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  1. Member
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    Hello everyone,

    I was just going through some of my grandfather's old video tapes and found a movie that I'd like to watch on VHS. However, the tape smells lke mold when I open the flap on top. The tape itself looks band new with no white spots or anything. Though, I'm wondering, if I try to play the tape, is there a chance I could possibly contaminate my VCR or other tapes? And if I'm putting my VCR and tapes at risk, would there be an easy way to clean the tape? Any help greatly appreciated.

    Matt
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  2. Toss it. Rent the DVD.
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  3. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    If mold, it will harm the VCR, and all subsequent tapes played on it.
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    Originally Posted by smrpix View Post
    Toss it. Rent the DVD.
    Good advice!

    That people want to carefully capture an old family video is very understandable. But watching some old movie on VHS that can be readily obtained on DVD or viewed online?
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  5. Member hech54's Avatar
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    I'm just curious as to what exactly a person - any person.....thinks mold smells like. With tens of thousands of different types of mold in the world, what makes you think you are smelling mold?
    Yes of course if it is available on DVD, it's ridiculous to consider viewing the VHS version long-term, but with all of the chemicals involved in EVERY aspect of the creation of a VHS tape and it's "cover".....mold is on your mind?
    I don't get it.
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  6. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
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    If this is one of those rare movies that is ONLY on VHS, or if this is home/family footage, you CAN clean the tape. Understand that it is a slow & arduous manual process.

    It involves:
    1. Removing the reels from the shell/case and replacing with a new shell/case.
    2. Unhooking the Take-Up hub from the tape and replacing with new.
    3. While manually spooling/winding, using cleaner-soaked cotton gloves to swipe the front & back of the tape (replacing the gloves regularly) until the spool is empty.
    4. Unhooking the Source hub from the tape & replacing with new.
    (not in exactly that particular order)
    #3 may require multiple passes, depending upon how bad.

    Scott
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    Thanks for the advice, everyone. It's a common movie, so I think I'll just toss it. I just wanted to know if it was worth it because I like the look of VHS

    Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    I'm just curious as to what exactly a person - any person.....thinks mold smells like. With tens of thousands of different types of mold in the world, what makes you think you are smelling mold?
    Yes of course if it is available on DVD, it's ridiculous to consider viewing the VHS version long-term, but with all of the chemicals involved in EVERY aspect of the creation of a VHS tape and it's "cover".....mold is on your mind?
    I don't get it.
    I'm not 100% sure if it is mold because I can't see anything on the tape, but I do know that my grandfather's house is in really poor shape right now with lots of black mold on the walls in the basement... There's no mold upstairs where the tape was but the whole house smells like the basement...
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by hech54 View Post
    I'm just curious as to what exactly a person - any person.....thinks mold smells like.
    I has mold smell a few days ago on a loaf of bread.
    It's hard miss.
    Tape mold doesn't smell much different from bread mold.
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  9. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Fresh bread (white bread) smells like wimpy whiskey too so I don't understand. Half of the entire production line of BASF Chemical Co. goes into the combined contents of a VHS tape and someone smells mold over top of those (mostly) petroleum products?
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  10. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Yeah, it does smell like moldy petroleum, on cheap tapes.
    Quality tapes don't smell like oil, especially the ones from the 90s.

    Eh, not sure that I agree mold smells like whiskey.
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  11. Member hech54's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    Eh, not sure that I agree mold smells like whiskey.
    Good to know.....although I have no idea why because nobody ever said that.
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  12. Member
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    The mold on old tapes is potentially very harmful to humans. If you can't get it cleaned professionally (there are special machines) then ditch it.
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  13. Home aproach: IPA + winding tape to clean new package (best is probably to sterilize in special machine using ethylene oxide - big libraries (universities?) may have such machine - common practice to save books, then clean remains with IPA and use a new cassette enclosure).
    As a common rule: always wind tape few times per year and directly before usage.
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    ...and I believe if the tape is old it is sometimes 'baked' (using heat) to stabilise the emulsion.
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  15. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    IPA will totally screw the tape.
    Don't do that.

    It usually needs to be baked in a special "oven" (not really an oven, so don't try it at home)
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  16. Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
    IPA will totally screw the tape.
    Don't do that.

    It usually needs to be baked in a special "oven" (not really an oven, so don't try it at home)
    Well - i cleaned few tapes (video/audio) with IPA and everything was fine (tape need to dry).
    To be honest i even fixed damaged tapes by ironing (temp for synthetics) - i was able to recover video/audio (with lot of distortions but still worth to try).
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