To help your VHS tapes last as long as possible, the experts recommend the following:
- Store VHS tapes between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 40 to 60 percent humidity. If you are comfortable, probably your tapes are.
- Avoid sudden temperature changes, even within these recommended zones. Neither cold, damp basements nor hot, dusty attics are good choices for storing your tapes.
- Be especially careful of condensation – allow at least 24 hours before using when you change the temperature or humidity of your VHS tape.
- Keep the VHS tapes evenly wound and always rewind them fully. If the tape looks uneven, wind it again. If possible, rewind at slower speeds.
- Store VHS tapes upright as you would books and keep them in their original cases. You can buy plastic cases to store them in but even the cardboard cases do a good job of keeping the dust away.
- Put the labels on correctly, where they belong and do not add labels on top of labels. They can interfere with cassette loading and possibly come off inside your VCR.
- Exercise your tapes once every three years by rewinding or forwarding them.
- Avoid magnetic fields – the field around any magnet. Your tapes can be erased so do not store them near speakers, motors, toys or other magnetic sources.
- Transfer your footage every seven years. That helps prevent the images and sounds from fading away.