Water Damage VHS Tapes
Water Damage VHS Tapes
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Water Damage VHS Tapes

By Dillon Wallace

Don’t let your memories wash away

Let’s be honest, if you’ve got a stash old VHS tapes, they’re more than likely sitting in a cardboard box down in your basement or up in your attic. Well you might not have thought about it, but those places just so happen to be the two most likely storage spots prone for water damage. A leaky roof or a flood-prone basement could wash away all those precious memories that you think you’ve got “safely” boxed up.


So if that family tape of your kid’s high school graduation gets wet, what are you going do? Is there anything that can be done to salvage that diploma-worthy memory?


Sure there are! There’s three in fact. Just remember, they may help salvage your tapes but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve got a sure fix on your hands.


Step 1: Make haste

The best time to attempt fixing a wet tape is right when it happens. If water just infiltrated your VHS collection, then you’re in a better position to rescue it than tapes left alone for lengthy periods after exposure to water. The longer you wait, the more deterioration sets in. So act quick!


Step 2: Determine the liquid damage

Not all liquids are created equal and that means that certain toxins from certain liquids can ruin a tape a heck of a lot faster than plain ol’ water. If salt, chlorine – or worse yet, sewage – water gets to your tape, you’ll want to make sure you clean the tape by submerging it in distilled water before attempting to dry it. It may sound counterintuitive, but trust us, a dried dirty tape is worse than a wet, clean tape.


Step 2: Dry the reels

Start by drying your tapes, but do not use heat to do so. Blow dryers and other heat sources can warp the plastic and the film itself causing permanent damage. No Bueno. Instead, take the reels out of the tape (some simple screw disassembly required) and place them on a towel in front of a fan or outside in the shade where there might be a breeze. The shade is important because direct sunlight could ruin the film.


There you have it! Water damage doesn’t always mean the end for your precious throwback tapes, but wouldn’t you like to sleep a little easier on those rainy nights knowing that your tapes are, in fact, safe and sound? After all, water is only one of the many worries on the damage spectrum to consider. Digitizing your old analog memories is fast, easy and a sure way to do just that, and Legacybox is the largest and most trusted digitizing company in the world. Give us your tapes, old film reels, cassettes – you name it – and we’ll give you a thumb drive, DVD or store it in the cloud. Voila! It’s like magic … well, pretty close at least.

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