How to Store Audio Tapes


Old tapes

Do you have some “oldies but goodies” stashed in the back of the garage or up in the attic? If you want to preserve them, a little bit of tender loving care goes a long way in keeping them protected. Here is some sound advice on how to store audio tapes and extend the life of your memories, music mixes, or historical data.

Where NOT to Store Audio Tapes

First, let’s talk about where not to store audio tapes. Basements and attics are not ideal for storage because you can’t always control the environment. Many basements are moist and moisture is a tape’s enemy. Even if your basement doesn’t flood, it often is damp or high in humidity.

Often unfinished, attic environments are exposed to temperature extremes or fluctuations, which means that so are the possessions you store there. Spiders and other insects tend to hang out in attics and basements, not to mention the occasional rodent. These creatures can damage your stored possessions.

Location, Location, Location

Where you store audio tapes is very important. A dry, dust-free location with no exposure to sun or harsh light is ideal. Store your tapes in a climate-controlled environment with temperatures between between 50F and 70F degrees and relatively low humidity. Fluctuating or extreme temperatures cause permanent damage.

A finished basement that is temperature and moisture controlled can be okay, especially if you store audio tapes off of the floor. Your best bet, though, is to create a dry, clean storage area in a room or closet that doesn’t get a lot of use. And remember, never store audio tapes near anything that produces an electromagnetic field or loud vibrations. It could wipe the tape clean.

More Tips to Store Audio Tapes

By now you have a better understanding of how to protect your audio collection. Here are a few more storage tips to help you.

  • Fast-forward or rewind tapes and make sure they are neatly wound before storing.
  • Store audio tapes in a vertical position, never stacked, and never directly on the floor.
  • Keep them in their original cases. If you don’t have the original case for a cassette, you can get some at thrift stores, on eBay, or at yard sales.
  • Don’t touch the tape surface with fingers, and if you must, do so with clean or gloved hands.
  • Always keep the equipment you play your tapes on clean.

All in all, the best way to preserve older audio tapes is to convert them to a digital format. It’s also a good idea to make a copy of any originals as back up. If you have any questions on how to store audio tapes, or if you are looking for a more permanent solution, call Disc Hounds today at 610-696-8668 and we’ll help you preserve what is precious to you.