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If you ever needed concrete proof that Wikipedia sometimes has incorrect information, might I suggest their listing for Brasso, a multipurpose metal polish that has been around pretty much unchanged for just over 100 years. I got a can from a friend and was quite amazed at the fantastic job it did on my aluminum sink. Soon I was trying it on different metals all over the house and the results were all the same.....outstanding.

I decided to look further into the nature of this marvelous liquid and did some surfing around on the web. Among the many pages singing Brasso's praises was one that resided on Wikipedia, the user-editable online encyclopedia that has been the center of much controversy during the past year. Educators claim that since many of the listings come from your average Joe Visitor and not authenticated topical experts, a great deal of the posted information is erroneous, a claim which Wikipedia sort of denies.

The Wikipedia entry for Brasso gives a resounding seal of approval of the product as well as some interesting background information. Then I came to the line in the Trivia section that had my eyes popping wide:

Brasso is also used to polish CDs, DVDs and other optical discs in order to repair scratches. It is a mild solvent and a mild abrasive, so when applied to the reflective surface of the disc and rubbed radially (in straight lines between the edge and center), it can smooth scratches and reduce their effect. Although the effect is invisible to the naked eye (and often makes the surface look more opaque), it can tremendously improve the ability of many disc drives to read the disc.

Now for many years those of us in the know in radio have used car wax to clean CD's, and for pretty much the same reason as the claim for Brasso. As a matter of fact, not only does my Turtle Wax Ultra Gloss do a fantastic job, it smells great too. So I figured since Brasso did such a terrific job on the other projects around my house, I would try it on a CD.

Thank goodness I did my test on an old, improperly burned but dirty and scratchy home made disc. Brasso was just too abrasive for the task and actually rendered the disc useless. In fact, I could hear it grinding into the surface of the disc as I applied it. Even after a better than thorough cleaning of residue off the CD surface, the end result was a real disaster.

TAKE IT FROM ME....don't use Brasso on CD discs. Go with your store bought CD cleaning solutions or a car wax such as the Turtle Wax I described above. And more than anything else, don't believe everything you read on Wikipedia.

Mark Edwards


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