Mouldy video tapes

Mouldy video tapes

Mouldy video tapes – I often get video tapes to digitise that have not been stored that well, e.g. in a loft or garage. But even video tapes that have been stored in a cupboard in the house can be a problem. Decades of sitting in a home environment, which can have relatively high moisture levels, can still mean that they can get covered in small white deposits. These deposits are mould forming on the edge of the tape itself. Basically you will have mouldy video tapes.

mouldy video tapes

White areas are mould on video tapes

The problem in this situation is that when the tape is played (or fast forwarded on the reel) it gets stuck to itself and so rips. This makes that part of the tape unplayable. If things have been left too long, it is not possible to play the tape. Therefore, all those precious family memories are lost forever.

The Guardian offers the following advise

VHS and audio tape should not be stored in:

  • garden sheds
  • lofts, cellars or anywhere where the temperature fluctuates

Tapes should be kept:

  • in the dark
  • away from direct heat sources
  • labelled in a cool cupboard that is heated during the winter

How to deal with tape mould:

  • Look for a fine white dust
  • Don’t blow it away across the rest of your collection
  • Don’t play the damaged tape (you could infect the machine)
  • Don’t throw away mouldy cardboard casings or surrounding storage boxes without noting down the details of the recording, such as the date, location and names
  • Do not place near other newer tapes
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after touching infected tape

So, I recommend that you do not leave your precious memories on video tapes any longer – get them digitised as soon as possible.

For pricing an full details of our media digitising services click here

How should you store your precious old video tape memories?

Video tapes start degrading from the moment they have been recorded! In fact they sometimes only last 10 to 20 years, especially if they are not stored correctly. They should be stored vertically like a book on a bookshelf, not lying flat. They should be stored well away from heat sources and any damp or moisture. This is because it is mainly the moisture in the air which reacts with the glue holding the magnetic particles to the plastic video tape which causes the tapes to degrade and become unplayable.  Making those memories accessible again, whether it’s your old camcorder video tapes, boxes of photographs, slides, negatives, your old record collection or even your CD or DVD library, we can lovingly transfer your memories onto a system so that they can be enjoyed once again at any time by the entire family on your TV and home entertainment system.  Read more

Videos Can Degrade In Only 5 To 30 Years

Magnetic tapes, such as those used to video precious family memories, actually degrade quicker than many people think. In fact there is a chemical process that is going on which will eventually make the tape unplayable. This Life Expectancy can be in the range of only 5 to 30 years! It is dependent on the way the tapes are stored (physical location, orientation, temperature and relative humidity). Many people have video tapes from the 1980s which really should be protected as soon as possible. The best way to do this is to digitise them. offer a high quality, personalised service at a competitive price.