If you’re installing a new CPU cooler or simply want to remove the old one, it’s important to clean off all traces of the old thermal paste. Otherwise, air pockets may form between the new and old thermal paste layer, affecting heat dissipation.
To remove old thermal paste, you’ll need a cloth, Q-tip or cotton swab and some isopropyl alcohol. The cloth or Q-tip should be lint-free because lint can interfere with the thermal transfer process.
You’ll also need a piece of paper towel or something similar for cleaning up the rubbing alcohol and any residue that may be left behind on the surface of the CPU. The paper towel should be disposable or something that you don’t plan on using again.
First, wet the cloth or Q-tip with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol. Then rub the old thermal paste gently until it comes off. Continue to wipe the area until there’s no more residue on the processor. You can also try using fingernail polish remover on the Q-tip if you don’t have isopropyl alcohol. This will usually work but be sure to use the basic acetone kind without any additives or fragrances.
Once the area is dry, you’re ready to install the new thermal paste. Be sure to place the CPU back in its socket with care so that no dust or other debris gets stuck under the CPU cooler. You should also reattach any cables that you removed at the beginning of this article.High-performance thermal paste