Does the toothpaste phone screen repair really work?
Even more prolific than the urban legend of putting a water-damaged phone in rice is the curious lifehack of the toothpaste screen repair.
Can toothpaste be used to remove scratches from a phone screen?
Apparently, the theory is that the toothpaste being slightly abrasive will buff out some of the scratches and fill in any large cracks.
The Team at We Solve All have been repairing phones for a very long time. However, we’ve never considered using toothpaste in any of our repairs. We are an objective in the way that we undertake our work though. What’s more, we welcome any break-through or development in repair technology.
So, we had to try it for ourselves.
Testing the toothpaste phone screen repair
Here we have a Samsung S7 Edge with three different kinds of damage to the screen. Firstly, we have a light scratch in the middle.
Secondly, there is a deeper scratch on the top of the phone near to the earpiece.
Finally, a full on break in the lower corner of the phone that has caused a crack to the screen.
Apparently by applying a small amount of toothpaste to a cloth and rubbing into the scratches we should see a noticeable improvement to the condition of the screen.
Round one toothpaste screen repair results
As you can see, after applying the toothpaste, the scratches are still noticeable. Firstly, the light scratch in the middle of the Samsung phone screen.
Secondly, the toothpaste screen repair on the scratch by the phone’s earpiece had little to no effect.
Thirdly, the break in the lower corner that had cracked the screen saw no effect whatsoever from our toothpaste phone screen repair test.
Our second attempt
Potentially we may have got the process wrong – we are not so well practised in applying toothpaste to a phone screen. So, we attempted to repair the damage for a second time using toothpaste.
This time the scratches were briefly no longer visible, but only due to the large amount of toothpaste on the screen. After removing the excess toothpaste with a damp cloth, you can see that all the damage on the device is still very much visible.
Firstly, the light scratch in the middle of the Samsung phone screen. The damage is still clearly present.
Secondly, the scratch by the earpiece is still just as prominent after our toothpaste screen repair.
Finally, the crack in the lower corner remained unaffected by the use of toothpaste to somehow repair it.
Why has the toothpaste screen repair rumour started?
Toothpaste can be used to hide damage, but only if that damage is very minor. Plus, if you don’t mind having a slightly sticky uneven surface on your screen.
The story about using toothpaste to repair scratches likely arose from many of these life-hack YouTube channels. These are essentially content farms. They operate by rushing out as much visual content in the smallest time frame possible in order to get ahead of the YouTube algorithm.
In doing so, much of what they release is not deeply researched and greatly overplayed in the edit of the video. It would be very easy to shoot a video, apply toothpaste to a scuffed screen and cut to an identical device with no damage.
These kinds of videos were later re-posted and re-shot by other people on social media and thus build on the rumour.
Is there any reason why toothpaste would work?
Toothpaste is mildly abrasive and could, in the right conditions, remove the surface of the screen and make the scratches less visible. Unfortunately, it’s not abrasive enough to make any visible difference – at least to our eyes.
That’s not to say that you should use anything abrasive on your screen. Even if you are careful and kept it level, you could sand down into the touch capacitive layer of the device.
Additionally fluoride is a cleaning agent that can make your screen look a lot cleaner. A well-polished screen reflects light better and can obscure scratches from certain angles.
What toothpaste could never do is fill in the actual physical cracks. It’s a non-conductive agent that does not dry. Using toothpaste to fill in cracks in your phone is about as useful as using any other substance to fill in a gap in your device.
What can I do instead?
The easiest fix is to apply a screen protector to your phone. This will protect it from further damage and hide existing scratches. If you have any big cracks in your screen, this will bind them together and prevent them from spreading.
Otherwise, if the damage has become so bad that it needs to be replaced, it’s best to book in with us for a repair. We can replace any make and model of phone screen in our Norwich shop, repair by post service or with our call out team.