Clean Thermal Paste off CPU an reapply thermal paste

Clear Thermal Paste Off CPU Safely and Reapply

Thermal paste may not be on the forefront in discussions about PC parts, nevertheless it nonetheless performs an important position in guaranteeing your rig can perform at its full potential.

With out thermal paste, your CPU is susceptible to overheating. This could trigger an entire host of efficiency issues and even shorten your laptop’s lifespan.

After my CPU’s thermal paste dried out, I skilled a drastic drop in efficiency when utilizing just about any program, regardless of my rig’s specs being all the time far above the minimal necessities.

In case you too are experiencing comparable points, likelihood is, it’s time to reapply the thermal paste. On this in-depth information, we’ll go over precisely how one can clear thermal paste off CPU safely and reapply it. 

What’s Thermal Paste? 

Thermal paste is a paste-like substance that’s utilized to enhance warmth switch between the CPU built-in warmth spreader (IHS) and the heatsink. Put merely: it helps maintain your CPU cool.

The microscopic imperfections of the contact floor as seen under trigger air pockets to kind between them. That is the place the TIM (Thermal Interface Materials), or thermal paste as generally recognized, comes into play.

It fills up these pockets and creates a uniform warmth spreader throughout your entire floor for an environment friendly change of warmth from the CPU to its heatsink.

Thermal Paste how it works

How Typically Ought to You Clear Thermal Paste off CPU and Reapply?

You usually have to reapply thermal paste as soon as each 3 to five years, relying on the duties you employ your laptop for, and the standard of the unique thermal paste. There are a number of different causes why you may have to reapply it, together with:

  • If the authentic thermal paste was utilized poorly.
  • Your CPU is working at greater than regular temperatures.
  • You’re eradicating the CPU cooler (e.g. for cleansing) or changing it.

Clear Thermal Paste off CPU and Reapply: A Step-by-Step Information

clean thermal paste with cloth

Don’t fear; you gained’t should navigate the complicated realm of your laptop’s {hardware} alone. Right here, we’ll information you thru the method step-by-step. 

Get Your Provides Prepared  

It’s important to be sure you have the applicable provides on the prepared. You’ll want the next:

  • 90% or greater isopropyl alcohol. Ideally 99% – it’ll evaporate a lot faster. You may as well purchase a devoted thermal paste cleansing product.
  • Thermal paste. Beneath, we cowl the important thing elements to think about when shopping for a thermal paste.
  • Some dry microfiber cloths.Wiping-CPU-paste

You also needs to be certain that your workspace is clear (no lint, mud, or particles). 

Take away the CPU Cooler

Remove the CPU Cooler

Unsurprisingly, to entry the CPU, you’ll have to take away the CPU cooler first. Right here’s how one can Take away CPU cooler:

  • First, let your laptop run for round quarter-hour. This may make it simpler to take away the CPU cooler, because it’ll soften up the thermal paste; chilly thermal paste is more likely to maintain the CPU and heatsink cemented collectively.
  • Now swap off your laptop and unplug every part, together with the CPU cooler energy wire.
  • Loosen the cooler’s bolts/clips – consult with the cooler’s handbook for those who’re uncertain how to do that. 
  • Gently twist the cooler backwards and forwards till it turns into unfastened. Throughout this course of, be certain that to not yank or pull up on the heatsink – this will doubtlessly injury the CPU pins.
  • Non-stock coolers with/with out third social gathering vendor badges could have completely different mechanisms, and are normally not that troublesome to take away. Consult with their producer’s handbook, or a elimination video of the identical mannequin on YouTube.
  • As soon as unfastened, the heatsink ought to simply come off.

Heatsink nonetheless caught after all of your efforts? Run your laptop once more, however this time for round an hour or so.

Clear Thermal Paste off CPU

Cleaning Thermal Paste

Right here, we’ll go over how one can clear thermal paste off your CPU:

  • Utilizing a dry microfiber fabric, gently rub on the previous thermal paste. This may assist to take away any “unfastened” chunks.
  • Apply a small quantity of your chosen answer (isopropyl alcohol or thermal paste cleaner) to the microfiber fabric.
  • Now, wipe the CPU from prime to backside till there isn’t a seen thermal paste. Accomplish that gently and slowly, in any other case it may doubtlessly injury the CPU.
  • Be sure that to additionally wipe across the edges.
  • Let the CPU dry. The period of time it takes to dry will rely upon the answer used, however we advise ready for about an hour. In case you used a thermal paste remover, its directions ought to say how lengthy it’s essential to wait.

Don’t neglect to clear off any thermal paste caught to the heatsink as properly (use the identical course of).

Reapply Thermal Paste  

Subsequent up, you’ll have to reapply the thermal paste. Be sure that to learn over your thermal paste’s directions first. Some could require you to take a distinct strategy, so it’s vital you test this earlier than making use of. 

You also needs to guarantee you understand how to reattach the CPU cooler.

Now, comply with these steps:

reapply thermal paste
  • Slowly squeeze out a pea-sized quantity of thermal paste immediately onto the middle of your CPU. 
  • Rigorously place the heatsink again on the CPU. Be sure that to place it as flat as attainable; this can permit the paste to unfold evenly.
  • Affix the CPU cooler. Maintain it firmly and don’t transfer it.

