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  1. Hi everyone, I've been doing some research on how to actually clean different types of videotapes, mainly ranging from VHS to 8mm tapes.

    Just to cut the story short, I believe a camcorder's head drum is full of this 'black greasy dirt' (I dont know what it's called or how it became like that) and whilst at the time I didnt know why many of the tapes failed to play, I inserted one of my own, it played well but then I started seeing the picture getting abit messy and jumpy. I stopped the cam and ejected the tape, only to see a smear of this dirt on the tape itself, I thought to myself that I'll never played the tape again until I find a way to clean it efficiently, I looked around the but I cannot find an answer, thus why I am here now asking and seeking help from you lot.

    For VHS I can probably understand how it could be done as it's physically bigger but for something as small as 8mm tapes, it's almost a different story to me but I could be wrong. How do I clean this (or any kind of) videotape guys?

    P.S. I almost got myself this Kinyo Rewinder/Cleaner, that I also cannot find anything on about on how it works or if it even does work!
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 08:20.
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  3. Wow, thanks for the info here, really appreciate it.

    However, I find this abit disheartening, are you saying that my old and precious tapes that has 'dirt', 'gunk' or 'accumulated oxidation' (that is most likely coming from dirty VCR heads) is to be disregarded and binned???

    I mean, I have serviced a precious VCR, with and knowing how to clean the heads, I wouldnt want to any tapes for it to be dirty again. The same goes with my Hi8 camcorder tapes, they were absolutely clean before, until I played them on my uncle's borrowed Digital8 camcorder (to figure out which was the problem, the Camcorder or the Tapes), and as pre-described, a section of the tape was smeared with dark grease like dirt. I didnt even get to digitize them at all Nor am I the kid of person to just disregards tapes.
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  4. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Clean the tapes with alcohol and q-tips or foam swabs,might be lengthy process but if the tapes are irreplaceable then it's worth it,just be careful not to crinkle the tapes.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  5. Can you elaborate on that abit?

    Anyone else perhaps?
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  6. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2001
    Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    Well, I've had to clean some VHS's before. I did it the HARD way:

    Either remove the reels from the tape, put the reel sprockets on a geared-sprocket holder (that you can wind), and wind th tape by hand from source reel to takeup reel, all the while passing the tape through a gap between 2 fingers of a non-linted cotton-gloved hand. Then put back into the tape housing.
    Or don't remove the reels, but use a tape repair block to park & open the tape & door to a series of external pulley capstans, where you can do the same kind of wind through the fingers.

    2 passes - one WET (usually 90-100% denatured alcohol or FreonTF), then one DRY. Replace the gloves (multiple times) if they start accummulating too much gunk.

    BTW, this takes F-O-R E-V-E-R!!!
    But it works.

    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 15th Jun 2011 at 17:29.
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  7. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    Well ... here is my story ... only did this one time ... once was enuff.

    I had a lady friend ... a very friendly lady friend ... and she "had" a girl friend ... Adrienne ... who had a VHS recording of her wedding. Well sometimes ****roaches decide to find homes in the weirdest places. Yep ... she had ****roaches living inside her VHS video tape cartridge. And of course everytime she played it ... the VHS player got screwed up too. Never mind the VHS Player ... it was the tape cartridge that needed work.

    I actually opened it up and took the tape out ... at the time I lived in an apartment back in ... 2002 ... I guess was the time. I had VHS tape everywhere and I simply used a simple wash towel ... same kind you get when you take a bath or a shower.

    And wiped the tape of all the spots where the tape was contaminated with ****roach crap - junk ... whatever. Some spots had to be snipped out and reattached. I use a old fashion razor blade and reattach with scotch tape.

    I then played the tape and recorded ... the wedding ... to my PC I believe ... I say that because ... the name of the recording is called ... Adrienne's Wedding ... and the avi file is on one of my hard drives.

    A few years later ... Adrienne was admitted to the community hospital in town ... severe pneumonia ... hard to believe it ... she was way too young ... she died. She was a nice person.
    Last edited by lacywest; 5th Jan 2012 at 17:36.
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 08:20.
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  9. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    How do you clean tapes? You don't. It's beyond your means.

    Send it to a service using one of these: http://www.rtico.com/tapechek/tc400.html
    Those run about $10k.

    Never put non-specialty cotton against video tape.
    Q-Tips are one of the worst things you could ever use on any video hardware or media.
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  10. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    I've used q-tips for years cleaning vcrs and tapes in repair shops and never had a problem with them,the only thing is to make sure you don't tear the cotton off when cleaning.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  11. I suppose you are talking about Lint-free q-tips right?
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  12. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Yup,not cheap q-tip copies.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 08:20.
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  14. Member lacywest's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by johns0 View Post
    Yup,not cheap q-tip copies.
    I suppose you could use them to clean some ... cheap sunglasses ...
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  15. I see, this is all very valuable advice people! Really appreciate it

    The tapes as I said before might have a long smear of greasy dirt on them. This is actually the case for one of my Hi8 tapes, it was in prestine order until been played on a dirty camcorder and I do not want to play the tape on my clean camcorder or to even loose the tape.

    So would you lot suggest if I was to clean the tapes, is to probably take a lint-free q-tip (or cloth perhaps?) and gently clean them or wipe it off? How do I do this exactly? And what kind of cleaning fluid to use, isopropyl alcohol perhaps?
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    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 08:20.
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  17. Hi, so sorry for the very late reply but yes I did at the time but considering I am from the UK the shipping is very expensive for me but I am abit gutted that I couldnt get one. However, the problem mainly goes to my Hi8 tapes which up til now I have not touched whatsoever and only will do so when I know how to clean them without destroying them.

    So, if it's okay wityh you lot, can someone 're-advice' me or recap on how I would be able to clean my tapes, either them being VHS or Hi8, unless the process of the two would be completely different?
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  18. Anyone at all may i ask?
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  19. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    We've gone through this before on this site - do a lookup. (I'm not about to repost without new/different info)

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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