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Old March 16th, 2003, 08:16 AM   #1
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 3
Moldy video tapes.

I have quite an extensive collection of VHS tapes that due to the local environment (high humidity) are almost unplayable. I would like to archive them to either dvd or vcd at some point but in the interim I would like to clean them up. Has anyone here ever had to restore VHS tapes and remove mold?
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Old March 16th, 2003, 09:41 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: LAs Vegas, Nevada
Posts: 43

Greetings Craig! Welcome aboard.

First off I suggest you lay your hands on an old VCR to go with the tapes. The mold will not be kind to the heads on anything equipment that you use so go cheap in this area. Don't use any 36 head, crinkle finish, chrome-reversed, dual overhead LCD display units.

First, get this out of your atmosphere now! You need to have then in a reletively dry place. This will cause the mold to die. If the tape has been tightly wrapped you will probably be in better shape as the moisture will not have gotten down very far into the tape. Usually the first wrap or so will have mold on it (this is one of the reasons that the folks tell you to put a minute of color bars on the front and back of all tapes, it gives you and area that you can recognize and get rid of if necessary).

After the tapes are completely dry (and do not dry them with heat!) then use a small brush to clean off the tape edges. Again, if the tape was wrapped properly the mold will not have gotten inside of the loops. You can then use light pulses of compressed air, at an angle (you do not want to force mold spores further into the tape loops!), to blow away the dry mold.

I spent 7 years in Panama dealing with this type of problem. Even CD-roms will get mold INSIDE of the disk down there. There may be other methods that others will suggest that may be better than mine and I am going to tell you right now, "this is a lot of work" and you had better just flat 'love' those tapes because you will 'hate' them before you get to the other end of this project.

Have fun!
Edward Tune is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 16th, 2003, 07:43 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Tickfaw, LA
Posts: 1,217
Yeah, first get them someplace very, very dry. You might be able to warm them further with something like a Christmas tree light, but nothing more intense than that.

Take your time let them dry for quite a while. Like Ottotune says don't disturb the tapes until the mold dies. Then handle them carefully.
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