How To Look After Your Videotapes

To help your VHS tapes last as long as possible, the experts recommend the following:

  • Store tapes between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 to 60 percent humidity. If you are comfortable, probably your tapes are.
  • Avoid sudden temperature changes, even within these recommended zones. Neither cold damp basements nor hot dusty attics are good choices for storing your tapes.
  • Be especially careful of condensation - allow at least 24 hours before using when you change the temperature or humidity of your tape.
  • Keep the tapes evenly wound and always rewind them fully. If the tape looks uneven, wind it again. If possible, rewind at slower speeds.
  • Store tapes upright as you would books and keep them in their original cases. You can buy plastic cases to store them in but even the cardboard cases do a good job of keeping the dust away.
  • Put the labels on correctly, where they belong and do not add labels on top of labels. They can interfere with cassette loading and possibly come off inside your VCR.
  • Exercise your tapes once every three years by rewinding or forwarding them.
  • Avoid magnetic fields - the area around any magnet. Your tapes can be erased so do not store them near speakers, motors, toys or other magnetic sources.
  • Transfer your footage every seven years. That helps prevent the images and sounds from fading away.

Are you building your VHS tape collection or looking to protect an existing collection?

Some movies are not available on DVD and they may never be. Would you buy a VHS movie that is not available on DVD for your movie or film collection?

See you
at the movies!

More Reading:

A Collector’s Guide to VHS Videotapes. 
Orson Welles' Ghost Story (1951) 
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

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