Suggestions for Making use of Thermal Paste

If the cooler slips or slides, you’ll have to start out over once more. It’s because as soon as the heatsink strikes, it breaks the seal and introduces insulating air pockets, ruining the entire objective of the thermal paste.  

It’s important to get the quantity of paste proper – too little, and it gained’t sufficiently cowl the CPU. An excessive amount of, and the paste will probably spill onto the motherboard.

too little thermal paste vs an excessive amount of #shorts

Clear Thermal Paste off CPU Socket Pins

paste-on-cpu socket
Paste on CPU Socket

If for no matter purpose the thermal paste finally ends up in your CPU socket pins, it’s attainable to wash them with out inflicting injury.

We’ll cowl the steps under, however please needless to say this course of is just not with out its dangers. The pins are exceptionally fragile, and making use of an excessive amount of stress can destroy them.

We advise leaving it to an expert, particularly when you have no expertise working with delicate parts like this!

You have to:

  • A soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • 90%+ isopropyl alcohol.
  • A dry microfiber fabric.

Clear Thermal Paste off PGA Socket

Comply with the steps under when you have a Pin Grid Array (PGA) kind socket. When you’ve got a Land Grid Array (LGA), skip this and comply with the steps additional down.  

LGA vs PGA! Which is healthier?

  • Dip your soft-bristled toothbrush into the alcohol answer.
  • Decide the route the pins are pointing towards.
  • In the identical route, brush the toothbrush throughout the pins which have thermal paste on them. We will’t stress this sufficient: brush extraordinarily calmly (apply little to no stress) and in a straight line. 
  • As soon as the comb has picked up some thermal paste, wipe it off on the microfiber fabric.
  • Repeat the method till a great quantity of the thermal paste is gone – you don’t have to take away all of it, simply sufficient to permit for a correct connection.
  • Let it dry for round an hour. 

Clear Thermal Paste off LGA Socket

To wash a Land Grid Array (LGA) kind socket, do the next:

  • Utilizing an isopropyl alcohol wipe, gently wipe the thermal paste off the floor. Wipe in a straight line.
  • Repeat this course of till the thermal paste is gone, utilizing a brand new wipe every time. 
  • Go away it to dry for round an hour.

Elements to Think about When Shopping for a Thermal Paste

There’s a big selection of thermal pastes out there in the marketplace, so it may be a battle to know which one you need to go for. Listed here are a number of elements to remember:


A thermal compound with excessive viscosity will make for straightforward utility and cling higher

Thermal Conductivity Ranking

This score reveals how efficient the paste is at transferring warmth. Normally, the upper the quantity, the higher.


You solely want a small quantity for those who’re simply utilizing the thermal paste for the CPU. Plus, you gained’t be capable of reuse it – opened thermal paste will expire earlier than you subsequent have to reapply it.


There are two sorts of thermal paste: conductive and non-conductive. PC Gamer has a helpful information on every kind’s professionals and cons. As a common rule of thumb although, stick with the non-conductive kind for those who’re inexperienced.

Conductive metallic thermal pastes can brief your system in the event that they spill on the motherboard. Nevertheless, their thermal conductivity is magnitudes greater, like their costs, and are due to this fact focused at excessive builders or record-chasing overclockers.

Applying thermal paste

Associated Questions

Does Thermal Paste Software Methodology Matter? 

In accordance with a check run by Tech Illiterate, irrespective of which typical utility methodology you employ – pea, line, X – all of them just about present the identical outcome. The important thing factor is to make sure there’s paste within the middle, and also you’re not making use of an excessive amount of or too little.  

How Lengthy Does Unused Thermal Paste Final? 

Most thermal pastes usually have a shelf lifetime of round 5 years. Nevertheless, this will differ relying on the model and manufacturing date.

Take away Thermal Paste From CPU With out Isopropyl Alcohol? 

99% isopropyl alcohol or a devoted thermal paste cleaner is the simplest. Acetone is a possible different for those who can’t discover both of the above.

Nevertheless, acetone ought to by no means be used in case your laptop has any plastic parts – it’ll fairly actually soften the plastic! 

Can I Use Nail Polish Remover to Take away Thermal Paste?

Nail polish remover usually comprises contaminants like perfume oil, making it unsuitable for cleansing thermal paste off your CPU. 

Can I Use a Paper Towel As an alternative of a Microfiber Fabric?

Whereas some advocate utilizing paper towels, we advise towards this: just about all paper towels will depart lint behind. In case you don’t have a microfiber fabric available, a great different is espresso filter paper.

How Else Can I Maintain My Laptop Cool?

You possibly can maintain your system cool by clearing out mud clogging up the followers, shopping for higher CPU cooling, and investing in additional case followers. You additionally want to verify your system has ample airflow and is saved in a well-ventilated space. 

Verify My CPU Temperature?

When you’ve utilized the thermal paste and reassembled your laptop, it’s time to test the distinction it has made to your CPU temperature. We’ve lined how to do that right here.

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