Preserving Audio Cassettes

Maybe you feel these are going the way of the dodo but there are many good memories on some audio cassettes around the world and it is likely that some of us are going to be hoarding these audio cassettes instead of converting them to more modern versions! If that is the case for you, or you are hanging on to some vintage goodies for other reasons, here is how to take care of them.

Storage. Keep cassettes stored away from items that might wipe the recorded information. This includes electrical motors, TV sets and electrical appliances. This is more important for long-term storage of irreplaceable memories on videos and cassettes.

Fast-forward and rewind the tapes before storage- make sure that the tapes are correctly wound evenly and smoothly onto the cassettes. Store all tapes vertically in acid free protective boxes or containers. Store in an area where the temperature stays lower than 70F (21C). Avoid temps below freezing. Humidity should be between 20-40 percent RH (relative humidity). Do not store on wood shelving or in a
basement or attic.

Environment. Keep your audio cassette collection in a cool, dry, dust-free environment with no moisture. Store away from direct sunlight and fluorescent light. Do not store near combustibles like wood or cardboard. Avoid subjecting tapes to rapid temperature changes. Allow acclimatization before playing at four hours for every 18 degrees F difference. 

Handling cassette tapes. Make sure your hands are clean and free from oil, grease, and sweat before handling the tapes and make sure the area you are working in is free of dust. Do not touch playing surfaces; handle the cassette tapes by their outer casings. Wear gloves when handling original tapes. Do not operate or store cassette tapes near high magnetic fields or high vibrations.

Precautions.  Play tapes through every few years to check their condition and to minimize any sticky shed symptoms (tendency for the layers to stick together).

Making repairs. Sometimes a problem cassette can be salvaged by playing it on a professional tape deck. If a tape has been subjected to a high temperature, cool it under 68F for a few days and then rewind it to relieve stress. If the tape has been subjected to moisture or submerged in water it is best to consult with a preservation librarian or conservator.

Please note: We do not repair audio or video cassettes.

Audio Cassettes