Nothing like a little hyperbole to start off a blog post. Actually, I did think I ruined my gocco. Here's what happened: In my eagerness to start printing I forgot to add the screen when I burned my screen. See the photo below.
What happens is the carbon from the photocopy fuses the image to the plastic window. I tried to clean it, starting with the least abrasive method I could think of (glass cleaner and a paper towel) but it didn't work. Then I consulted The New Gocco Guide, by Claire Russel, and she advised that I'd have to replace the window. That's really not an option for me at this time. So I was pretty bummed, but I figured I didn't have anything left to lose and tried cleaning the window using a combination of screen cleaner and a scrub sponge (mildly abrasive). In retrospect, I wish I had started with the screen cleaner and maybe a gentler abrasive like baking soda. Shoulda, woulda, coulda...
So everything turned out alright, and I have a theory about that, but first here's a quick montage of the process:
My theory is that the gocco screen burning process is activated by heat rather than light. Therefore, if the screen is scratched and/or cloudy it won't affect the image because it is the heat of the bulbs that melt the thin layer of plastic film on the screen. That's just my theory.