Layered transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) are two-dimensional materials exhibiting a variety of unique features with great potential for electronic and optoelectronic applications. The performance of devices fabricated with mono or few-layer TMD materials, nevertheless, is significantly affected by surface defects in the TMD materials. Recent efforts have been focused on delicate control of growth conditions to reduce the defect density, whereas the preparation of a defect-free surface remains challenging. Here, we show a counterintuitive approach to decrease surface defects on layered TMDs: a two-step process including Ar ion bombardment and subsequent annealing. With this approach, the defects, mainly Te vacancies, on the as-cleaved PtTe2 and PdTe2 surfaces were decreased by more than 99%, giving a defect density <1.0 × 1010 cm-2, which cannot be achieved solely with annealing. We also attempt to propose a mechanism behind the processes.