Thermal Paste On CPU Pins How To Remove It

Thermal Paste On CPU Pins: How To Remove It! [Step-By-Step]

Thermal paste is an essential component when it comes to building a PC. It helps transfer heat from the CPU to the CPU cooler, which keeps your computer running cool and quiet.

Over time, the thermal paste can dry out and must be replaced. If your thermal paste has dried out and you spilled it on your CPU pins while trying to reapply it, don’t worry! This quick tutorial will show you how to properly clean the thermal paste.

Cleaning thermal pastes from your CPU pins is not easy, and you should be very careful not to damage the pins while doing it. However, it is not impossible, and if you follow our steps carefully, you should be able to do it without any problems.

How to remove Thermal paste from your CPU pins

Thermal Paste

The first thing to do if there is thermal paste on your CPU pins is to relax, take a deep breath and plan your attack. Do not try to remove the thermal paste by brute force, or you will end up damaging the CPU pins, which is the last thing you want.

If you are reading this article, you are probably at the planning stage, so let’s get to it.

Step 1. Gather The Necessary Tools

The first thing you need to do is gather all the necessary tools. You should gather everything you will need before starting the removal process. This will help you avoid having to stop in the middle to search for something you might need.

For this job, you will need:

  • A 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) solution or a thermal paste remover.

One of these two will be used as your cleaning agent to dissolve the thermal paste. If you can get your hands on a thermal paste remover, that would be the best option, but a 70% IPA solution will do the job just fine. Thermal paste removers are designed for this job and work a bit better and faster – you can buy one online for something like 5-10$. But if you don’t want to spend money, a 70% IPA solution will work just as well; it will just take a bit longer.

  • A soft brush like a toothbrush

Please don’t use the toothbrush you use for your teeth; get a new one. Used toothbrushes have all kinds of bacteria that you don’t want anywhere near your CPU.

The toothbrush will be your main tool for scrubbing off the thermal paste, so go to the store and buy a new one. Just make sure to get one with soft bristles.

  • Q-tips

You probably already have Q-tips at home, but If you don’t, they are very cheap, and you can find them at any store. You will use the Q-tips to get into tight spaces and corners to clean off the thermal paste.

  • A toothpick

The toothpick will be your last resort tool; if there is thermal paste in a place that is too difficult to reach with any other tools, you should use the toothpick.

  • A lint-free cloth

The lint-free cloth will be used to wipe off any residue after removing the thermal paste. You can use regular cloth, but there is a chance that it will leave lint on the CPU pins which is not something you want.

  • A screwdriver

You will not use the screwdriver to remove the thermal paste, but you will need it to take off the CPU cooler so you can access the CPU.

  • A small container

You will need this container to pour your 70% IPA solution into, so it is easily accessible when you need it.

  • Patience

The last ingredient you will need is patience. You will need a lot of patience for this job; it will not be easy and will take some time. The last thing you want to do is rush things and make a mistake that could damage your CPU. Just clear your mind and take your time.

Step 2. Prepare Your Working Area

Now that you have gathered all the necessary tools, it is time to prepare the work area. You want to ensure that you have a clean surface to work on and that there are no distractions so you can focus on the task.

Step 3. Remove The CPU Cooler

remove cpu cooler

The next step is to remove the CPU cooler; this will give you access to the CPU so you can start cleaning the thermal paste.

Use the screwdriver to remove the screws holding the CPU cooler in place, then gently lift it off the CPU.

Step 4. Remove The Thermal Paste From The CPU’s Back Side.

remove thermal paste

The first thing you want to do is clean the back side of the CPU. This is the flat side that of the CPU is not visible when the CPU cooler is installed.

A. Using Thermal Paste Remover

If you have bought a thermal paste remover, apply a small amount to the back side of the CPU and then let it do its thing for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, use the piece of cloth to wipe off the thermal paste remover and any residue it might have left behind. If stubborn bits of thermal paste are left, use the q-tip to scrub them off.

