This document covers some techniques I've learned for restoring VideoDisc caddies as much as possible to their original factory condition. My preference has always been to remove rental labels and any other markings not originally on the caddy. Some collectors have made the argument that these labels and markings are part of the history of the disc, and should be left in place. This argument does have some merit, since in a couple instances I've been able to locate additional titles by showing up at the rental place listed on the label with disc in hand. If you prefer to leave the rental markings in place, simply ignore those portions of this document concerned with their removal.
The picture above shows several of the items I use, along with a typical rental VideoDisc. Use caution when using these products on a caddy that still contains the disc. I always remove the disc from the caddy if there's any chance it may be damaged by the work being done on the caddy. A convenient way to temporarily remove a disc is to load the disc into an RCA "F" or "G" function-lever player that is unplugged from the AC outlet.
Electric Heat Gun
The item on the left is a heat gun, similar to an electric hair dryer, but several times hotter. This is useful when a disc has tape or a metallized label that when removed, tends to also damage the wraparound label on the caddy. By heating the label or tape just prior to removal, the adhesive will usually soften and come off gently. Sometimes people selling two-disc movies tape the two parts together with masking tape. The heat gun will also work on this if the tape is fairly new, but if it's dried out, the Goo Gone product or an expresso/cappuccino maker as described below are the best things to remove it. In practice, either a heat gun or hair dryer will provide sufficient heat to soften the adhesive-- the hair dryer just takes a lot longer to heat it up. Note that either the heat gun or a hair dryer can produce a warped spot on a disc if the caddy gets sufficiently hot with the disc still inside.
Goo Gone Solvent
This product made by Magic America Corp. is useful for removing porous labels on which the adhesive has completely dried up. Apply it to the label and let it soak for a while before peeling the label off. This product in also useful on caddies such as the one pictured above, where the rental store wrote their identification in magic marker on the white borders of the caddy. To remove this writing, apply Goo Gone to the rough side of a two-sided kitchen sponge, and buff the area until the writing disappears. Goo Gone is also useful for removing the black tar-like substance that CED player drive belts sometimes decompose into. Goo Gone can be found at general-purpose hardware stores.
Since first putting up this page, I've found another useful tool for label removal, the steam fitting on an ordinary expresso/cappuccino maker. By directing a jet of steam over a dried out label or masking tape, it will often peel off easily. This is especially effective with water-based adhesives.
This venerable adhesive from Borden Chemical is good for repairing minor label tears. These are the most common damage to a caddy label, where a small section of the label is torn loose, but still attached on one side. Apply a small amount of Elmer's under the torn section, then use a cloth to rub it down over the original location. The same cloth can be used to clean up any excess by briskly rubbing the area in the opposite direction of the tear.
Elmer's Wonder Bond
This is the cyanoacrylate adhesive commonly called Krazy Glue. This fast-bonding adhesive is useful for repairing caddies on which the two plastic halves have become unbonded. Remove the disc and spine to perform this repair, applying the adhesive to only one side of the caddy, preferably where the original welds were located. Squeeze the two halves together for about a minute, exercising caution not to glue your fingers to the caddy. The caddy should be left to set a while before the disc and spine are re-inserted.
This cleaner made by The Brillianize Co. is good for general clean up and glazing of the entire caddy surface. It is milder than ammonia-based products like Windex, that will slightly fade the ink in the caddy wraparound label. The glazing feature has never caused any problems that I can determine, and it makes it easier to get caddies out of a shelf if you store them tightly packed upright like books. I apply this liquid with a saturated cloth, but it can also be sprayed directly on caddies that are badly soiled. Brillianize is marketed as a Plexiglass and Lucite cleaner/polish and can usually be obtained from companies in the phone book listed under "Plastics."