The notion that regular folks have some control over the mobile technology developed by some of the sharpest minds in the tech world may seem dubious to most. Indeed, that’s why most people simply replace a smartphone screen – or even the entire device – when it becomes scratched or otherwise damaged. But even though modern smartphone LCD screens represent the utmost in touch-screen technology, many times they can indeed be fixed by regular folks – especially if the scratches are not too severe.

Not only that, but fixing smartphone screen scratches doesn’t require specialized tools or tech know-how — merely some common household items and a bit of elbow grease. With that in mind, here are some household remedies anyone can use when they ding that touch screen.

Toothpaste to the rescue

Many who hear that it’s possible to remove smartphone screen scratches with toothpaste often regard it as an old wives’ tale. The reality is that toothpaste is surprisingly effective when it comes to buffing out LCD scratches. That’s because the active ingredient in toothpaste is not harsh, and therefore doesn’t damage sensitive glass and plastic. Of course, the key is to find a toothpaste in its purist form. That means purchasing a regular tube of basic toothpaste, without whitening protection or other chemicals, which can be harsh.

Once a basic toothpaste is obtained, the steps to removing scratches are as follows:

  1.  Thoroughly clean the surface of the smartphone screen with a soft or microfiber cloth.
  2. Add a dollop of toothpaste to a cotton ball or cotton swab and apply to the damaged are of the smartphone screen. Work the toothpaste into the area gently in a circular motion.
  3. Wait a few minutes for the toothpaste to fully set. It is during this time that the ingredients in the toothpaste will get to work on the scratches or scuffs.
  4. Dampen – do not wet – a clean soft cloth and use it to remove the toothpaste from the screen.
  5. Repeat the steps until all scratches and scuffs are no longer visible on the screen.

Pro scratch removers

Not all scuffs and scratches are created equal, and therefore it may be necessary to bring in the big guns. Rather than total screen replacement, scratch-afflicted smartphone owners can opt for a retail scratch remover. There are many effective products on the market such as Scratch-Out, Sonax and Displex.

Once the product has been selected, here is how to use it:

  1. Clean the screen with a soft or microfiber cloth.
  2. Apply the product to a new soft cloth according to the product’s recommended usage.
  3. Wipe the product over the damaged area of the screen in a circular motion for between five and ten minutes (or for the amount of time recommended on the product label).
  4. Wipe the screen clean with a damp soft or microfiber cloth.

By following these simple guidelines, smartphone owners with scuffed screens should be able to buff out most of the damage and get their handset back to its shimmering best. And the best part about these remedies: they hardly cost any money at all.

Scott Johnson is a tech blogger who writes on behalf of companies such as smartphone insurer, a popular company that insures gadgets people can’t live without.