Broken VHS tapeDo you have old home videos from 15 – 30 years ago safely stored away? Maybe a precious wedding video, baby’s first days, the kids growing up, a 21st birthday, an anniversary, or irreplaceable footage of your grandparents? Can’t watch them because you no longer have a VCR? Are you happy that they are being stored in the correct conditions? Would you like to watch them again on your TV, computer or digital device? It’s not too late…

Ageing video tapes have a limited shelf life and your cherished memories could be damaged due to a number of reasons. Here are some common causes of video tape deterioration:

  1. Mould – looks like white dust and can be cleaned with the correct procedure.
  2. Heat – can cause colour and sound quality deterioration. Colour can be improved but difficult to improve the sound quality.
  3. Water damage – can be saved if the tapes have been handled correctly after the event.
  4. Magnetic fields – depends on degree of exposure, but potentially could be saved.
  5. Cheap tape brands – could cause tape tension problems causing it to slip and come out of alignment. Tension can be restored in most cases.
  6. Sticky-tape syndrome – Video8 tapes are prone to this. Usually caused by mould – tapes can be cleaned but it’s a difficult procedure and they are prone to breakage.
  7. Old or faulty VCR machines – faulty heads could have caused ridges and tracking problems.
  8. Repeated playing, winding and rewinding – can cause loss of particles and magnetic data.
  9. Shredded, creased or broken tape. Can be fixed but a small amount of footage may be lost.
  10. Broken shell casing – casing can be replaced.

At Photofriend we come across these problems regularly with tapes from the mid-80s, the 90s and early 2000s. If required we have the expertise to deal with most of these issues. With each passing year your tapes will naturally deteriorate. If you are not prepared to take the risk, give us a call and we will do our very best to help you. View the comments from our happy customers on

Here are some tips to keep your tapes safe:

  1. Store your tapes in a clean, dark environment.
  2. Avoid contamination from dust, fingerprints, cigarette smoke and airborne pollutants.
  3. Store them on a shelf and on end. They shouldn’t be stored flat for long periods.
  4. Don’t store tapes on top of televisions or electronic machinery, on window sills or near radiators/heaters.
  5. Keep them away from direct sunlight.
  6. Avoid contact with damp or water.