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Mould on VHS Tapes – How to Deal with It

VHS tape has become obsolete. With the advent of DVDs, the older format was swiftly replaced, and millions of people embraced DVD players to enjoy their favourite movies. However, many families still possess VHS tapes containing precious home videos capturing cherished memories from years past so cleaning the mould on vhs tapes will be of interest to them.

If you happen to own a VCR (vhs video player), you may have been able to watch these invaluable home movies over the years, even as the technology became outdated. But did you know that, apart from their age, your tapes are susceptible to mould growth, rendering them unusable? Humidity can do a lot of damage.

Cleaning VHS Mould

VHS Mould infestation poses a significant threat to tapes. It also affects camcorder tapes such as 8mm, video 8, hi8, digital 8 and mini dv tapes. If your tapes have been exposed to moisture, water, dust, or humid environments like attics and basements, there is a high likelihood of mould developing within the tiny crevices and bends of the tape.

Regrettably, mouldy tapes often go unnoticed if they remain unused for extended periods. The longer the mould has had to thrive on the tapes, the more severe the damage they will suffer. It’s unlikely that anyone watches videos of their child’s fourth birthday party on a daily or even yearly basis, increasing the risk of mould growth on such tapes.

Dealing with Mould on VHS Tapes

Once you have mould on vhs tapes, it becomes hard to ignore. The interior of the tape container will be covered in a white or green dust-like substance, and the tapes themselves will exhibit twisted layers of mould. It’s undoubtedly an unpleasant situation.

The good news is that if you detect the mould growth early enough, there may be a chance to salvage your tapes. If you only observe white, dust-like spots of mould on the VHS outer casing, simply wiping them off should render the tapes usable in a few cases.

Playing the will often render any playing machine useless thereafter since those particles can do a lot of damage all over again to the tape and the player.

If you’re unsure or unable to determine whether the mould has reached the tapes, you can entrust them to a professional who specialises in cleaning and repairing 8mm video tapes. However, it is best to prevent mould from occurring in the first place, eliminating the need to gamble with the fate of your precious home movies.

Studio Dedicated Mould Treatment Equipment

Supaphoto uses purpose-designed sets of restoration equipment to not only remove and reduce the vhs tape white mould but also repair the tape too. You cannot heal them without addressing humidity levels too for which we employ industry grade special sensors. Cleaning mould from vhs tapes is not an overnight process but it’s worth the wait. We’ve had hundreds of happy customers over the years from private individuals to museums and other intuitions.

Understanding the Science

We’ve even had to contract the services of specialist scientists in this field when working with archival restoration projects for museums. There in fact are many issues that can arise with magnetic media. Why do tapes go mouldy is a common question. These include binder degradation, magnetic particle instability, substrate deformation, magnetic tape recorders and format compatibility concerns. 

The most effective way to protect your tapes from the threat of mould is to regularly inspect them for mould growth. It is essential to store your tapes in a dry, humidity-free environment with minimal exposure to light. Take these precautions and your tapes will last significantly longer than if they were stored in a damp, dusty basement.

How to clean Mouldy VHS tapes
An established company like Supaphoto.com will have dedicated video equipment to deal with this. They will also be able to fix mouldy camcorder tapes including video 8, hi 8 and digital 8 tapes.

Ultimately, taking good care of your tapes will extend their lifespan compared to leaving them stored in an attic. However, the best way to safeguard those treasured home videos or mouldy tapes is to digitise them with Supaphoto where we can also improve them digitally after the manual process stage is complete.