How To Clean Thermal Paste off CPU – Required Ingredients and Cleaning Process

Are you familiar with thermal paste? Thermal paste is a chemical mixture that is usually used to be an interface between the heat elements in a device.

Thermal paste is known by different names, such as thermal gel, heat paste, thermal interface material, thermal compound, and so on. And most importantly, your pc contains thermal paste, which is essential for the CPU.

But, How to clean thermal paste off the CPU? By using rubbing alcohol and a cloth, you can remove the thermal paste from your CPU.

Removing thermal paste from your CPU isn’t a tough job. The isopropyl alcohol, q- tips, and a paper towel will make the process easier for you.

There is much more to know. You are going to get enlightened about the whole cleaning process, required ingredients, and alternative options too! So, let’s get started!

How to clean thermal paste off the CPU?

Cleaning thermal paste off the CPU isn’t a tough job. It’s actually pretty simple to clean thermal paste off a CPU. We would like to show you how you can clean the thermal paste off of your CPU. Let’s have a glimpse at the required ingredients first:

  • Paper towel (White)
  • Isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol
  • Q-tips
  • A dry and clean cloth
  • Spirit (additional)

So now, let’s begin the cleaning process!

Step 1: Gather the ingredients

At first, you need to gather the ingredients you need for cleaning the thermal paste off of your CPU. We have mentioned all the stuff that you are going to need above. So, in short, you need to take some isopropyl alcohol, q- tips, and a paper towel. You will find isopropyl alcohol in any pharmacy or grocery shop.

Step 2: Get your CPU

Pull your CPU out of your PC build and open the area where the thermal paste is smeared. You will find that area right after pulling the CPU out of your PC. Also, check the temperature of your CPU.

*Caution: don’t forget to turn off the pc first.

Step 3: Clean the initial

Now grab the paper towel and clean off the speck of thermal paste. You just have to rub the paper towel over the thermal paste for a while, and you will get the bulk of the thermal paste off. When you start rubbing, you will see the silver thermal paste is coming off with your paper towel. But there will still be some amount of stubborn thermal paste there.

Step 4: Use isopropyl alcohol

Use isopropyl alcohol

After cleaning off the majority of the thermal paste, you will still see some remnants there. If you want that area really clean, then you have to grab one q-tip and put that q-tip into the isopropyl alcohol.

Isopropyl alcohol will help you to get more cleaner surface there than before. After dunking the q-tip into the alcohol, you have to dab it off in the paper towel so that the isopropyl alcohol doesn’t split all over the motherboard.

*Caution: spilling off the alcohol in the motherboard will ruin it forever. So work with extreme attention.

Step 5: the final step

After dabbing the extra alcohol, you have to rub the q-tip across the area of the CPU to clean off the extra thermal paste from that area. Rub the q-tip until you discover a neat and clean area.

By following this simple process, you will be able to clean off the thermal paste of your CPU. With only these few things, you will be able to wipe off the thermal paste from your CPU. Moreover, these things are found almost in every house. So you don’t have to worry about anything while wiping off the thermal paste.

 Check out: Best CPU’s for GTX 1080 & 1080 Ti

Be sure to check out this video for additional tips:

Can I remove the thermal paste from the CPU?

Yes, because removing thermal paste from the CPU is not a tough job. It is a very simple task that requires only a few ingredients. Even you won’t need any expert help to do that.

Also, those ingredients are found in every house. You just have to gather some stuff, which are q-tips, dry cloth, and a very little amount of rubbing alcohol.

Then you have to use them step by step and wipe off the thermal paste smoothly. Read the above to know the steps.

And always remember that you have to work carefully with alcohol because if anyhow you spill it off, you will ruin the motherboard.

Can I clean the thermal paste without alcohol?

We know removing thermal paste requires rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol. But if you can’t find rubbing alcohol nearby, then don’t think that you won’t be able to remove the thermal paste from your CPU.

You can still clean the thermal paste using different ingredients.

Having no rubbing alcohol isn’t a huge deal. You just have to wipe the area of the thermal paste with the hardest paper towel.

You have to rub the surface of the thermal paste with the hard paper. In this case, you can use an alcohol-based hand rub if you want.

But to let you know, wiping off using a hard paper towel won’t clean off everything properly. So, if you want the perfect cleaning, you have to get alcohol.

Does thermal paste expire?

The answer to this question depends on the ingredients of the thermal paste. The different thermal paste includes different ingredients. So different thermal paste has different lifespans. The majority of thermal paste lasts at least two years.

But if the quality of the ingredients of the thermal paste you are using is very low, then your thermal paste may expire sooner. Also, the lifespan of the thermal paste depends on the storage process.

If the thermal paste is created perfectly and you store it perfectly, then your thermal paste will last for a long period. You won’t have to replace the thermal paste sooner.

Can too much thermal paste overheat?

Yes. The thermal protection actually does very well for your CPU. But if you apply too much thermal paste, then it will harm your computer. You will find your computer overheating.

It’s better to always use the minimal amount of thermal paste that can actually help your CPU, not ruin it.

Though we usually use thermal paste for balancing the heat between the CPU and heatsink, overusing it will cause your computer to overheat or even shut off.

Using too much thermal paste will result in exactly the opposite of what we expect thermal paste to do.

Most of the time, we ignore the correct amount of usage, and then we regret it.


rubbing alcohol damage a CPU

1. Will rubbing alcohol damage a CPU?

When it comes to alcohol and CPUs, the answer is a definitive no! While there are some rare cases where alcohol may damage a CPU, this is not something that is commonly seen.

In fact, most of the time, alcohol will not have any negative effects on a CPU whatsoever.

2. Is thermal paste toxic to touch?

Thermal paste is a type of adhesive that is used to connect two surfaces together. It is made up of thermoplastic and metal, and it is often used in the computer and electronics industries.

Some people are concerned about the potential toxicity of thermal paste. They say that it can cause skin irritation and even dermatitis. Some people also believe that thermal paste can be toxic if it is touched directly but it’s not.

3. Can I use 70% alcohol to clean the thermal paste?

Yes, you can use 70% alcohol to clean the thermal paste. However, be aware that the alcohol will evaporate quickly and leave behind a harsh chemical smell. Additionally, using too much alcohol could cause surface damage or even an explosion. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning thermal paste with alcohol.

Also read: Best CPU For Streaming

Wrapping up

Having thermal paste in your CPU helps a lot. The extreme heat becomes balanced between the CPU and the heatsink. Your computer remains good to use because of the thermal paste. But for many reasons, we have to remove and replace thermal paste from the CPU.

Wiping thermal paste off of your CPU isn’t a difficult job. So we have shared, How to Clean Thermal Paste Off CPU in detail with you. You just have to find some proper elements which are capable of rubbing, cleaning, and taking the thermal paste off of your CPU step by step.

So, read the steps again and get on to work! 

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