Yes, it is possible to remove the mold without destroying the tapes. We do
it all the time. Here are a few tips:
Do NOT try to remove active mold. Expose the tapes to a dry environment for
a period of time to drive the mold into dormancy before trying to remove it.
We use a chamber kept around 20% RH for polyester-base tape. You can tell
if the mold is dormant when it comes off in a dry powder instead of smearing
all over the tape when you wipe it.
Dry-wiping off mold only removes the flowering heads and spores from the
tape surface. It does not kill the mold in/on the tape.
Some mold cannot be removed with a simple dry-wipe. Common liquids used are
distilled water, isopropyl and 111 Tri-chlor. The Tri-chlor is the only one
that guarantees that the fungus is actually dead but you must be very
careful as it is a restricted substance and, if you get it on the plastic
reel or cassette shell- it will melt them.
If you use liquids to remove the worst sections of mold, only wipe in one
direction. Testing shows that if you wipe back-and-forth, in both
directions, you can damage the recording surface.
We've rebuilt audio decks to remove mold but I would hate to do it with a
video deck. Some 10 years or so back, an engineering firm did just that and
ended up charging the client around $40,000. We use machines that are
custom built specifically to deal with the specific audio, video or data
format. It is cheaper and more effective to simply build a cleaner from
scratch than to rebuild a video deck. It is still way to expensive unless
you plan to clean thousands of tapes.
SPECS BROS., LLC
Restoration and Disaster Recovery Service Since 1983
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Jeff Brown
> Sent: Monday, July 10, 2006 10:25 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] Cleaning moldy video tape
> Given the mechanical fragility of the base material in VHS and Beta
> video tapes, is it possible to manually wipe mold from such tapes without
> rendering them unplayable?
> And what does anyone think about the chances of success of removing the
> head drum from a video transport and building in some sort of
> fabric wiping
> pad system?