If you own a lot of video, audio and digital cassettes, you need to keep them far away from strong magnets. Unless, of course, you'd like to erase these tapes. Then, magnets become very useful tools.

Reasons to erase
There are two big reasons why you may want to consider erasing your tapes. The first is to make your tape seem like new. Whether you have a full VHS or audio cassette, the quality of your next recording will take a hit if you're storing new information on top of older information. However, if you erase your tape using neodymium magnets, you won't have to worry about recording over existing footage or audio, as traces of it will be gone.

The second big reason to clear tapes is if you plan to throw them away. If your VHS cassettes have nothing more on them than old TV shows, you have nothing to worry about tossing them in the trash. However, if you recently converted your home movies to DVD, you may want to think twice before throwing away these memories in their original format. After all, you probably wouldn't like the idea of someone finding your cassettes and watching those private moments.

How to erase
If you've decided to erase some tapes, you're going to need the appropriate neodymium magnets for the job.

Do you need to erase one or more VHS cassettes? As these tapes are quite large, you'll want to use a magnet that covers a lot of space. A large block or disc magnet you can hold in your hand should be powerful enough to erase the tape inside the cassette's shell.

The same types of magnets should prove useful when erasing thinner audio cassettes.

In the case of MiniDV tapes, smaller cube or disc magnets you can clutch between the tips of two fingers should be all you need. The tape within these miniature cassettes is quite small, so there's no need for a large magnet.

No matter what kind of tape you need to erase, take the same approach, which is to rub the magnet over each side of the case several times. Make sure you're getting the tape at all angles. Doing this for about five minutes should erase the tape and make it seem like you just bought it.