Sunday, July 26

Goo Gone is the VHS Collector's Friend

Often times I'm baffled at tapeheads not cleaning their cassettes of dirt, muck, stickers, and tape residue. Even some scans of tapes in the newest issue of Lunchmeat exhibited these scars of their rental years. It also goes with eBay listings when I see sellers trying to pass off tapes that look dragged through the mud for bloated asking prices. Of course, some tapes are either too damaged or the given flick just sucks too much to care about cleaning, but I would think collectors would wish to restore their cooler finds.

The key to using Goo Gone is not to use too much. Just a little with a few wipes will eradicate general crud. A more focused application is usually required for stickers as some are astonishingly tough to remove. While some due to age might simply fall off. Scotch tape, especially old scotch tape, demands elbow grease and nubile fingertips, but after removed a spray of this solution will make removal of sticky residue much easier.

Another reason to not use much is Goo Gone's tendency to lightly "cloud" certain types of plastics, like the dull Amaray clamshells from Trans World Entertainment releases. Glossier plastics like the clamshell pictured below are usually more resistant to this phenomena from heavier spray coats. I've found toilet paper to be the best rag for wiping not only your ass, but also the solution off tapes. Either spray the solution directly on the case gingerly or on the TP.

Of course, be extremely careful if using Goo Gone on the actual tape to clean or remove those annoying stickers. I can't imagine what it would do to magnetic tape, though I'd bet something bad. Also it's not a good idea to wantonly spray on actual paper covers, as it tends to soak into the paper. This can be done, some rental places were fucking stupid enough to sticker up the paper(?!), but be careful. Just spray some on a rag and lightly "tap" the sticker for the solution to soak into it. Wait a few minutes before attempting to peel it away. If the Goo Gone does soak into the cover paper, just let it sit out until it drys up. This rule goes along with common cardboard slip or big boxes.

Here's a ultra gunk encrusted tape I just cleaned up, Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment's 1983 VHS of The New Centurions. The cover paper is actually sealed within the clamshell so it's rare to find them in "restoreable" condition or not cut all up.

before (duh)

after (Billy Mays would be proud)


KFelon said...

Great article. Goo Gone is great stuff if you don't use but tiny amounts and don't let it soak too long as it spreads.

Try not and get Goo Gone directly on the covers as it can pull off the color and make faded spots.

Anonymous said...

I've actually used Goo Gone once on the magnetic tape itself and it worked fine. Basically some rental store put a security sticker on the inside of the flap that covers the tape, and the adhesive melted onto the tape. I had to get the adhesive off so it could be played without possibly damaging a VCR. I first opened the shell and cleaned the sticker off the flap so it wouldn't be a problem anymore and reassembled the shell, but the tape still had the adhesive on it and needed to be cleaned.

I used a cotton swab with some Goo Gone and gently wiped it on the tape to remove all of the adhesive, then used the dry end to absorb the excess. Wait about a minute for it to dry, you can see the colour change slightly when it does(it will still be slightly darker than regular untouched tape, but lighter than when wet). Then use another cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol to clean up the leftover Goo Gone residue, it evaporates quickly on it's own but still use the dry end of the cotton swab to wipe and absorb any potential excess. Then leave the tape aside overnight to fully dry, it's probably not necessary to do this but I wanted to be sure. When I did this it looked fine the next day, no discolouration or residue was left and it played fine.

I tested out the Goo Gone on a blank VHS tape first to see what would happen as nobody else online seemed to have tried it. Nothing melted, no oxide peeled or flaked off, and it could be fully cleaned up afterwards so I felt it was safe enough to use on the tape I wanted to save. I couldn't find any place online saying how to remove sticky adhesive from the actual magnetic tape so I had to experiment on my own. I felt I should share my results as they were successful and could possibly help someone else with a similar issue. you dare tread upon the staircase?

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