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What's the best way to clean tape heads?

What's the best way to clean tape heads?

If you use your tape deck frequently and aren't taking the time to clean the heads, you may be losing sound quality. Grease, dirt and oxide deposits can build up around and on cassette deck heads, and if you let them stay, can cause distortion as well as sound loss.

Manufacturers recommend cleaning your heads every 20 - 30 hours of use. You can use a couple of different methods to do this - some come packaged from the makers of the cassettes you buy, and there is a tried-and-true do-it-yourself method.

The two ways to clean the heads most manufacturers provide are using a dry tape, which rubs the dirt off the heads as it passes over them; or a wet tape, where a cleaning solution is applied to a cassette tape (special cleaning tape), which is then run over the heads dissolving the grime from the heads.

If you want to do it yourself, follow these steps: Disconnect any power source. The door to the tape well may be removable. If the door doesn't come of you may want to try pressing eject and then play with the door open to expose the tape handling areas. Use a cotton swab dipped in tape head cleaning solution or denatured alcohol to gently clean the parts (avoid applying the alcohol to the rubber belts - keep it to the metal parts). Once you've removed the film, press the stop button if you engaged the play button earlier. This should greatly increase the life span and quality of your deck.

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