How To Remove Thermal Paste From CPU? [A 2022 Guide]

Thermal paste is a material that is used to create a better heat transfer, typically from the processor to the cooling system.

The goal of thermal paste is the commonality of temperature between the CPU and heat sink.

If you are a PC enthusiast, then you might be familiar with why thermal paste is so crucial.

How To Remove Thermal Paste From CPU?

The CPU cooler that you installed on top of the processor absorbs the heat and keeps it cool.

Applying thermal paste may appear to be a simple task at the first view for a seasoned builder.

However, over time, the thermal paste can dry out, causing the processor to overheat.

To address this problem, you need to clean old thermal paste away and replace it with fresh a fresh one.

But if you’re a novice PC builder who doesn’t know how to do it properly, we’ve got you covered. Let’s look at the quickest and easiest method for removing the thermal paste from the CPU.

Removing Thermal Paste from CPU

Accumulation of dust and dirt can affect the performance of the CPU. You need to clean the surface area around the heat sink screw before you remove it.

The use of a simple, soft, lint-free cloth for wiping is recommended in such cases. If the dirt or dust layer involves both the CPU and heat sink, don’t fear!

A bit of rubbing with a solvent can be used to wipe them clean easily from all sides.

Removing Thermal Paste from CPU

Things you need:

Microfiber Cloth For Electronics

A microfiber cloth is the best bet for cleaning electronic surfaces. As these cloths are anti-static in nature, they don’t electrically charge the surface as you wipe.

Therefore, there will be no chance of electric shock when you use this soft fabric to remove dust and dirt from the CPU or any other computer part.

You’ve probably heard that individuals also utilize ordinary towels or tissues, but we strongly advise against it since residue might be left behind by these items causing problems in the future.

ArctiClean Kit

Arctic Silver’s ArctiClean is the finest option because it’s designed specifically to remove the thermal paste.

Here, we never suggest using any other liquid you may have around the house, and water is off the table.

The solution can be used on CPUs, heat sinks, and even the case itself.

Alcohol-based cleaning solutions can damage the surface around the CPU, so it’s recommended that you avoid using them.

The Removal Process – Steps for removing thermal paste from CPU

So, if you’re wondering how to remove the thermal paste from your CPU, here is the guide.

However, first and foremost, we want to emphasize that this procedure is quite delicate, so you need to be cautious while doing it.

To begin, power off your computer and remove all attached devices to the motherboard, such as memory sticks, graphics cards, etc.

If possible, then detach the power supply to further reduce any chance of short circuit or electric shock.

Next, gather all the equipment we mentioned above. We also recommend using these cotton gloves instead of your bare hands during this process, as it will prevent you from leaving any greasy fingerprints on the components.

We will start by removing the thermal paste from the CPU first before moving towards the heatsink.

When you open the chassis and have a look inside, the first thing you will notice would be the dried-up thermal paste on top of the processor.

  • Take your small microfiber cloth and apply some cleaner to it. By doing so, you will be able to remove all dirt very easily without much effort.
  • When the dust is removed, you’ll likely find that the thermal paste has dried up considerably, leaving small solid chunks behind. Use the dry microfiber cloth to remove and clear the paste.
  • After that, carefully clean the CPU surface with a tiny amount of isopropyl alcohol on a microfiber cloth. (Isopropyl alcohol does an excellent job of quickly removing thermal paste.)
  • Once the surface looks shiny and brand new, our job here is done.

To transfer heat from the Ryzen or Intel CPU to the cooler, thermal paste is used. Hence, it’s critical to apply it in a uniform layer before installing your cooler so that it can efficiently carry heat.

If you don’t use enough thermal paste or if there are clumps of dried thermal paste on your processor, your processor might overheat and probably shut down.

Coming to the Heatsink

The two main purposes of the heatsink are to cool down your PC and provide extra spacing between components, as this increases the lifespan of your hardware.

Heatsink usually has fins so that airflow can pass through easily when you turn on your PC.

Coming to the Heatsink

Now that the thermal paste on the CPU has been removed, you should do the same with the heatsink.

We recommend cleaning any dust that may have accumulated on the vents before proceeding to apply the isopropyl alcohol.

If you are replacing the heatsink, you may skip this step. The cleaning procedure is similar to that of the processor.


Using the above tools is the easiest and the best way to clean off thermal paste. We hope that this quick tutorial has assisted you in the future and that you will not have trouble cleaning thermal paste from the CPU.

Using a dry swab, carefully wipe away any traces or surplus of the purifying solution. Also, we recommend waiting 24 hours for the new paste to harden before using it again.

At all times, I recommend performing a thorough cleaning of the CPU to improve connection quality.

This method is ideal for keeping any PC in good working order. However, care should be exercised to avoid any novice mistakes.

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