Thermal Paste Removal – How to Remove Thermal Paste From Your Computer

Thermal paste is the material that prevents a computer’s central processing unit (CPU) from overheating by transferring heat to the cooler. Over time, however, it can degrade and lose its ability to transfer heat. This is why it’s important to remove and reapply thermal paste periodically.

Before you can apply new thermal paste, you’ll need to remove the old one. This is easy enough to do, but there are a few things you need to know first.

First, make sure you take the proper electrostatic discharge (ESD) precautions. This includes disconnecting the power supply and unplugging the CPU cooler. Next, use a plastic scraper or credit card to scrape off the majority of the old paste. You can also use a cotton swab soaked in isopropyl alcohol to wipe the remaining bits of the old thermal paste from the processor and the cooler base.

You need to use a lint-free cloth or cotton swab for this step as lint can cause damage and inhibit heat transfer. A microfiber cloth or coffee filter is a good choice, but you can also use an old T-shirt or some other disposable fabric.

After you’ve removed all the bits of the old thermal paste, dampen a clean lint-free cloth or cotton ball with high-percentage isopropyl alcohol (90% or higher). Gently wipe off any residue from the processor and the cooler’s base. Then give them a chance to dry completely before applying new paste and turning on your computer.Thermal paste removal