Can I Use 70 Alcohol To Clean CPU – complete Guide In 2024

Cleaning your CPU is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy and efficient computer system. Dust and debris can accumulate over time, leading to overheating and decreased performance. 

Yes, using 70% isopropyl alcohol is suitable for cleaning your CPU. It effectively removes thermal paste and contaminants without causing damage to electronic components.

When choosing a cleaning solution, many enthusiasts wonder if they can use 70% alcohol. Let’s explore the dos and don’ts of using 70% alcohol to clean your CPU.

Understanding Isopropyl Alcohol:

Understanding Isopropyl Alcohol:
Source: ingameloop

Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, is a commonly used solvent for cleaning electronic components, including CPUs. It’s effective in removing thermal paste, dust, and other contaminants from the surface of the CPU.

The 70% concentration refers to the alcohol content in the solution, with the remaining 30% being water.

This particular concentration is often recommended for electronic cleaning due to its slower evaporation rate than higher concentrations like 90% or 99%.

The slower evaporation allows the alcohol more time to dissolve contaminants without evaporating too quickly.

Advantages of 70% Isopropyl Alcohol:

1. Gentle On Components: 

The lower alcohol concentration in 70% isopropyl alcohol makes it gentler on electronic components. High concentrations may dry out certain materials or lead to faster evaporation, potentially causing damage.

2. Effective Cleaning: 

Despite the lower alcohol content, 70% isopropyl alcohol is still effective at breaking down and removing thermal paste, grease, and other residues from the CPU surface.

3. Widely Available: 

70% isopropyl alcohol is readily available at most drugstores, making it a convenient choice for cleaning tasks.

Read More: How To Tell If CPU Is Thermal Throttling – How To Check

Steps For Cleaning Your CPU With 70% Isopropyl Alcohol:

Steps For Cleaning Your CPU With 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
Source: techspray
  • Power Off and Disconnect: Before cleaning your CPU, ensure your computer is powered off and disconnected from any power source.
  • Disassemble: Remove the CPU from the motherboard to clean it more thoroughly. Be sure to follow proper procedures for CPU removal and reinstallation.
  • Apply Alcohol: Using a lint-free cloth or cotton swab, apply a small amount of 70% isopropyl alcohol to the surface of the CPU. Gently wipe away thermal paste and other contaminants.
  • Allow to Dry: After cleaning, allow the CPU to air-dry completely before reapplying thermal paste or reinstalling it into the computer.

1. Safety Considerations:

While 70% isopropyl alcohol is generally safe for cleaning CPUs, there are a few precautions to keep in mind:

2. Avoid Excessive Moisture: 

Despite the slower evaporation rate, it’s crucial not to use excessive amounts of isopropyl alcohol. Too much liquid can seep into sensitive areas of the CPU or other electronic components.

3. Ensure Thorough Drying: 

After cleaning, allow the CPU to dry completely before reassembly. This ensures that any residual moisture evaporates, preventing potential damage when the computer is powered on.

4. Proper Application: 

Apply the isopropyl alcohol with precision. Use a lint-free cloth or cotton swab to target specific areas, minimizing the risk of spreading the liquid to unintended areas.

5. Well-Ventilated Environment: 

Clean in a well-ventilated area to help the alcohol evaporate more quickly and reduce the risk of inhaling fumes.

Read More: Can Cinebench Damage CPU | Best Practices In 2023

Dos And Don’ts Of Cleaning Your CPU With 70% Isopropyl Alcohol:

Dos And Don'ts Of Cleaning Your CPU With 70% Isopropyl Alcohol:
Source: Quora


  • Gentle Cleaning: 70% isopropyl alcohol is generally safe for cleaning your CPU, but it’s crucial to apply it gently. Use a soft, lint-free cloth or cotton swab to avoid scratching or damaging sensitive components.
  • Thermal Paste Removal: If you’re replacing the thermal paste on your CPU, 70% alcohol is excellent for dissolving and wiping away the old thermal compound. Ensure the CPU is powered off and disconnected from the power source before starting the cleaning process.
  • Quick Evaporation: One advantage of using 70% alcohol is its relatively quick evaporation rate. This helps prevent any liquid residue lingering on the CPU, potentially causing damage.


  • Submerging Components: Avoid submerging your CPU or motherboard in alcohol or liquid. While a small amount applied with a cloth or swab is generally safe, immersion can lead to irreparable damage.
  • Power On During Cleaning: Always power off and disconnect your computer before cleaning any components. Cleaning while the system is powered can result in electrical damage and pose a risk to you and your hardware.
  • Using Other Alcohols: Stick to isopropyl alcohol with a concentration of around 70%. Avoid using other alcohols like ethyl alcohol or high-concentration isopropyl, as they may be too harsh and can damage sensitive components.

Is Isopropyl Alcohol Bad For PC?

Isopropyl alcohol is generally safe for cleaning electronics, including PCs, as it removes oils, adhesives, fingerprints, and contaminants like soldering flux. However, it’s crucial to use alcohol with a grade of 90% or higher when cleaning circuit boards and internal electronics to ensure it evaporates quickly and doesn’t leave residue.

Read More: AIO Not Cooling CPU | How To Fix AIO Not Cooling CPU? 2023

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What Alcohol Is Best For Cleaning CPU?

When it comes to cleaning thermal paste from CPUs, isopropyl alcohol is the preferred choice. Dry paper towels may not effectively remove paste from deep surface imperfections in both the CPU and heatsink.

2. Can Alcohol Ruin CPU?

Using alcohol, specifically isopropyl alcohol, on a cotton cloth to carefully clean CPU, GPU, or motherboard parts is generally safe. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the alcohol is contained on the cloth and doesn’t flow onto other components.

3. How Long Does 70 Isopropyl Alcohol Take To Evaporate?

A 70% isopropyl alcohol solution typically evaporates completely from surfaces in under a minute, making it a quick and efficient option for cleaning and disinfecting.

4. Is 70% Isopropyl Alcohol The Same As Rubbing Alcohol?

Yes, 70% isopropyl alcohol is a type of rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is generally a diluted form of isopropyl alcohol, often containing other ingredients like water. While pure isopropyl alcohol has a concentration of 100%, many commercially available rubbing alcohols have a concentration of 70%.


In conclusion, 70% isopropyl alcohol is a safe and effective method for cleaning your CPU. Its lower alcohol concentration makes it gentler on components while providing the cleaning power necessary for optimal performance. Following proper procedures and safety precautions, you can keep your CPU in excellent condition, ensuring a smooth and efficient computing experience.

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