Engineering:Tape head cleaner

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A tape head cleaner is a substance or device used for cleaning the record and playback heads of a magnetic tape drive found in video or audio tape machines such as cassette players and VCRs.[1] These machines require regular maintenance to perform properly. Particles that come off magnetic tape can build up on the record and playback heads, reducing the signal quality. Head cleaning may be done with a special cloth, long swabs, or a cleaning tape or cassette.[2][3]

Cleaning fluids

Fluids used for cleaning video heads include (but are not limited to) the following solvents:

Dry cleaners

A head cleaning compact cassette

Dry methods of cleaning include:

  • Compact Cassette-shaped devices that can be inserted into tape decks and played for a short time to polish the recording heads to remove smudges and dirt. This may shorten the life of the unit and should not be overused.
  • Compact Cassette-shaped devices that have a cloth tape that can have liquid cleaning fluids added to it before being inserted into a tape deck and played for a short time.[4][5]

Other uses

In some countries, to evade anti-drug laws, poppers like amyl nitrite are labelled or packaged as tape head cleaner.[6]

See also


  • DIY Guide to Cleaning Your Video Cassette Recorder (VCR) - January, 1998 by Ralph Calabria [1]
  • Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Video Cassette Recorders by Samuel M. Goldwasser. [2]
  • Betamax PALsite Guides - Head Cleaning [3]
  • Fixer Corp. [4]
  • How NOT to clean your video heads or a very expensive lesson. by Samuel M. Goldwasser [5]

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