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How to Destroy VHS Tapes to Erase Personal and Sensitive Content

How to Destroy VHS tapes

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:18 am

When we talk about destroying VHS tapes, we talk about

  • physically getting rid of VHS tapes that take up space
  • erasing the video content in the tapes

In most instances, you don’t have to take the trouble of physically destroying your VHS tapes.

It’s not an easy thing to do. It could be messy and may pose a health hazard.

You may send them to a recycling center or a techno trash recycling service and they’ll do the job more efficiently.

What we’re concerned about here is how to destroy the video content in VHS tapes.

You may have personal video content or one with sensitive business information that you don’t want to fall into the hands of others.

That said, here are some ways you can use to destroy VHS tapes before you send them over to a techno trash recycling center.

Record Over the Tape

If you’ve only a few tapes and a VCR, just record some other video content over them. You have to do this in real-time, of course.

Use the SP record mode to get it done faster.

This is probably the easiest way to destroy a VHS tape.

Use a Neodymium Magnet

A neodymium magnet can erase the content of your VHS tape. Just run over the magnet on both sides of the tape for about five minutes.

Ideally, choose a large magnet that covers a good area on the tape.

Watch the video below to get an idea of how it’s done.

Check out some good neodymium magnet choices.

Use a Bulk VHS Tape Eraser

If you have a big collection of tapes you need to erase, you could opt for a bulk VHS tape eraser.

This saves you the time and effort of erasing your VHS tapes through a VCR or a neodymium magnet.

All you have to do is power on the eraser. Then run it over both sides of the tape as shown in the video below.

Check out the RadioShack VHS Eraser.

Microwave the Tape

This may seem an odd suggestion. You don’t have to microwave the tape to the point of melting it. Just do it for 30 seconds to a minute.

That amount of time is enough to damage the video content in the tape.

Cut Up The Tape

If any of the above methods don’t appeal to you, then open up the VHS casing and take out the inner tape.

Then cut up the tape into as many small pieces as you can.

Watch this video to learn how to dismantle a VHS tape.

Don’t Burn the Tape

If you think you can easily destroy a VHS tape by burning it, think again.

VHS tape material is flammable. It may pose a fire risk if the burning is done in a closed environment.

Also, the fumes from the tape are toxic and give rise to air pollution.

You’ve learned the various methods on how to destroy VHS tapes. Choose the one that suits you best and get down to work.

Also, check out some ideas on what to do with your old family VHS tapes.

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