To remove thermal paste from a graphics processing unit or central processing unit, access the surface of the unit carefully by removing the covers of the unit and wiping away any paste. The removal of the paste is typically done with rubbing alcohol.
- Prepare the processor
Unplug the computer to shut down the power, and then strap on a grounded antistatic wrist strap to prevent damage to the computer components from static discharges. Ready the computer for paste removal by placing it on a flat surface with the CPU faced upwards. If removing paste from the GPU, then remove the graphics card from its slot in the computer, and place it face up.
- Expose the thermal paste
Remove the fan and heatsink from the CPU, lifting it directly from the chip to avoid chip removal. Set the fan and heatsink aside. If working with a GPU, then unscrew the cover of the GPU and remove the GPU fan and heatsink to uncover the processor.
- Remove the thermal paste
Dampen the end of a cotton swab or a piece of clean, lint-free cloth in 70 percent rubbing alcohol. Rub the alcohol over the thermal paste, following the grain of the metal, until all traces of the paste are removed. Switch cloths or cotton swabs to always keep a clean surface on the chip. Remove the paste from both the processing chip as well as the bottom of the heatsink so that new paste can be applied to create a new thermal seal between parts.