How To Clean Water Damaged VHS: 3 Efficient Steps Plus Tips

VHS could be too delicate to handle, so following the right process on how to clean water damaged VHS is the key to effective and efficient cleaning. Indeed, cleaning water damaged VHS is vital to ensure that your memories would not be washed away.

Video Home System or VHS has been a major trend in the media and entertainment industry back then. However, VHS became out of favor for a matter of time due to technological innovations and the introduction of various media devices.

how to clean water damaged vhs

Though they are old and out of trend, VHS has a value that never depreciates. Those are the memories that are kept in negative films and low-quality motion pictures that share a nostalgic feeling.

Despite being out of the mainstream, there is a good chance that you still have some old VHS tapes stashed away in your home, probably in your attic or basement. In that situation, your VHS is prone to water damage due to leaky roofs and damaged pipes.


Get To Know VHS

Before the creation and widespread use of the Video Home System (VHS), people did not have the capacity to record raw video images or tape television broadcasts to watch at their leisure. Thus, the widespread use of that technology was a significant step forward that set the way for future innovations.

VHS was created in the early 1970s and released by Japan Victor Company (JVC) and was first released in 1976. Basically, VHS was a storage media format that allowed for media distribution and analog recording through magnetic videotape cassettes.

Furthermore, it was a big step forward for consumers at that time, putting the ability to record and playback video. Thus, it also allowed individuals to record television shows and then watch them later.

For a matter of time, a lot of people have been fond of collecting VHS tapes just to watch movies, to film a certain point of their lives, and to record their voices on those old cassette tapes.


3-Step Guide On Cleaning Water Damaged VHS

A lot of people have not taken care of their VHS and disregarded its sentimental value. With those VHS left in the basement and attic, water damage was its primary risk.

Given that, this article will guide on cleaning water damaged VHS.


Step #1. Collect water damaged VHS

The longer the water stays in VHS, the more damage it may cause to its film. Therefore, the best time to clean water damaged VHS is right when it happens.

Most magnetic cassettes could not be easily destroyed by short-term exposure to water. Thus, most flood-damaged tapes can be repaired if treated quickly.


Step #2. Clean water damaged VHS using distilled water

Magnetic tapes’ (VHS) physical structure can be damaged by water, making them more prone to tearing, stretching, and scratches. However, water alone cannot harm old VHS tapes as they are more resistant to damage than modern ones. 

Still, even resistant VHS cannot stand contaminants like chlorine, salt, and even sewage that water may contain. According to health experts, it is important to put additional safety measures when dealing with sewage contaminants on water damaged tapes. 

Therefore, in cleaning water-damaged VHS, you have to wear surgical gloves or rubber gloves to avoid scratches on films. Thus, the use of distilled water to clean-off water damaged tapes is advisable to avoid possible contaminants.


Step #3. Air dry VHS

The best way to dry wet VHS tapes is through air drying. Stand VHS tape on edge to let water flow down, then leave it for about 2 days for complete air dry.

You may use rotating fans to let the airflow in your room. However, it is not advisable to use air blowers as it releases heat that may distort the plastic and films of your VHS.

Further, do not let direct sunlight hit VHS tapes because that can warp the films as well.


Tips on how to keep your VHS safe and sound


Tip #1. Store VHS in a shady dry place

For proper storage, you have to ensure that VHS tapes are placed in an enclosed cabinet, where it is dry and provides good shade. Therefore, you must remember that a key to a safe and sound VHS is proper storage.


Tip #2. Treat wet VHS immediately to avoid mold growth

VHS tapes that have been exposed to water for a lengthy period would allow mold growth. On damp VHS tapes, mold will continue to thrive and may cause major damage.

In case the mold has started penetrating our VHS tapes, it is important to know the tips on how to remove mold from water damage easily.


Tip #3. Do not dispose of water damaged VHS quickly

Water damaged VHS can be restored as long as you follow the basic cleaning steps. So, refrain from disposing of your cassettes right away.

For more tips, visit this article that teaches how to protect electronics from water damage.



To wrap things up, VHS is too delicate to handle, so following the steps correctly will lead you to efficient and effective cleaning. Thus, knowing how to clean water damaged VHS is essential to retrieve your memories of films.

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