Storing old VHS tapes is something we don’t often think about, as most are just tucked away into the back corner of a basement or attic. Although those places are popular for hiding unused items, those two storage spots are also prone to water damage and mold, which can ruin your VHS tapes forever. A leaking roof or flooded basement holds the potential to ruin years worth of memories, and these things happen! Learning how to deal with water damage to your VHS tapes can help save your memories and salvage your tapes.

Dealing with Water Damage to Your VHS Tapes

Step 1 : Timely Manner

It may be difficult to gauge the time that has elapsed since the water damage occurred, but the ideal time to attempt fixing a wet tape is right when it happens. Water that just infiltrated your collection holds better hope to salvaging tapes rather than VHS collections that have sat in water for a period of time. The longer tapes are exposed to water, the more deteriorated.  So jump on this quickly!

Step 2 : Determine the Liquid

Determining what type of liquids seeped into your tapes will allow you to properly attempt the rescuing and cleaning options. If something other than water, such as chlorine, salt water, or chemical solutions damaged the tapes, you will want to submerge the tapes in distilled water before attempting to dry them out.  

Step 3 : Dry the Reels

When drying your tapes, avoid applying heat from products such as a hair dryer or other heat sources, as this can warp the film. Instead, take the reels out of the tape and place them on a towel. Direct a fan onto the tapes or place them in front of an open window for a light breeze. When drying near a window, be sure to avoid sunlight as direct sun will ruin the tapes.

Following these three steps will help prepare you for future water damage incidences if you are unable to move your VHS tapes to a safe zone. Acting fast in saving your tapes will create a better chance of rescuing memories. Certainly the best way to avoid these kinds of accidents, which can be devastating if precious memories are lost forever, is to get your VHS tapes digitized to DVDs or other digital files. A good tape to DVD transfer service can help you preserve a lifetime of moments.

Keepsake Solutions is a Columbus, Ohio based memory preservation service with over 15 years of experience transferring VHS tapes to DVD.  We use cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art techniques to ensure that your memories are preserved, and that no precious moments are left in the past.  


If you’d like to contact us with questions or comments, please feel free to do so at (614)392-1909 or email us below.