B. IPA Solution

If you are using a 70% IPA solution, apply a small amount to the linen cloth and then use it to wipe off the back side of the CPU.

You will need to repeat the process a few times to ensure that all the thermal paste is removed.

Pro Tip: The secret here is to be patient and not apply too much pressure as you don’t want to damage the CPU; take your time, and eventually, all the paste will be removed.

Step 5. Remove The Thermal Paste From The CPU Pins

remove thermal paste cpu pins

And now is the time for the most delicate part of the operation, cleaning the CPU pins.

Depending on the CPU brand you are using, the CPU will have different types of pins.

Intel CPUs have the LGA (land grid array) type of pins, which are flat and a bit easier to work with.

AMD CPUs have the PGA (pin grid array) type of pins, which are tiny and very delicate, so you will need to be extra careful when working with them.

A. Removing Thermal Paste From Intel CPU Pins

intel cpu pins
I. A. Removing Thermal Paste From Intel CPU Pins With A Thermal Paste Remover

So let me start talking about how to clean the thermal paste from an Intel CPU with a thermal paste remover.

Apply a small amount of the thermal paste remover to the pins with thermal paste on them and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

The secret here is to apply the thermal paste remover ONLY to the pins that have thermal paste on them. You don’t want to apply it to all the pins because it will make the process even more difficult and time-consuming.

After 5 minutes, use the q-tip and gently scrub the thermal paste off the pins. You will need to repeat the process a few times to ensure that all the thermal paste is removed.

Pro Tip: Every time you scrub the pins, use a new q-tip. The q-tip will start to disintegrate after a while, and you don’t want that happening as it will leave dirty bits of cotton on the pins.

II. A. Removing Thermal Paste From Intel CPU Pins With A 70% IPA Solution

Now let’s talk about how to remove the thermal paste from Intel CPU pins with a 70% IPA solution.

Pour the IPA solution into the container and soak the toothbrush. After 5 minutes or so, remove the toothbrush from the container and scrub the CPU pins.

You will need to repeat the process a few times to ensure that all the thermal paste is removed.

Pro Tip: You need to do it very gently as you don’t want to damage the pins. It is better to do it more times and be sure that all of the thermal paste is gone than to apply too much pressure and damage the pins.

B. Removing Thermal Paste From AMD CPU Pins

AMD cpu pins

Removing the thermal paste from AMD CPU pins is a bit more difficult as the pins are not flat like in an Intel CPU but tiny and very delicate.

I. Removing Thermal Paste From AMD CPU Pins With A Thermal Paste Remover

So, let’s start with the thermal paste remover method.

Apply a small amount of thermal paste remover to the pins that have thermal paste on them and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, use the q-tip to scrape the thermal paste off the pins gently. You must be very careful as you don’t want to damage the pins.

Pro Tip: The secret here is to follow one direction and not scrub the pins back and forth. If you do that, you can damage the pins and then have to replace the CPU.

You will probably need to repeat the process a few times to ensure that all the thermal paste is removed.

If there are persistent bits of thermal paste that just won’t come off, use the toothpick.

II. A. Removing Thermal Paste From AMD CPU Pins With A 70% IPA Solution

Now let’s see how to remove the thermal paste from AMD CPU pins with a 70% IPA solution.

Pour the IPA solution into the container and soak the toothbrush. After 5 minutes, remove the toothbrush from the container and scrub the CPU pins.

You need to do it very, very gently and always in one direction.

Repeat the process a few times to remove all the thermal paste.

Pro Tip: The secret is to clean the toothbrush on a tissue after every stroke, as you don’t want to reapply the thermal paste to the pins.

Related Article: What CPU Is Compatible With My Motherboard?

Step 6. Clean The Thermal Paste From The CPU Socket (Optional)

If the thermal paste did not spill only on the CPU pins but also on the socket, you need to clean it as well.

The process is pretty much the same, but those with an Intel CPU will have a more challenging time as Intel CPUs use the LGA socket with many tiny pins.

