How To Clean Thermal Paste Off Your CPU?

Thermal paste is used to transfer heat away from your CPU, so it doesn’t overheat. It helps in better heat dissipation and better performance of the CPU. We have to admit that we don’t clean our computers often. If you want to make your computer perform faster, you need to know; how to clean thermal paste off your CPU?

In this guide, I’ll explain how to use thermal paste and clean thermal paste off your CPU if you don’t follow the instructions on the CPU box. It covers different cleaning products, cleaning tools, and methods. How To Fix A CPU Cooler Not Lighting Up? [New Guide 2023]

Before we get started, I want to make sure that you use thermal paste for your CPU and not thermal compound. The two don’t mix very well, and there’s a difference between the two, and they sort of work in ways similar to away. Still, they are pretty different from one another. This guide is only going to cover the different thermal paste remover alternatives, so hopefully, you got it right when you put on that first layer of goo before you installed your CPU. Can A CPU Break A Motherboard?

How To Clean Thermal Paste Off Your CPU?


Trying to scrape off the thermal paste with just your fingernails or by rubbing it with a paper towel could damage the CPU, so it’s essential to use proper tools when cleaning thermal paste from CPUs. Should I Overclock My CPU? [Beginner’s Guide 2023]

Step 1: open up the side of your computer case and remove the side panel. Use a screwdriver to unscrew screws holding down the cover, then set them aside in a safe place where they won’t roll off anywhere.

Step 2: Remove the CPU fan

Grab your CPU fan by its sides (not the blades) and pull the fan straight away from the CPU socket on the motherboard. Once it’s free from its connection, set it aside somewhere else where it won’t get damaged.

Troubleshooting tip: If you’re having trouble removing your fan, make sure that you haven’t accidentally bent any pins on it — this is common with overzealous DIYers who are trying to yank their fans out.

Potential methods for cleaning thermal paste from your CPU include:

Removing isopropyl al*cohol thermal paste:

First, use an air duster, the kind used to clean off computer components. Blow out the lint. It takes a while, but it works. Use rubbing al*cohol and a clean rag. Blot, don’t rub. You’ll need to soak the rag in al*cohol first as it evaporates quickly.

It is good if you clean out the old thermal paste. Just follow the steps described here to remove the old thermal paste.

Apply the new thermal paste, and make sure to apply a thin layer on the CPU.

Finally, use the al*cohol to clean the paste. You can use a napkin to dip the al*cohol and then wipe the paste off. It’s better to avoid using a silicone pad or cotton, as they may leave some residue on the CPU. To do a better job, you can use a duster to blow the al*cohol away. It is crucial to use al*cohol to clean paste to help remove the leftovers.

You can get away with cleaning thermal paste by using the above methods, but be sure to adhere to these precautions when cleaning your CPU:

  • 1. Make sure that you are working in well-ventilated areas
  • 2. Ensure that your hands are dry
  • 3. Don’t use any solvents or cleaners when cleaning off your CPU
  1. Do not allow any of the liquid to go into your computer’s ventilation slots or any other components that have electrical parts inside them since this could cause damage to those components.

Why is it hard to clean Thermal paste from your CPU?

Well, it’s not that kind of hard, because it’s not rocket science to clean the thermal paste from your processor. To remove the paste, you can follow up on the abovementioned instructions. And don’t forget to keep in mind the precautions, I highly recommend you first to cool down your CPU before you start to clean the thermal paste from the processor.

How to clean your CPU without damaging it?

The first thing you need to do is unplug the CPU fan and heat sink. Blowing out dust from your CPU and from your motherboard’s slots with compressed air is a good idea. If you have a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool, you can also use that. Then, apply some canned air to the heat sink and blow it out into the vacuum. Please do the same thing with the CPU fan. Blow it out of the vacuum. That should do the trick!

How to apply the Thermal paste properly?

You can apply thermal paste easily. Over the entire surface of the processor, the paste should be applied in a thin and even layer. Be sure to completely remove any air bubbles from between the heatsink and the processor. Use a credit card or similar plastic card to spread the paste for the best results. You’ll need to remove the protective plastic covering from the heatsink before applying the paste. This can usually be done by putting the heatsink in a bowl of warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. If necessary, you can cut away the plastic covering with a knife or other sharp object. Once you’ve applied the thermal paste, carefully replace the heatsink with the processor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to clean thermal paste off CPU without al*cohol?

There is a much easier way to remove the thermal paste. I have used it many times, and it always works like a charm. You can do it in less than 5 minutes. Start by removing the heatsink from the CPU. You can use either a piece of cloth or a flat-edged screwdriver for this. Then take a razor blade (the one you use for shaving) and slide it very carefully under the thermal paste. Keep it between the CPU and the heatsink and drag it down vertically.

It will scrape off the thermal paste in a jiffy. Then take rubbing al*cohol or denatured al*cohol and apply it to a cotton pad or paper towel. Rub off the thermal paste from the CPU. It will come off very quickly. Then use a new piece of thermal paste and reassemble your CPU+Heatsink. It will help you keep your CPU cool and extend its life. Moreover, once you remove the thermal paste, you won’t have to worry about forgetting to do it.

Should I clean off thermal paste?

Well, this is a straight-forward question, I would say. The answer is yes and no. For the “yes” side, if the manufacturer has applied the thermal paste haphazardly, it’s usually best to remove it and apply a fresh layer. But then again, if the manufacturer and the application correctly applied the thermal paste was good, you don’t want to go in and strip it off. The procedure is the same applied to a chip cooler.

If you notice it’s not doing a good job overclocking the chip, then yes, you should get rid of it and apply a new one. But if you’re not overclocking and everything is running fine, then you don’t want to risk a more temperamental chip by stripping it and then reapplying the thermal paste and/or a new chip cooler.

Can I use hand sanitizer to clean the thermal paste?

It depends, hand sanitizer has a lot of al*cohol and can dry up your thermal paste. But if you use the correct amount of alcohol, it can clean up your thermal paste pretty well. You should use al*cohol is used for cleaning LCD screen, I prefer to use cirtaex, it’s good and doesn’t damage your components. So you can use hand sanitizer on your pc components. I hope this helps you. And don’t use hand sanitizer also on the keyboard.


Thanks for spending some time with us here today to learn about how to clean thermal paste off your CPU! The best way to keep it maintained is by making sure you use the steps we’ve advised you about in order to clean up that thermal paste as well as there are other essential steps when cleaning up your CPU. When next time comes around, you’ll know just what to do once again, so make sure not to forget these tips!