RE: Header cleaner

Darryl Wiggers (
Tue, 7 Nov 2000 16:11:33 -0800 (PST)

Eek! The day one of those wet-process puppies got jammed in my
industrial-brand, $7000 machine -- frying the electrical board and costing
$700 in repairs -- I learned the bitter lesson that the use of these scratch
pads actually voided the warranty. It was an expensive lesson, and still has
a prominent place in my "idiot moves" file.

These head-cleaning cassettes will -- at best -- merely smear the dirt or --
at worst -- wreck your machine (see above). I can only imagine the
scratching effect. Just feel the fiber tape on even the wet-process head
cleaners. It's still an abrasive... nowadays I simply buy a fine shammy
cloth from a hardware store, plus q-tips (don't use regular Q-Tips, they
leave strands of lint behind) and tape head cleaning fluid, or pure
isopropyl alcohol. Then clean away at all the areas where the tape path goes
with the cloth and/or q-tips which you would soak in the fluid. The actual
video heads require more delicate handling. There are a number of online
resources that provide details about this method. Here is one I found:

If you care about the machine, it's worth the extra time and effort to do it
yourself (and the above materials are cheaper than a head-cleaning
cassette), or the extra money to have a professional do it.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Scholtz []
Sent: Tuesday, November 07, 2000 4:04 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: Header cleaner

Hi Vince, You don't really need a library vendor to purchase this item,
you can purchase a reputable brand from Walmart at a much lower cost. Your
terminology is a little vague - I presume that you mean a VHS video head
cleaner for a VCR? If so, Alpha, Maxell and TDX are good brands.
Personally, I think that you should buy a head cleaner that is the
non-abrasive, wet process rather than a dry process. Wet-process uses a
cassette containing a while cloth/fiber tape that you inject liquid onto
the tape through an opening in the cassette. Run it through 1-2 times for
about 10-15 seconds. Let dry/stand for 1 minute - then stick a tape in and
presto! - the sound is back, the tracking works and there is a picture!!
The wet process comes with a squeeze bottle of fast-evaporating liquid.
You can purchase quart and 1/2 gal. size liquid from the Specialty Store
Services ( the Video Store Shopper
( I find that the dry process doesn't work quite as
well and is very abrasive on the tape, but some in the industry think that
the wet process leaves a residue on the tape that my effect the particle
binding and also might not dry totally causing the oxide to 'shear' off the
tape as it comes in contact with the VCR heads. This has not happened in
my experience. Either way - wet or dry - you're looking at an expenditure
of about $9 to $20 for 1 tape - good for about 50 cleanings. Hope this
helps. Jim Scholtz.

At 11:21 AM 11/7/00 -0800, you wrote:
>What library vendors are recommended from whom to purchase video monitor
>head cleaning supplies? We think we need a video cassette with a head
>cleaning tape. But what alternatives are there?
>Vince Jenkins
>Coordinator, Library Technical Services
>Maricopa County Community College District
>Tempe, Ariz. 85281-6942
>480.731.8774 (ph)
>480.731.8787 (fx)