Is it possible to clean thermal paste residue without using isopropyl alcohol?

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by HHHH, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. HHHH

    HHHH Newbie

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    Hello everyone.
    I am planning to change my laptop's thermal paste. Do I have to use isopropyl alcohol to clean thermal paste residue? Are there any alternatives to isopropyl alcohol? I couldn't find anything about this in the internet.
     
  2. Vaardu

    Vaardu Notebook Geek

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    Surgical alcohol wipes aren't too bad to use. I've used them on many of my machines repasting CPUs and GPUs, and had no problems.
     
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  3. HHHH

    HHHH Newbie

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    Thanks for the information. Could you please tell me if there is a way to remove thermal paste without using alcohol?
     
  4. custom90gt

    custom90gt Doc Mod Super Moderator

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    Sure, it's just one of the easiest and most readily available cleaner. In all honesty you could just clean it off with paper towels and nothing else, but it won't be as clean as it could be. The reasoning for using a cleaner such as alcohol is that it dries and doesn't leave a residue. What are your goals in not using alcohol?
     
  5. HHHH

    HHHH Newbie

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    In my country, isopropyl alcohol isn't sold in markets (or I don't know where to look at) so I think I may not be able to find isopropyl alcohol. Could you please tell me if using ethyl alcohol would be safe because I think I can find ethyl alcohol in pharmacy. Thank you for helping me.
     
  6. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Isopropyl alcohol should be available at a pharmacy or hardware store.
     
  7. senso

    senso Notebook Deity

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    Not everywhere..
    In Portugal IPA will be only sold to medical or related professionals, at least pharmacy grade wont be sold to a regular costumer, because its used to distil something from weed or whatever, I had to take a couple PCBs to the pharmacy and show them my Chemtronics flux remover cans(that cost around 10-12€ each) to prove them that I just wanted to clean my pcb's in a cheaper way, and so I bough 2L for 10€...
    So it wont surprise me that buying IPA in EU might be a bit iffy..

    Ethylic alcool works the same to clean solder paste, but due to COVID might be also a bit scarce/overpriced.

    DONT use nail polish remover, acetone KILLS plastics, even the fumes can damage your laptop chassis, and its not clean acetone, it has a lot of impurities for colouring and odor reduction.
     
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  8. jc_denton

    jc_denton BGA? What a shame.

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  9. Deks

    Deks Notebook Prophet

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    I've used baby wipes to clean off the thermal paste completely from my old Acer 5930G CPU and GPU dies without issues (and used some toilet paper to remove potential excess).

    If possible, use alcohol, as it basically evaporates and is easy to clean, but ultimately, you should be able to use baby wipes too.
     
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  10. HHHH

    HHHH Newbie

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    Thank you all for helping me out. I will try finding ethyl alcohol and using baby wipes if I can't find ethyl alcohol.
     
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