Is 91% Isopropyl Alcohol Still Alright for Thermal Paste Cleaning?

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Cooling' started by Falling Anvil, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. Falling Anvil

    Falling Anvil [H]ard|Gawd

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    I am going to be switching cases soon, and I thought it would be wise to take the time to clean off and reapply the TIM to my CPU cooler along the way (didn't do a good job the first time around so have been meaning to do that for a while now) . This would be my first time doing this, and I do have coffee filters available, but I am noticing that noone seems to be selling 99% Isopropyl alcohol around here, it's all 70% and 91% if not lower. I've heard that you can still clean thermal paste off with lower concentration solutions, but a lot of these are from fairly old sources so I was just wondering if it was still true.

    I am also changing out from my badly applied Thermalright Chill Factor that came with my cooler to the MX-2 I have lying around, so I was wondering if that might change anything. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't, but I have also heard that some pastes like AS5 leave a residual amount on IHS crevices if cleaned that might affect performance of the new paste.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2012
  2. Methadras

    Methadras [H]ardness Supreme

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    Yes, 99% if you have it. :D
     
  3. Cruiza

    Cruiza [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yep, I have 91% or something around there and it works like a charm.
     
  4. tunatime

    tunatime 2[H]4U

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    i even used 77% one time and it worked alright
     
  5. FaRKle0079

    FaRKle0079 2[H]4U

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    You'll be just fine with 91% or 71%. Just means you'll have to wait a bit longer for the moisture to evaporate.
     
  6. atarione

    atarione [H]ard|Gawd

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    i am slow when I work so i have used 80% a number of times but since it takes me so long to do this stuff it is well dry by the time I get ready to reassemble :D


    however now I get 91% or 99% just to be more safe.

    personally i generally just clean the cpu ihs with lint free cloth... and not alcohol.. (just use that on the heatsink).
     
  7. RebelExtrm02

    RebelExtrm02 [H]Lite

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    I've never had any issues. I currently have 95% that I picked up from Walmart for around $1. I've used it on both my lapped heatsinks and cpu ihs with no ill effects or results. Following up with a lint free cloth is good insurance though.
     
  8. Falling Anvil

    Falling Anvil [H]ard|Gawd

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    This is a necro post, but I just want to update you guys that I recently did the deed with my 91% + coffee filters and sure enough, I got the job done. Well, I think I did a good job on my cooler, got it nice and mirror shiny, but the CPU itself seemed a little rough in texture. Then again, it's probably just how the IHS is. ;)

    Thanks for the reassurances everyone! :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  9. BababooeyHTJ

    BababooeyHTJ [H]ardness Supreme

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    Its what I use. Works just fine.
     
  10. ReaperTech

    ReaperTech Limp Gawd

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    same i use 91% works fine even used 70% no problem just give it a bit of time to evaporate and whats the harm, all that really matters is getting the old gunk off so the new paste does its job properly.
     
  11. evilsofa

    evilsofa [H]ardForum Junkie

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    The difference between the more pure stuff and the 70% is that the 70% is more effective at breaking up cellular organic material, such as fingerprints, mucus, etc. The water in the 70% version helps the alcohol to penetrate the cell wall better. This doesn't matter so much when removing TIM, but it is better when cleaning monitors, mirrors, etc.
     
  12. Radical

    Radical Gawd

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    I've used both 91% and 70%, both have worked just fine as far as I've been able to tell, though I've never tried 99%. I always thought it was recommended to use the highest % you have available because there's less water in it to damage things, not because it cleans any better.
     
  13. bmoney9

    bmoney9 Limp Gawd

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    70% has always worked for me. It does its job.
     
  14. x509

    x509 [H]ard|Gawd

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    In the US, is "rubbing alcohol" 70% or 91%?
     
  15. travbrad

    travbrad [H]ard|Gawd

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    "Rubbing alcohol" is just the common/slang name for isopropyl alcohol, so it totally depends on the particular bottle. It should say what the concentration is on the bottle's label.
     
  16. clutch22

    clutch22 n00b

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    I bought some of the fancy ArctiClean stuff for my last build and to be honest...it didn't work nearly as well as 91% alcohol. It took much longer to clean/dry and still look 'meh' after 3 applications.
     
  17. travbrad

    travbrad [H]ard|Gawd

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    I tried ArctiClean and it worked okay for me, but regular old isopropyl alcohol works a bit better and is a tiny fraction of the cost. A $2 bottle will last you decades unless you are cleaning your CPU every day or something.
     
  18. SonDa5

    SonDa5 [H]ardness Supreme

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    I have used that and it works well but doesn't last long and is kind of pricey.

    I just recently bought a good size container of Goo Off and some Isopropyl alcohol ("rubbing alcohol").

    When doing direct DIE TIM removal you have to be very careful. To avoid scratching die I do the following.

    When cleaning the die/mount area of TIM I put a few drops of Goo Off on the die and use a microfiber cloth with goo off on it and dab the TIM off. I don't rub. Rubbing IC diamond off can slightly scratch the die and this can happen with metal based tims as well which are abrasive. So don't rub the TIM off. Dab it off. I do this on the block as well.


    After all the TIM is off I then use the isopropyl alcohol with a micro fiber cloth. Similar to the articclean steps in cleaning. Works well and much cheaper than the ArticClean.
     
  19. bitgod

    bitgod Gawd

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    But the ArctiClean has a nice lemony scent! :)