How to Clean an Intel CPU: 5 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Dust can settle on and around your CPU, causing it to overheat and fail. Cleaning your Intel processor is similar to cleaning any other brand of processor, the key is to handle the procedure carefully to prevent inadvertently causing damage as you clean.


  1. 1
    Power down your computer and open it to get inside. Desktop models involve a simple removal of the side casing, while laptops require more intensive disassembly to reach the processor. Consult your system's user manual for instructions.
  2. 2
    Use canned air to blow loose debris from the inside of your system. Dust, lint and hair can all collect on your computer's delicate internal components, and sometimes a little puff of air is all you need to clean it. Focus on the computer's fans and other hardware.
  3. 3
    Remove the CPU's heat sink. Your Intel CPU has a dedicated fan, called the heat sink, installed directly above it to whisk heat away during operation. Unscrew this unit and use canned air to thoroughly clean it. Use the canned air on the CPU and surrounding areas.
  4. 4
    Wipe away the old thermal paste. Between the CPU and heat sink is a layer of thermal paste, which is a heat transfer material intended to help cool the CPU more efficiently. Use the lint-free cloth to wipe away the dried paste. Add a drop of rubbing alcohol to the cloth to remove stubborn spots. Clean the bottom of the heat sink in the same manner.
  5. 5
    Apply a new layer of thermal paste. You only need a thin layer of the paste -- thicker is not better. Place a small dot of the paste on the middle. Lower the heat sink on top to spread the paste evenly. Alternately, you can spread the paste into an even layer using the edge of a plastic putty knife, then reinstall the heat sink


  • If you have to disconnect wiring or remove components to get to the CPU and heat sink, take pictures to show where everything goes to help during reassembly.


  • Internal computer components are very vulnerable to static shock, and the smallest zap could render your machine useless. As you work inside your computer, touch a piece of metal regularly to ground yourself and prevent static electricity build-up.
  • If you choose to remove the CPU from its housing on your motherboard, handle the little chip with extreme care. Grasp only the outside edges and do not touch the gold connectors on the underside. The oil from your fingers or stray static spark could damage or kill the chip. Do not clean the underside of the chip.
  • Do not get too aggressive as you clean inside your system. Use only canned air, soft-bristled brushes and small amounts of rubbing alcohol to remove dirt and dust. Harsh chemical cleaners, vacuums and air compressors can all damage your system's components.

EditThings You'll Need

  • Canned air
  • High-percentage rubbing alcohol
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Thermal paste
  • Screwdriver

Article Info

Categories: Computers and Electronics

Recent edits by: Bala Techone

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