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mold/mildew on a VCR tape?

I have video tapes of my daugher as a baby & went to a photo store to get put onto DVDs. The tape of her second birthday party has mold or mildew on it & the photo store said they wouldn't try to put it on DVD since it is damaged. Do you know of any safe way to clean this? Thanks for any help!

3 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    i dont know how to fix that, but you got some mad moisture in your house

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I just ran my tape through my VCR at fast forward 3 or 4 times and it got rid of most of the mold

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  • 1 decade ago

    Video Tape Cleaning - Mold Damaged Tapes

    Anywhere moisture or high humidity is present and the environment or the air contains even trace amounts of mold spores and other organic materials that serve as a "food" source, it's only a matter of time before mold spores decide that your video tape might be a nice place to live ! They perhaps "think" to themselves: "Hmmm..... A constant source of water - plenty of food and nice & dark in here.... This looks nice - Luxury accomodations ! - - - Think I'll move in and and start a large family !").... This is especially a problem in the tropical maritime climates where constant high humidity is the norm. You can't do much about airborne spores or other organics in the air, nor is it advisable to leave your tapes out in the sun. The only avenue left to stop mold development or growth is to cut off their water supply. Storing tapes in an environmentally controlled area or better yet, in an airtight bag with a small packet of silica gel placed inside is one solution. Another would be to purchase a vacume sealer. The moulds and fungi if left to grow, can eventually infiltrate into the binder layer given enough time, making their removal impossible without destroying the tape.

    Cleanliness of a video tape is of prime importance. Even common household dust is a mixture of fragments of human skin, pet dander, minute particles of mineral or plant material, textile fibers, industrial smoke, grease from airborne sources , and plethora of other organic and inorganic materials. This chemical concoction often consists of the spores of countless moulds, fungi and micro-organisms which live on the organic material contained in the "dust". Much of the dirt is hygroscopic - meaning simply that it acts as a sponge. This increased moisture retention further encourages the growth of moulds, as well as increases the corrosiveness of airborne salts. It also serves to dramatically speed up the process of hydrolysis in tapes. (sort of a "double whammy")... The organic material often consists of fatty acids that promote the release of Palmetic and Hexadecanoic Acids that appear as a white substance on the tapes which must be removed before playback is attempted.

    Properly cleaning an old video tape is best accomplished by gently passing both sides over Pellon ® tissue or a simple lint free fabric. Pellon is the trade name for a cloth like material, made of synthetic fiber, that was originally designed and produced to be used as a shirt collar stiffener, though it makes an ideal tape cleaner. Pellon ® (a trade-name) is low abrasive and non-dusting.

    NOTE: If attempting to remove moulds yourself, beware that some moulds pose a serious and potentially FATAL health risk. While most, if not the vast majority of moulds are benign, some strains and embedded viruses are nothing short of DEADLY under the right conditions. Dried spores can easily be dislodged and become airborne, making inhalation possible. (Translation: This might NOT be a good thing for your longevity or general well being).... Thus always wear impermeable gloves and an approved Bio mask at the very minimum. Do not re-use the gloves and dispose of them properly. Replace mask filter elements according to the manufacturers recommendations. (Note: A workshop dust mask is NOT the same as a positive pressure Bio Mask). If there is ANY DOUBT WHATSOEVER in what you're dealing with, then contact a health professional before proceeding. Unless identified, treat all molds as a potentially serious health risk.

    Many professional commercial tape cleaners employ a sapphire or ruby blade to break up the surface debris and burnish (scrape) the surface smooth & clean. Perhaps yet another bad analogy, but somewhat akin to a snowplow to remove the heavy "debris". The ruby or sapphire blades are effective on new tapes (ie: smooth paved roads if you will), but can totally trash an older tape with a binder just ready to delaminate. Like trying to plow snow from soft muddy driveway, the blade digs in and tears up surface. Thus the razor sharp scraper blade is the final blow and can peel the now aged softened binder right off the substrate. Never attempt to burnish a tape with any signs of mould if the binder is weak. The ruby/sapphire blade will scrape away the mould and sadly the binder as well. Then to add to the misery, mould spores can be thrown into the air where they can be inhaled. If not yet evident; removing mold requires specialized equipment and techniques. Before sending a vintage tape in for professional mold removal, make certain they have experience in handling such tapes.

    In the case of just general cleaning where mold is not evident, most tapes we receive require but a single cleaning pass. Every so often, one will show up exhibiting severe mould growth, dust/grime, hexadecanoic acid deposits or any combination thereof. These are easy to spot, as they look like they might have just been fished out of a dumpster... (sadly, this isn't an exaggeration). Naturally, these tapes will require more than one cleaning pass, often using different specialized cleaning techniques, which is an additional charge.

    Information from the following site on tape restoration:

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