How to Get Rid of Static Lines in Old VHS Tapes

By Greyson Ferguson

Updated February 10, 2017

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When watching old VHS tapes of family reunions or other events you probably notice there are some static lines running somewhere on the image. These lines are develop for a variety of different reasons, but the flicking white lines are distracting to the viewer. There are a few different ways you can attempt to remove the static lines, however if the problem is severe and the static lines take up most of the image you probably won't be able to remove all of the static.

Check the cable connection between the VCR and the television. If the coaxial cable is loose or not connected properly it can result in static lines.

Spray a few shots of compressed air inside the VCR. This can remove any dust and debris sticking to the inside of the tape deck.

Insert the VHS cleaner into the VCR and press "Play." Allow it to run for a few minutes. The tape in the VHS cleaner cleans the heads of the VCR. Dirty VCR heads can cause the static to appear.

Insert the VHS tape and press "Play." Look to see if the static lines are still there. If the problem is with the VCR, the static lines should be gone or mostly removed. If there has been no change with the static lines, you know the problem is with the tape.

Adjust the tracking on the VHS player. The tracking moves the static lines up and down. Move the tracking to see if you can push the static lines out of the image, or as far out as you can. Moving the tracking changes the static lines that are on the VHS tape itself, however even if you are able to clearly view the objects after adjusting the tracking of the tape you can not actually remove the static lines permanently from the tape. The static lines are damage to the magnetic tape inside the VHS. Once damaged you cannot repair this, but by adjusting the tracking you can watch the video and not even know the static is there.

Items you will need

  • Compressed air

  • Tape cleaner

  • VCR with adjustable tracking