Embedded Technology Guide Tech How to Remove Thermal Paste From CPU Pins

How to Remove Thermal Paste From CPU Pins


How to Remove Thermal Paste From CPU Pins

Thermal paste is a crucial component that helps in transferring heat from the CPU to the heat sink, ensuring optimal performance and preventing overheating. However, over time, the thermal paste can dry up or become ineffective, requiring replacement. One common challenge faced during this process is removing the thermal paste from the CPU pins without damaging them. Here are some steps to safely remove thermal paste from CPU pins:

1. Gather the necessary tools: You will need isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs, a lint-free cloth, and a plastic or wooden toothpick.

2. Disconnect the CPU: Before starting the process, ensure the CPU is disconnected from the power supply and removed from the motherboard.

3. Apply isopropyl alcohol: Moisten a cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol and gently rub it over the pins. This will help dissolve the thermal paste.

4. Use a toothpick: Gently scrape off any remaining thermal paste using a plastic or wooden toothpick. Be extremely careful not to bend or damage any pins.

5. Clean with isopropyl alcohol: Dampen a cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol and carefully clean the pins. Repeat this step until all the thermal paste is removed.

6. Dry the CPU: Use a lint-free cloth or allow the CPU to air dry completely before reapplying thermal paste.

7. Reapply thermal paste: Once the CPU is dry, apply a small amount of new thermal paste to the center of the CPU and spread it evenly using a credit card or a plastic spatula.


1. Can I use any type of alcohol to remove thermal paste?
It is recommended to use isopropyl alcohol with a high percentage (90% or above) for effective removal.

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2. Can I use a Q-tip instead of a cotton swab?
Yes, a Q-tip can be used as long as it is saturated with isopropyl alcohol.

3. How often should I replace the thermal paste?
It is recommended to replace the thermal paste every 1-2 years or whenever you notice deteriorating performance or high temperatures.

4. Can I use water to clean the CPU pins?
No, water should never be used to clean the CPU pins as it can cause corrosion and damage.

5. Can I reuse the old thermal paste?
It is not recommended to reuse old thermal paste as its effectiveness diminishes over time.

6. What if I accidentally bend a CPU pin?
If a pin gets bent, carefully straighten it using fine tweezers or a mechanical pencil.

7. How much thermal paste should I apply?
A small pea-sized amount is sufficient for most CPUs. Avoid applying too much as it can cause overheating.