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Can I Help My Cassette Tapes Last Longer?

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By Katy Sommerfeld

It’s all about preservation when it comes to analog media, folks. We know that nothing lasts forever, but so many people have collections of photographs, tapes, and films just wasting away in their basements or attics.

Before they know it, those pieces of precious, recorded memories will be distorted, damaged, or worse, completely destroyed by poor storage conditions and time.
One format of analog media that people may forget about is the cassette tape. Those little guys we used to tote around everywhere and play in our cars and Walkmans won’t last forever, either, and they’re just as susceptible to damage as other old forms of media. 

 

The good news is there’s a lot you can do to preserve your analog media so that it lasts much longer, including your cassette tapes. Below we have listed the best ways to ensure your cassette tapes last as long as possible. Here’s what we’ve got:


  • Before storing your cassette tapes, fast-forward and rewind each tape to keep them from sticking. Take them out every so often to do this to encourage their preservation.
  • Keep your cassettes stored in acid-free containers. Going acid-free will ensure that your cassette tapes are not subjected to unnecessary chemicals in storage. 
  • Store your cassette tapes in an environment where the temperature is less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit and the relative humidity is around 20-40 percent. When exposed to extreme temperatures and high humidity, tapes can become sticky, grow mold, or get distorted. Keeping them safe in proper storage conditions is key to having them last longer. 
  • Avoid storing your cassette tape in basements, attics, or areas with direct sunlight or fluorescent light exposure. 
  • Any time you need to handle your cassettes, make sure your hands are clean. If you need to access the tape inside the cassette, use cotton gloves to prevent any damage from occurring. The tape inside the outer casing is very fragile and you should avoid touching it unless absolutely necessary.
  • If you need to clean your cassette tapes, use gentle microfiber cleaning cloths to remove debris and a minimal amount of isopropyl alcohol to remove stubborn dirt. 
  • Make sure your tape player/recorder stays clean also. Subjecting a clean tape to a dirty tape player can damage the tape, so keep your tape player free of dust and dirt.

If you follow all these tips and tricks, your cassette tapes will last so much longer than if you left them in a box in the basement. It’s so important to keep your analog media stored safely so that you can enjoy the memories held within for many more years to come. 


Did you know that the only way to perfectly preserve your media is to get it digitized? That’s right! Even perfect storage conditions can’t prevent your media from being exposed to the wear of time. If you have media that you care about, that you want your children and your children’s children to have access to, consider getting it digitized through Legacybox! We take tons of different media formats and transfer them to digital copies so that you and your family don’t have to worry about tapes or film wearing out over time. If you’ve got a digital copy of your most special memory, then you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re storing the original perfectly. Legacybox can create a copy of your most special media that will last forever. Try it today!

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