Almost as important as knowing how to apply the thermal paste on top of a processor correctly, it is also essential to understand how to clean it from your IHS. You also have to know with what liquid we should do it so that it dissolves well so that we can eliminate it quickly, especially if the paste is dried.
If correctly applying the thermal paste on top of our processor is a delicate but straightforward process, which we must always carry out with care, the same can be said when cleaning it. Because throughout the operative life of your processor, there will be several times that you will have to repeat these two steps. In general, you should clean the thermal paste and reapply it in the following circumstances :
- Every time you decide to change the heatsink for a new model.
- Every so often (depending on each paste), it is convenient to eliminate the existing one and put back new glue, whose properties have not deteriorated with time.
When we clean the thermal paste, we should not just do it from the processor’s IHS. It is also convenient to do it from the base of the heatsink, which is the part that is in contact with the IHS. This cleaning will be done to prevent it from ending up by combining the old pasta with the new one. As well as to avoid that the resulting cap of paste remaining between both surfaces is too thick and ends up performing the opposite effect to that for which it was initially placed.
To clean the thermal paste, we will need isopropyl alcohol.
Before we start, we will tell you that what we are going to relate is perfectly applicable to both the processors and the GPUs of the graphics cards, only that it is much more likely that you do it more times with your processors than with the graphics.
When we go to clean the thermal paste of a processor, the first thing we should have on hand are:
- A cotton cloth or, failing that, kitchen paper or ear swabs.
- A bottle of isopropyl alcohol.
In the absence of isopropyl alcohol, liquids explicitly manufactured for this purpose may also be used. Or even lemon juice. The fact is that it must have some product that helps to dissolve the silicone that binds the particles of the paste so that it is easy to remove it from the surface that we are going to clean.
In the case that the thermal paste has solidified (due to weather, temperature, or because it is of poor quality), before attempting to clean it, it is advisable to pour a couple of drops on it to soften it and make it easier to remove it.
With the paste already soft, we will take one end of the cotton cloth that we have mentioned before, and we will pass it over the IHS of the processor. In this way, we will remove most of the thermal paste that is on its surface. Then, moisten the cotton at the other end of the cloth (which is clean), and with it, we will rub the surfaces where there was paste to remove all the remains of this.
Once this is done, we should only allow the processor and the heatsink to dry a little (with a couple of minutes is enough) before applying the new layer of paste.
You have to be very careful with isopropyl alcohol, since it is a type of alcohol that occurs in a very high concentration and, if it is consumed in large quantities, it can be deadly for humans. In the same way, given that it is an alcohol, it is advisable not to handle it near a flame, since its vapors may ignite.