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Can You Play Moldy VHS Tapes? Tips on How to Clean Mold and Prevent It

Can You Play Moldy VHS Tapes

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

If you’ve stored your VHS tapes for a long time, you may have spotted a white substance clinging to the inner magnetic tape.

This shows that your tapes have had a mold attack.

Why does VHS grow mold?

A mold attack results from storing your VHS tapes in unfavorable environmental conditions.

Mold growth may result in tapes stored in an area where there is a high humidity level owing to hydrolysis.

Tapes need to be stored at a suitable temperature and humidity level.

So, avoid storing your tapes in your basement, loft, or shed.

Can Mold Damage Your VHS Tape?

Yes, mold on your tape should not be ignored or treated lightly. If you try to play a moldy tape, you risk damaging it.

Not only that, mold can get stuck on your VCR head and affect its performance. You may need to send your machine for servicing.

Can Mold from a Tape Spread to Others?

Yes, it’s possible. You should separate moldy tapes from the good ones.

Types of Mold

There are two types of mold – active and dormant.

Active Mold

Active mold is moist. It can easily smudge when touched. In this state, mold can easily spread to other tapes.

If you spot such a mold, it’s advisable to quarantine the tape. Also wash your hands if you touched it, as it may cause health issues.

If possible, put the tape into a sealed plastic bag. Add silica gel to it to help absorb any moisture and prevent further mold growth.

Use gloves and a face mask when coming close to an active mold.

Dormant Mold

When moisture is gone, an active mold becomes dormant. In this instance, the mold looks white and dusty.

In this state, the mold can be easily cleaned and removed.

Now that you have an understanding of tape mold, let’s see how you can get mold off VHS Tapes

How to Clean Moldy VHS Tapes

To clean a moldy VHS tape, you would need to open up the casing. If you don’t have any experience doing that, you should not attempt it.

The job is better left to a professional.

However, if you have experience dismantling VHS tapes and want to give it a try, watch the video below for guidance.

Let it be known that you risk damaging your tape if you have no prior experience. You may want to try it with a commercial tape. Avoid doing it with a tape that contains personal memories.

VHS Tape Cleaning Machine

If you have a bunch of moldy tapes, you want to use a VHS tape cleaning machine to get rid of the mold.

In this way, you don’t have to manually dismantle the tape.

Kinyo VHS Tape Cleaner

An example of a VHS tape cleaning machine is the Kinyo UV-230C VHS Cassette Rewinder and Cleaner.

An advantage of using this machine is you can clean your tapes before playing them on your VCR.

Be reminded though that this VHS tape-cleaning machine is not suitable for heavy mold.

You may use it in the early stages of a mold attack.

Watch the video below to see the VHS tape-cleaning machine in action.

Check out the Kinyo UV-230C VHS Cassette Rewinder and Cleaner.

VHS Tape Cleaning Service Near Me

If you don’t fancy going the DIY route when it comes to cleaning tape mold, you may opt for a VHS tape cleaning service.

There may not be any specialized tape cleaning services around as audio and video tapes aren’t in vogue these days.

However, you may try your luck with a tape-to-digital service.

Many would be willing to clean your tape for an additional cost if you employ their tape-to-digital services.

However, enquire in advance if they’re willing to clean your moldy tapes.

If you can find a VHS tape cleaning service near you, you may want to try looking for one online.

How do I Prevent Mold on My Tapes?

Check your tapes now and then. At least once every few weeks.

Also, store your tapes in a dry place. The place must not be humid and excessively exposed to light.

Also, when you spot early signs of a mold attack, you should take action. Use a VHS tape cleaner to remove the mold while it’s still in its infancy.

Getting a mold attack on your precious VHS collections is not a pleasant situation. Especially, if the tapes contain personal memories.

The best thing you can do is prevent them from happening by following the tips above.

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