Remember that distant past when you wanted to listen to your favourite artist’s latest album you had to visit instore to buy their cassettes. Over those years, we may have built a collection of tapes, packed full of precious recordings. From music to dialogue, chances are this personal archive has now been stored away and beyond sight.
These tapes are being slowly damaged and are in danger of being destroyed, along with their contents! The magnetic tape in your cassettes is slowly being degraded. It breaks down over time, a natural decay.
There are a lot of ways you can do to preserve your media. Below we give you tips on how to store your cassette tapes to make them last a little longer.
TIP #1 Rewound your cassettes
Before storing your tapes, make sure all of them are correctly rewound. Fast forwarding and resetting the tape ensures that the magnetic tape does not stick to itself.
To rewound by hand, you can use the following:
- Your own finger
- Pencil or pen
- Any sort of poking device
Attach the object in the left spool and move counterclockwise. Continue moving this direction until the spool stops turning. Make sure you keep a smooth, slow turning motion and don’t force the spool to turn any further once it stops.
TIP #2 Keep away from acidic materials and electronics
The likes of bleach and other chemicals can pose serious harm to your tapes. Make sure the environment is acid-free to prevent your cassettes from being exposed to them.
Electronics have an adverse effect on cassettes. Since the tape is magnetic, items that emit electronic waves or high vibrations can distort the content. Ensure your tapes are moved away from these.
TIP #3 Store in a cool, dry environment
When exposed to high temperatures and moisture, the magnetic tape degrades even faster, the tape can stick to itself and get distorted. It also increases the risk of mould growing on the cassette. That’s why we recommend not storing in wood shelving and attics. Keep your media safe in dry, cool and dust-free conditions.
TIP #4 Avoid sunlight and fluorescent light
Although direct sunlight is generally recommended for a lot of things, it’s not for tapes. Similarly, with fluorescent light, these conditions could encourage mould growth and tape degradation.
TIP #5 Handle safely
When you are handling your tapes, makes sure your hands are clean and free from grease or dirt. Avoid touching the playing surface and hold them by their outer casings. Wear gloves when handling original material and especially when handling the tape itself.
Make sure your cassette tapes are maintained regularly. We recommend a lint-free, microfibre cloth to remove debris. For the tape, itself use a minimum amount of isopropyl alcohol. Cassette players need maintenance too. A damaged or dirty player could harm the cassette.
Bonus Myth Buster
Some people advice to store tapes vertically not horizontally. Mostly to ensure the tapes have more longevity i.e. avoid the risk of falling when stacked together. Other than this there is no measurable effect. As long as the tapes are not too tightly packed tightly or stacked imbalanced, it’s all preference.
Nothing lasts forever but it’s possible to keep your tapes preserved as long as possible. Take care of your media with these tips and recommendations, your memories are too precious to lose! Which brings us to.
TIP #6 Digitise your Media.
The most effective way to preserve your cassettes is to digitise them into a modern format. DVDs and digital files especially are easier to organise, store and share. You can either do this DIY or trust a professional such as us!
Check out how Happy Ireland Productions can help preserve your cassettes >>
More from Happy Ireland
If you enjoyed this blog, click here to view more from us!
With Happy Ireland Productions, you can preserve your memories to last forever. Visit one of our partners to drop off your assortment of tapes, film, pictures and audio keepsakes. You’ll receive your DVD or digital copy with the original. Simple and Safe!
Your memories are priceless so why risk losing them.