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Can you use 70 Isopropyl Alcohol to clean CPU? [Explained] 2024

Isopropyl alcohol, also known as IPA, is a type of alcohol used for various purposes....

Can you use 70 Isopropyl Alcohol to clean CPU? [Explained] 2024

Isopropyl alcohol, also known as IPA, is a type of alcohol used for various purposes. It’s a colorless, flammable liquid that has a strong odor. You might be most familiar with it as a disinfectant or cleaning agent. So why is it being recommended for cleaning CPUs? Well, it removes dirt, dust, and other debris effectively. It also has antibacterial properties, which can help keep your computer clean and free of bacteria.

Although you can use mild detergent and water to clean the CPU, it’s not recommended. You must give preference to use 70% isopropyl alcohol. But is it the best way to clean your processor? This article will take a closer look at the pros and cons of using isopropyl alcohol to clean your CPU. We’ll also explore other methods you can use to clean your CPU and help you decide which method is suitable for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Cleaning CPU with 70% isopropyl alcohol can remove dust, dirt and thermal paste residue from the surface of the processor.
  • Cleaning CPU regularly can prevent overheating, improve cooling efficiency and extend the lifespan of the CPU.
  • To clean CPU with 70% isopropyl alcohol, you need to power off your computer, remove the CPU cooler and fan, and gently wipe the CPU with a lint-free cloth or cotton swab soaked in alcohol.
  • To avoid damaging the CPU, you need to be careful not to bend the pins, apply too much pressure, or spill alcohol on the motherboard or other components.
  • To finish the cleaning process, you need to let the CPU dry completely, apply new thermal paste, reattach the CPU cooler and fan, and power on your computer.

Tips and precautions 

There are a few precautions and safety measures to keep in mind before cleaning your CPU with 70 Isopropyl Alcohol. Those include as follow:

  • First, make sure you are working in a properly ventilated area. The fumes of the alcohol can be dangerous if inhaled in large amounts, so opening a window or turning on a fan is a good idea. 
  • Additionally, only use 70 Isopropyl Alcohol on metal surfaces—it should not be used on plastic or other delicate parts.
  • You also want to ensure that the alcohol is well diluted with water. 
  • You don’t want your solution to be too strong, as it could damage the CPU’s components. 
  • Use about equal parts of 70 Isopropyl Alcohol and water for best results. 
  • And lastly, ensure that the CPU is completely dry before powering it back up—not just for practical reasons but also for safety!

How to clean a CPU with 70 Isopropyl alcohol?

The 70% isopropyl alcohol is a perfectly acceptable way to clean your CPU, but you should keep a few things in mind. 

1. Make everything ready. 

  • Start by turning off and unplugging your computer, then remove the cover so you can access the exposed parts of the CPU.
  • Mix a small amount of 70% isopropyl alcohol with water in a spray bottle to make a dilute solution and put aside until you’re ready to clean.
  • It’s important to note that this should not be done with anything stronger than 70%, as this could damage the delicate components of the CPU.

2. Cleaning the CPU. 

  • Use cotton swabs or lint-free cloth to gently dab and wipe away any residue or build-up from the CPU.
  • Once you’ve wiped it all away, generously spray with the diluted alcohol mix (from at least six inches away) and let it sit for at least two minutes before wiping away any excess with a dry lint-free cloth.
  • Finally, reassemble your computer; your CPU will look excellent and sparkly! So in that way, you can clean the CPU with alcohol.

Alternatives to 70 Isopropyl alcohol

Believe it or not, there are alternatives to using 70 Isopropyl Alcohol for cleaning your CPU. After all, there are no hard and fast rules for looking after your computer parts. One option is to use a specialized cleaning compound, such as a motherboard or CPU cleaner. These products are specially formulated for computer parts and designed to safely dissolve dirt and residue without damaging the delicate components inside your machine. 

They also come in convenient aerosol spray cans, so you don’t have to worry about spilling any liquid on your system. If you’re looking for something more natural, you can always make your own cleaning solution by mixing equal parts of rubbing alcohol and distilled water (or alternatively white vinegar). This solution effectively cuts through grease but won’t leave any residue behind. Plus, it’s cheaper than buying pre-made solutions!


A powerful solution that works well to remove oils, grease, and grime is isopropyl alcohol. It can be used to clean the CPU without using any additional chemicals. Although many professionals advise washing a CPU with soap and water or mild detergent, cleaning your CPU with 70% isopropyl alcohol gives better results. Ensure to follow all the safety precautions in the post and the process to clean your processor.


How To Clean Thermal Paste Off CPU?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to use 70% Isopropyl alcohol to clean CPU?

Yes, it’s safe. Simply use precaution as it may peel the paint from some types of plastic, and wait until it has dried before turning it back on. But a high percentage of alcohol can damage electronic circuitry and components. So what’s the other best way to clean a CPU? 

Many experts recommend using a mild detergent or soap and water. You can also use a commercial cleaning product designed explicitly for CPUs. But always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid any damage to your equipment.

Arslan Ashraf


Arslan Ashraf is a dedicated tech writer with a rich background in Computer Science and five years of experience in the field. While pursuing his Bachelor's degree from Virtual University, he has honed his expertise in CPUs and CPU Coolers. His ability to simplify complex technological concepts has made him a valuable resource for a wide audience.