Wipe Out! is available at select retailers such as Sam Goody, or you can order it directly from the company with a $3 shipping and handling charge applied. Call (800) 947-3688 or visit www.cdrepair.com.

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