Guide to Proper Care & Storage of Your Videotapes

Today’s post is from YesVideo’s video production department. Jexter Reynante shares his expertise from over 11 years as our Video Production Manager and 5 years as a professional videographer.

Jexter, YesVideo's Video Production Manager, shows us how to handle and store videotapes safely

Jexter, YesVideo's Video Production Manager, shows us how to handle and store videotapes safely

If you insist to hold onto your old videotapes, here are some tips on how to properly store them:

  1. Avoid humidity/moisture
    Mold can and will find a way into your video tapes. Once that happens, most transfers services will not want to process it as it can damage equipment and may not be at all playable.
  2. Avoid extreme temperatures/sunlight
    This will decrease the already short lifespan of your videotapes. Prolonged exposure will also make the plastic housing brittle.
  3. Avoid storing your tapes in the garage, attic, or basement.
    Those locations can experience extreme changes in temperature. If its location is damp, say a leaky basement, mold could find its way into your videotapes.
  4. Use the case.
    Videotapes are sold w/ a case. Whether it be made out of paper or plastic, use it. A case will help protect the case from foreign substances and the elements.
  5. Use labels.
    Videotapes also come w/ labels. Use them. An unmarked video tape could be mistaken as being blank and could be accidentally recorded over or worse, disposed.

At YesVideo we receive thousands of videotapes each week. Here are some additional measures we follow to make sure each customer’s tape is handled with proper care.

  1. Use a known working VCR.
    VCRs are hard to come by, but do not take a chance with playing your videotapes on just any VCR. A broken VCR could eat your videotape and destroy your memories.
  2. Avoid cheap stand alone tape rewinders.
    These devices will stretch the ends of your videotape and in some cases snap the tape right off the reel. Most modern VCRs have variable rewind speeds which slow down as the tape nears the beginning. Use these instead.
  3. Do not make contact with the inside of the videotape.
    Oils from your fingers will shorten the lifespan of your videotapes. Avoid opening the flap and touching any part of the tape.
Videotape to DVD transfer service

Transferring to a digital format is the best way to ensure that your video footage does not become damaged or fade away.

Ultimately videotapes will degrade over time and will be rendered unplayable. You can go through great lengths to prolong the life of your tapes, but the best solution is to go digital. Once you go digital, your memories will no longer degrade and will become more easily accessible. Learn more about how to protect your memories and go digital.


  1. I wish I would have known these tips years ago. I stored my VHS tapes of family events in our basement where it was damp, and now a couple of them have rotted. The tape looks like it just fell apart. Lesson learned!