How To Remove Thermal Paste Without Alcohol? 4 Great Alternatives

clean thermal paste without alcohol

The CPU/Processor in our computer uses a greasy thermal paste to fill in the gaps between the uneven contact between the CPU and the cooler base.

Thermal paste is essential to transfer the heat rapidly to the heatsink from the CPU but if it dries, it is no longer as effective as it should be.

This may require the replacement of thermal paste or you may encounter CPU thermal throttling.

Why Do We Use Isopropyl Alcohol?

The most common cleaning agent used to clean the thermal paste off a CPU is Isopropyl Alcohol. It is a very effective solution to easily remove the greasy or dried thermal paste and leaves almost no residue.

Isopropyl Alcohol or Isopropanol is a colorless liquid that is prepared from Propylene and has a musty odor like rubbing alcohol. It is volatile which makes it evaporate if exposed to air.

This makes it a fantastic choice for cleaning electronic devices as it quickly evaporates after use.

Some Good Alternatives To Isopropyl Alcohol

Thermal paste removal

Credit- Jarrod’s Tech

If you can’t find Isopropyl Alcohol in your area or cannot buy one for some reason, there are a couple of alternatives to it that can be used to clean the thermal paste from the CPU.

Some of these work as good as Isopropyl Alcohol and are easily available in most homes.

Damp Paper Towel


Noctua NA-SCW1

The easiest way to clean the thermal paste is to use a Damp Paper Towel. It holds some moisture that helps in getting rid of the dried thermal paste pretty quickly.

You have to properly rub the damp paper over the CPU’s surface to clean it properly. Afterward, you can use a completely dry cotton cloth to remove any moisture from the CPU.

Make sure you completely dry the CPU before putting it back on the motherboard.

Vinegar And Distilled Water


Pouring White Distilled Vinegar in a Bowl

Vinegar and Distilled water combination is another great alternative to Isopropyl alcohol and you will need only a little bit of it.

-> Add one tablespoon of both liquids to a small bowl. Make sure you use both of them at a 1:1 ratio.

-> Take a soft cloth and dip it inside the solution. Rub the thermal paste off the CPU.

Dry the CPU surface before putting it back.


Petrol works like Isopropyl Alcohol and is a fantastic liquid to clean electronics. Petrol can be used to clean the circuit boards and even the thermal paste from a CPU.

You just need a little bit of it on your cleaning cloth and clean the CPU surface properly till no residue is left.

No need for drying the CPU as Petrol evaporates quickly into the air.

Nail Polish Remover


Nail Polish Remover

Kinda similar to Isopropyl Alcohol. Most households have a nail polish remover that comprises mostly Acetone in its composition.

You can use it like alcohol or petrol to remove the thermal paste.

Final Words

Whichever solution you use for scrubbing off the thermal paste, make sure you clean the surface to leave no residue and dry it afterward if there is moisture.

Let us know which method did you use in the comments below.

Related- How to remove the thermal paste from CPU Pins?


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