cleaning the heatsink/fan

not sure if its related or not. but anyways..

im switching mobos (same concepts as changing the heatsink/fan to a better one), annnnd i have no clue how to clean the left over thermal paste on the heatsink and processor. people tell me use a cotton swap and use isopropyl alcohol 99%..

what kind of materials should i clean with?
Is there any other solution to clean?
25 answers Last reply
More about cleaning heatsink
  1. I just used normal rubbing alcohol and a paper towel that should be fine.
  2. I use rubbing alcohol and and tissue paper. I don't think I'd use a cotton swab, as it might take several swabs to get all the old stuff off.
  3. im not sure but, wouldnt the rubbing alcohol react with the thermal paste or something =S. everybody says dont use rubbing alcohol. now i read use rubbing alcohol
  4. Run your computer for awhile to heat and soften up the paste before trying to clean it.

    I use a cotton swab to begin with, because you can see what you're doing and won't smear it all over the place. Then I take a microfiber cloth and just buff away for a while.
  5. Rubbing alcohol is fine. The thermal compound is oily; you want to clean it off with something that will prevent/minimize any residue left behind. The main problem with cotton swabs is that they tend to shed fibers/strands, which would cause problems if left behind. I usually just take a 3x5 inch index card and use the edges to scrape off the bulk of the old material before using a cleaning agent.
    (I use the Arctic Silver 2-part cleaning kit -- it's cheap, works well, and is plenty for probably 100 uses).
  6. The rubbing alcolol that I use is 99% isopropyl alcohol. Maybe it varies by the brand that is bought. Either way, its worked for me.
  7. mmm what about hydrogen peroxide? would that work?
  8. I don't think hydrogen peroxide is a solvent for thermal paste. 99% isopropyl should cost you a dollar. No reason to use anything else. Don't use regular rubbing alcohol, which is cut with water - it has to be 99% isopropyl.
  9. High % alcohol works best, but I have used lighter fluid in a pinch :P Sometimes living in the dorms with no car leaves you in a situation where you must MacGyver your way out of things.
  10. ahah~ i know what you mean.
  11. Quote:
    High % alcohol works best, but I have used lighter fluid in a pinch :P Sometimes living in the dorms with no car leaves you in a situation where you must MacGyver your way out of things.


    lighter fluid 8O

    me too. :lol:
  12. Works slick, didn't seem to leave any residue. I'm sure it's not optimal but my lapped Apogee/lapped heat spreader on my D805 don't seem to be caring, temps are great.
  13. yeah my x2 4400 oc,ed to fx-60 speeds idles around 25 to 28c.
    this is with radioshack white thermalpaste.
  14. Good idea. Just learned somethin' new. Don't know about dorm rooms there, but no-one has isopropyl? Find the room that smells like dope and ask there.
  15. Lol, those kids bow down to me. I never even did anything to intimidate them but if I asked for it they would probably go buy it :P I have nearly come to tears wishing I had a decent wire stripper/roll of duct tape/set of pliers/super glue things like that. Life is rough if you tinker without tools.
  16. Dude :)

    Rubbing alcohol contains Glycerin: a colorless, odorless, syrupy, sweet liquid, C3H8O3, usually obtained by the saponification of natural fats and oils: used for sweetening and preserving food, in the manufacture of cosmetics, perfumes, inks, and certain glues and cements, as a solvent and automobile antifreeze, and in medicine in suppositories and skin emollients.

    For a super clean removal of anything when using alcohol always use straight Isopropyl alcohol (nothing added except denaturing chemicals, which make ya' sick if ya' drink the stuff, but everything evaporates, whereas glycerin doesn't!) ... I use Humco Labs available in most drug stores. I bought a pint 12-13 years ago and have used it for cleaning CPU's and HSF's many, many times since.
  17. I guess I coulda learned something like that if I'd gone to borrow your isopropyl instead of the guy's in the funky room. But I probably never would've experienced Bob Marley, man. Jah guide. :wink:
  18. now i see why nobody uses hydrogen peroxide XD. never knew it had sugar in there

    anyways. i just purchase the thermal paste.. now i have more questions that i thought of.

    how much do i need to put on the processor / heatsink?
    do i need to put the paste on both the heatsink and prcoessor?
    will i have to spread the paste out till its like paper thin?
    how will i kno i puted the right amount?
  19. Use about the size of a grain of rice directly to the IHS on your CPU. I prefer to spread it ultra thin with a stiff credit card or something similar, others just stick the heatsink on there. I like to be able to read the writing on the CPU.

    Too much is easy to do so just keep it thin and you will be fine. Don't apply any to the bottom of the heatsink unless it is the Zalman grease, but I assume it is not and Zalman will give you directions to apply their's slightly differently.
  20. i read there instructions from the site. its not really clear. i rather hear it from a person that did it before..
  21. Quote:
    now i see why nobody uses hydrogen peroxide XD. ...

    The main problem with hydrogen peroxide is that it releases highly reactive oxygen atoms (which is why it is used as an antiseptic to kill germs); you don't want any oxygen-based chemical reactions going on on your CPU/hs (e.g. rust).
  22. I just used a paper towel on mine. No solvent. I didn't see a need to remove 100% of the old thermal grease in order to apply....NEW thermal grease. Don't worry about it.
  23. Today i received my artic cooling 7 Pro but not my artic silver thermal compound, so i used the one on the artic cooling and i will test the difference really with the artic silver 5 on it. To clean it i just used paper towel and Vodka Smirnoff, worked well lol, waste some alcool there but i couldnt find other alcool cleaning.
  24. whoa vodka.. scary.. anyways thanks for you help people. i did it with out any problems :)
  25. I used them Artic Silver cleaning compounds. Works really nice and removes the sticky icky ikcy.
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