Care for a VHS Tape

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VHS Tapes always wear out a little bit every time when we play them. Here's how to care for them!

Tape degradation can be broken down into several categories: time, storage, handling and use.


Time: Over time the components of a video tape degrade. Most importantly the magnetic particles that contain the video data become instable and their physical properties change.

Storage: The environment in which you store video can accelerate the degradation process. The magnetic particles respond to environmental factors such as temperature fluctuations, extreme temperature, humidity, pollution, and sunlight.

Handling: Poor handling can expadite degradation. Avoid dropping the tape or handling the tape. It is easy to transfer dust, dirt and, grease onto tapes.

Use: The quality of your tape deck is important. A misaligned deck can stretch/tear tape and pack tape poorly. A dirty deck can turn small debris into large scratches. Each time a tape is played friction occurs assisting in the degradation process. [1]


  1. Keep your tape in its box when not being used.
  2. Store the tape in a cool dark place
  3. Be careful when handling a tape. Don't drop it or touch the film part of the tape


  • Don't play your tape nonstop.
  • Don't ever touch the tape inside.

Related Tips and Steps

Sources and Citations