Does anyone know what solvent is non-damaging to the tape, yet removes any stuck-on residue (mold derived) from really bad mold-exposed tapes? Preferably something which air-dries instantly. I want to hold a wet-cloth (as a sturdy swab) soaked in something, against the tape surface, in a cleaning-rig-VCR or Rewinder unit to clean up the stuck on debris. 91% isopropanol doesn't do the job for me. Purified water dissolves it better, but I cannot use any machines (due to water's inability to evaporate quickly). Any experts out there? Thanks!
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Naphtha is about the quickest-drying solvent I know. I have no idea if it safe to use on tape. Mineral spirit (white spirit) is safe but takes longer to dry. Have you tried dry Pellon interface fabric instead of a wet cloth? It is mildly abrasive and has been used to clean audio tape.
Thanks for the suggestions JVRaines, I'll definitely give your ideas some consideration and experimentation. The problem I've seen with a lot of quick drying solvents (the ones which are flammable, come to mind), is that they aren't necessarily harmful to the the surface of the tape, but they actually warp the tape to the point where it curls and no longer is flat (thus, they're harmful to the binder/substrate). I have seen water and hydrogen peroxide take care of the residue that I'm seeing on my tapes, but those require some drying assistance.
Dilute H2O2 is definitely safe and effective for mold removal. Perhaps you could rig a spot fan (hair dryer?) over the tape path.
Another nice idea, I'll try that. I just need to build a device for cleaning with an extended tape path (sans head drum). I have some ideas tinkering, using some old VHS rewinders. I think I'm up for a challenge.