Are you looking for a way to clean your CPU of thermal paste? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we’ll show you how to easily and effectively remove thermal paste from your CPU. We’ll also provide some tips on how to avoid making a mess in the first place. So if you’re ready to learn How to remove thermal paste from a CPU, then let’s get started!
What You Will Need
- Isopropyl alcohol (IPA)
- Lint-free cloth
- Cotton swabs
- Rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
Removing the Cooler
Before beginning, unplug your computer and remove all components from it. Take off the side panel of the casing to access the CPU. Depending on your model of computer, the cooler may be attached with screws or it may be inserted into a socket. If it is attached with screws, simply remove them and set the cooler aside. If it is inserted into a socket, you will need to release the socket by releasing a latch or moving a switch. After the socket has been released, you can pull the cooler out.
Cleaning the CPU
Thermal paste is a vital component that ensures your CPU performs at its best. It’s important to keep it clean and free of dust and other debris to ensure optimal thermal conductivity. Here’s a quick guide on how to clean thermal paste from your CPU.
- Power down your computer and unplug all cables.
- Remove the CPU fan and heatsink.
- Use a soft, lint-free cloth to remove any visible dirt or debris from the heatsink and CPU surface. Be careful not to damage the delicate surface of the CPU.
- Use a can of compressed air to remove any dust or debris from the heatsink fins and also from inside the CPU case.
- Apply a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to the lint-free cloth and use it to clean the heatsink and CPU surface. Be sure to remove all traces of thermal paste from both surfaces. Allow the alcohol to evaporate completely before proceeding to the next step.
- Apply a new layer of thermal paste to the CPU surface, using either a small spatula or your finger (if you’re comfortable doing so). Spread it evenly in a thin layer, covering the entire surface of the CPU die.
- Reattach the CPU fan and heatsink, making sure it is securely mounted in place.
- Reconnect all cables and power on your computer.
Cleaning the Cooler
Unscrew the appliance from the backplate. If your cooler is screwed into the motherboard, you will need to remove these screws. Use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove these screws. If your cooler is not mounted with screws, gently pull it away from the motherboard.
Locate the thermal paste on the bottom of the cooler. You will see a small silver or copper colored square in the center of the black cooler bottom. This is the thermal paste.
Use a putty knife or other sharp object to scrape off the old thermal paste. Be careful not to damage the cooler or CPU in the process.
Once all of the old thermal paste has been removed, you can clean off any residue with a clean cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. Be sure to completely remove all residue before proceeding to the next step.
Apply new thermal paste to the CPU. There are many different ways to do this, but we recommend using a small dot in the center of the CPU. You can then spread it around with a putty knife or other flat object. Be sure to completely cover the CPU with a thin layer of thermal paste.
Reattach your cooler and screw it into place (if necessary). Gently place your cooler back on top of your CPU and replace any screws that were holding it in place. Do not overtighten these screws, as this can damage both your cooler and CPU
Applying Thermal Paste
Whether you’re a first-time PC builder or a veteran over-clocker, properly applying thermal paste to your CPU is vital to ensuring stable and efficient cooling. Here’s a quick guide on how to apply thermal paste like a pro.
- Start with a clean surface. Don’t use thermal paste that’s been sitting in your drawer for years — it dries out over time and won’t spread as easily. If you need to remove old thermal paste, use isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth. Don’t use regular rubbing alcohol, as it may damage plastics.
- Apply a pea-sized amount of thermal paste to the center of the CPU’s heat spreader. If you’re using an aftermarket cooler with its own integrated heat spreader, apply the thermal paste to the center of that instead.
- Spread the thermal paste evenly with a lint-free cloth or your finger, making sure to cover the entire surface area of the CPU’s heat Spreader. You don’t need to apply too much pressure — just enough to make an even layer.
- Reattach your CPU cooler, making sure that it’s seated properly and secure before powering on your PC.
Does thermal paste need to be reapplied regularly?
Most thermal pastes on the market today do not require any sort of regular maintenance or reapplication, and will last for years without issue. However, there are a few things that can shorten the lifespan of your thermal paste, such as:
- Using an off-brand or cheaper thermal paste. In general, you get what you pay for with thermal paste – the more expensive brands will often last much longer than the cheap stuff.
- Not cleaning off old thermal paste before reapplying new thermal paste. This can cause a buildup of impurities that can reduce the effectiveness of your thermal paste over time.
- Exposing your CPU to extreme temperatures. This can cause the thermal paste to degrade faster than normal.
If you have thermal paste on your CPU, it’s important to clean it off before applying new paste. Use isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth to remove the old paste, then apply new paste according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
It’s also important to clean your CPU cooler before applying new thermal paste. Use a mild detergent and a lint-free cloth to remove any dust or debris from the cooler.
Thank you for reading!