Upon receiving a tape(s), visual evaluation and testing is performed to determine what condition the tape is in. Some quad tapes will play back just fine right out of the box. If sticky-shed is present, a moderate cleaning process is accomplished on a specially built tape cleaning machine which gently removes sticky-shed residue using a reverse-surface cleaning process using lint-free cloth rolls.
Reverse-surface cleaning is just as the name implies, the tape reel is loaded onto a specially built tape cleaning machine that uses lint free cloth rolls to remove the sticky moisture "goo" from the reverse side
of the videotape, leaving the front surface oxide layer holding the magnetic recording undisturbed.
After cleaning, the tape is spooled tails-out and left to "breathe", or acclimate, using an ambient drying
method for several days. This is accomplished in a special room with an atmosphere dehumidifier which slowly reduces the moisture content remaining in the tape down to approximately 30% relative humidity.
Usually, this cleaning method works sufficiently for 95% of quad tapes to play back safely
and correctly without baking.
Tape baking is performed on tapes that cannot safely be cleaned, or if the transfer is a "rush" job and is needed immediately.