A Beginner’s Guide – How to Clean CPU Cooler

Like every other technology, computers can work fine but require regular maintenance. Anti-viruses and software cleanup may be necessary, but physically cleaning up your computers is also essential. Keeping your laptop or CPU clean can increase efficiency and maximize lifespan. 

However, cleaning the CPU can be particularly hard because it has a lot of different components. If you plan to clean your CPU cooler but don’t know where to start, follow our guide.

What You Will Need 

First, you need the right supplies to clean your CPU, so you do not end up damaging it. It is best to prepare these essential cleaning supplies before starting. 

1. Hardware Set 

A hardware set includes all the tools that you will need throughout the cleaning process. However, make sure that the hardware set includes screwdrivers. 

2. Can of Compressed Air 

The can of compressed air is optional, but it might come in handy. You can purchase the can from your local electric stores. 

Cleaning CPU Cooler

3. Microfiber Cloth 

A microfiber cloth is specifically designed for cleaning purposes. The material is soft enough not to damage the components but tough enough to clean away the dirt from your CPU cooler. The microfiber cloth will keep your computer screen and CPU clean. 

4. Isopropyl Alcohol 

Isopropyl alcohol is yet another optional cleaning supply. However, if you need to remove sticky materials or clean components that cannot be exposed to moisture, then isopropyl alcohol will do the trick. It quickly dries up and does not leave a residue. Also, it can penetrate through the most stubborn buildups of dirt and grime. 

5. Paper Towels 

Paper towels are an essential cleaning supply to clean parts of the CPU. However, do not use these on your screen, as they can scratch the surface.

6. Q-Tips 

Q-Tips are also sometimes known as cotton swabs. They are a perfect tool for reaching hard-to-reach spots. Also, you can clean delicate parts of the CPU cooler with cotton swabs. 

7. Organizer

Parts organizer will help to organize small parts and prevent them from getting lost as you disassemble and reassemble your CPU.

CPU Maintenance 

It may not come off as a surprise, but the CPU is the least cleaned component of a computer. Most people do not bother cleaning their CPUs because the processor is covered. You must dismantle parts of the CPU first before you can clean parts of the CPU. 

Many people do not clean the CPUs because they fear they might damage the processor or the cooler. Follow our guide to quickly clean the cooler of your CPU and increase its efficiency.

How to Clean CPU Cooler

How to Clean CPU Cooler 

Step 1: Dissemble the Cooling System

Cleaning the cooling system of a CPU can be a tricky task. However, with the right tools, you can complete the job without issues. 

First, you have to dissemble the cooling system. In fact, remember not to remove the cooling system from the processor if your CPU has not been turned on recently. Only separate the CPU and the cooling system if you have turned on the computer recently. 

Step 2: Clean the Base

After separating the cooler from the CPU, you need to clean the base. This prevents the thermal paste from sticking all around the cooling system. 

Use a tiny amount of isopropyl alcohol or any cleaner, dab it a little on the paper towels or cloth towels, and gently remove the old thermal compound. Make sure that you remove every bit of the old thermal paste, or it may damage your processor later on. 

Step 3: Separate the Fans From the Heatsink

Next, slowly remove the cooling fans from the heatsink. However, different CPUs have different compositions. Hence, please thoroughly read the manual before you disassemble the cooling system. 

Step 4: Dust the Cooler

After that, use a can of compressed air or a cleaning brush to wipe off the dust from the fans, heatsink, and heat pipes. The compressed air will blow away the buildup of grime from the pesky corners of the equipment. Usually, there is a lot of dirt buildup in the fins. Hence, clean it thoroughly. 

Step 5: Clean Using Alcohol

Cleaning CPU Cooler

Then, use the cleaning liquid or isopropyl alcohol and dab it on the paper towel. Use a paper towel to wipe off the dust from the top fin of the cooler and the heat pipes. Make sure you wipe off the stains of fingerprints too. 

Step 6: Reassemble the Cooling System

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the heat pipes, heatsink, and fins, you will need to reassemble the cooling system. You will have to add a small amount of the thermal paste to reinstall the CPU cooler. Install the cooling fans, and the cooler system is good for reinstalling.

Step 7: Polish It

You can use a metal polisher to give your cooling system a better finish. It will make your CPU look all shiny and new. A small amount of metal polisher will work. Once done, remember to carefully dab away all the excess polish from your CPU cooler.  

Useful Tips 

Make sure you have unplugged everything from the port before you begin the cleaning process. You must follow all the safety regulations to avoid hazards—power off all the devices before you start some deep cleaning. 

Secondly, there is no need to rush through the process. Take your time, and carefully clean through the components. The computer and other devices have delicate parts, and you do not want to damage them.

If you spend extra time cleaning, you might pay attention to detail. Hence, you will not have to clean the CPU so often. Remember to dust off the stubborn dirt with compressed air or a paintbrush before and after. 


We have discussed everything you need to know about cleaning the CPU cooler. However, if you cannot handle cleaning the CPU cooler, you can get it done by an expert. If you want to try a hand at DIY cleaning, remember to be careful around these devices.