On the other hand, those with an AMD CPU will have an easier time as the AMD CPU socket is the AM4, and it doesn’t have any pins but holes.

Related ArticleHow To Test Motherboard Without CPU? [Solved]

A. Removing Thermal Paste From Intel CPU Sockets

Intel cpu socket
I. Removing Thermal Paste From An Intel LGA CPU Socket With A Thermal Paste Remover

The steps are the same as with the AMD CPU.

Apply the thermal paste remover only to the pins that have thermal paste on them and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, use the q-tip to scrape the thermal paste off the pins gently.

II. Removing Thermal Paste From An Intel LGA CPU Socket With A 70% IPA Solution

Cleaning an LGA socket using a 70% IPA solution is a bit more difficult as you need to be extra careful not to damage the pins.

Soak the toothbrush in the IPA solution and scrub the thermal paste off the pins. You need to be very gentle and always go in the same direction.

Clean your toothbrush every few strokes, so you don’t reapply the thermal paste to the pins.

B. Removing Thermal Paste From AMD CPU Sockets

AMD cpu socket

Now let’s see how to clean the thermal paste from an AM4 CPU socket.

The process is a bit different than we’ve seen before, as this socket has small holes where the pins are supposed to go into.

I. Removing The Thermal Paste Off An AM4 Socket With A Thermal Paste Remover

Ok, let’s start with the thermal paste remover.

Apply a small amount of thermal paste remover to the holes that have thermal paste on them and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, use a toothpick and gently scrape the thermal paste off the holes.

Then use a q-tip to remove the thermal paste that will be moved from the holes to the surface of the socket.

You need to repeat the process a few times until all of the thermal paste is removed.

I. Removing The Thermal Paste Off An AM4 Socket With A 70% IPA solution

Pour the IPA solution into the container and soak the toothbrush.

Gently scrub the thermal paste off of the holes. This first step will only remove most of the thermal paste.

Then take a toothpick and soak it in the IPA solution. Use the toothpick to remove the remaining thermal paste from the holes.

After you remove the thermal paste from the holes, use a q-tip to remove the thermal paste that will be moved from the holes to the surface of the socket.

You need to repeat the process a few times until all of the thermal paste is removed.

Step 7. Let The CPU And/Or The CPU Socket Dry

After you remove the thermal paste off the CPU and/or the CPU cooler, it’s time to let them dry.

This is very important because if there is any thermal paste remover residue on the CPU and/or the CPU socket, the pins won’t make a good connection, and the CPU won’t function properly.

So, let the CPU and/or the socket dry completely for 24 hours.

This is it! You have now removed the old thermal paste, and you can now properly apply new thermal paste.

Related Article: Can I Upgrade CPU Without Changing Motherboard? [Solved]

thermal paste on CPU pins FAQ

What Happens If The Thermal Paste Gets Into The CPU Socket?

If the thermal paste gets into the CPU socket, it might damage it. That’s why it’s essential to be very careful when applying the thermal paste and to ensure that you don’t use too much.

What Happens If You Get Thermal Paste On Motherboard Pins?

The thermal paste on the motherboard pins can prevent the CPU from making a good connection with the socket. This can lead to poor performance or even damage the CPU. This is why if you accidentally get thermal paste on the motherboard pins, you should clean it off as soon as possible.

Can Thermal Paste Damage Your CPU?

No, thermal paste can’t damage your CPU. It’s just a material that helps improve the thermal conductivity between the CPU and the cooler. But if you apply too much, it can cause overheating, making your CPU unstable or even damaging it.

Can I Put Alcohol On CPU Pins?

Yes, you can put alcohol on the CPU pins. Just make sure that you use a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution and not overdo it.

Related Article: What Is CPU Throttling & Thermal Throttling?

Conclusion

This is how you remove the thermal paste from CPU pins. If you have accidentally spilled thermal paste on the pins, don’t worry. Just follow the steps above, and remove it without damaging your CPU. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below, and I will be happy to help!

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