Using Ethanol To Remove Thermal Paste?

doyll

Kyle's Thermocouple is HOT
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Yes, it's safe to use.

Ethyl alcohol consists of 2 carbon atoms while isopropyl alcohol has 3 carbon atoms. Ethyl alcohol is produced when ethene is hydrated or when sugar is fermented by yeast cells. ... Ethyl alcohol is suitable for drinking while isopropyl is toxic when ingested. Both perform the same as a cleaning agent.
 

matt167

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Yeah, for the cpu/ heatsink it won't matter what you use. I replaced an old pentium in an optiplex 760 USFF with an E8600 C2D the other day. I didn't have any 90% rubbing alcohol left but had some 50% wintergreen alcohol. The heatsink became minty fresh. just let it dry good
 

doyll

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On my test rig using same TIM for all testing I usually just wipe cooler and CPU clean. Trick I learned from an old gentleman is to cut paper towels into small squares (5cm ish) and use one side, fold wipe again and put in nearby plastic bag lined garbage can. This way I rarely find any TIM on anything except CPU and cooler. I know TIM is infested with gremlins and can jump a meter or more to get onto other things. ;)
 

N4CR

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Yes and for anyone reading acetone also works fine just beware of printed numbers on some CPUs etc.
 

doyll

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Anyone thinking of using acetone please keep in mind it desolves many kinds of plastic, so keep it way from anything with plastic in it.
 

Azrak

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Trick I learned from an old gentleman is to cut paper towels into small squares (5cm ish) and use one side
I do this as well. No mess, no fuss and very little waste. A single towel can do both the CPU and heatsink no problem. I also use a few cotton swabs dipped in alcohol to do the CPU if I am not taking it out of the socket. It can do the sides of the CPU if any paste got there.
 

MaZa

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Anyone thinking of using acetone please keep in mind it desolves many kinds of plastic, so keep it way from anything with plastic in it.
Acetone is effective but AFAIK it also leaves a film behind so it is better to do a quick wipe with alcohol afterwards. Correct me if I am wrong?

Isopropyl, or any strong rubbing alcohol, works fine. Dry contact cleaner (no lubricants) also work as it is a combination of rubbing alcohol and other solvents and some deoxidizer, which does nothing in this case but doesn't hurt either.
 
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i know of an IT consulting company that used to buy a handle of everclear and take the label off to use for "cleaning off heatsink compound" and maybe that little extra kick monday morning ;) lol
 

Susquehannock

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Ethanol is fine. Used it to clean TIM many times. Rather surprised it would contain that. Especially higher than 95%/190 proof. ATF tends to keep track of such things.

Anyone thinking of using acetone please keep in mind it desolves many kinds of plastic, so keep it way from anything with plastic in it.
^^ this. Not a good choice for cleaning computer components. They make 'LectraMotive' for that. Also bear in mind Acetone is one of the few things that goes through Nitrile gloves like it is not even there.
 

matt167

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That is an Au product, so no US ATF regulations. I think Ethanol is cheaper to make.. ISO HEET ( red bottle ) automotive antifreeze is 100% Isopropyl Alcohol, if you can't get 90% plus rubbing alcohol locally. I just use whatever store brand of 90%+ usually
 

Susquehannock

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it would fly under the radar I'm sure
Maybe so. Funny how these things work. My hot pepper seeds sent overseas get confiscated. Potential biological threats et all.

Not long ago I did use some Acetone in small dabs to melt the thermal adhesive pad on a server board chipset and sink. Alcohol wouldn't touch it.
 

Azrak

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I use WD40 to remove adhesive residue. But then you have to use alcohol to clean up the WD40. I'm not Tech Yes City.
 

Panzer_X

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That should work. We used to use that and a coffee filter back in the day to take off thermal paste.
 

capt_cope

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I've always had good luck when I used everclear (190 proof) and a coffee filter. I don't think you want to soak your board in ethanol since it can cause some rubber compounds to swell (the seals on old electrolytic caps come to mind) but brief exposure should be fine.
 
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Don't tissues leave behind lint?

I've always used 99% iso, Q-tips, and eyeglass cleaning cloths. Toothbrush dipped in alcohol works really well for cleaning thermal paste off tiny components on GPU/CPU dies.
not really a big deal on cpu heat spreader IMO. cleaning a PCB with tissues is a huge PITA though.
 

defaultluser

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I just use Windex and Bounty paper towels to wipe it off (Windex evaporates just like alcohol, so there's no residue). Then just blow with an air can afterward to make sure it's lint-free.

For application, I just wash my hands wit soap and water then airdry, hand apply the TIM. There's no need for gloves if your hands are oil/dirt/water-free.

You don't have to be Mr Perfect,with purpose-purchased chemicals and gloves.. I've been doing it that way for twenty years, and I usually get the 5-8 years out of each application.
 
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funkydmunky

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I use the Heads&Tails of my Moonshine. Other then starting bomb-fires or disinfecting whatever, what the hell is it good for?
Works like a charm eh!
 

tangoseal

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Yes, it's safe to use.

Ethyl alcohol consists of 2 carbon atoms while isopropyl alcohol has 3 carbon atoms. Ethyl alcohol is produced when ethene is hydrated or when sugar is fermented by yeast cells. ... Ethyl alcohol is suitable for drinking while isopropyl is toxic when ingested. Both perform the same as a cleaning agent.
Ok then what is the mass of 4 moles of EtOH? But wait there's more!! What is the amount of energy necessary to evaporate 1gram of pure etoh from a solution of 1 liter of water and 500ml of EtOH? Specific heat capacities are widely available including heats of fusions for each on google. Answer must be in nanojoules so scientific notation is allowable. Is it possible for EtOH to sublimate as to avoid the use of distillation? Ooh a trick question to see if you paid attn to all the years of lecture.

Enjoy

Typical test question style from back in my undergrad crap. I hated my Chem prof. Biochemistry and chemistry degrees were a rough road.

I got really creative on the sublimation part and he gave me bonus points for making him laugh.
 
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