Safe to clean processor with rubbing alcohol and q-tips?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Gabrielle11, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. Gabrielle11

    Gabrielle11 Junior Member

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    Is it safe to clean the gold contacts and sides of a processor using rubbing alcohol? Some thermal compound accidentally got on the sides and the gold contacts of my Core i5 2500K and I would like to clean it off before placing it in the mobo socket. I was thinking of using a q-tip with 99% rubbing alcohol to clean up.
     
  2. stahlhart

    stahlhart Elite Member<br>Super Moderator <br> Video Cards &
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    If you've got the annhydrous or at least 90% you should be fine, as long as you're careful around any pins or other sharp protrusions that can snag fibers off of the Q-Tip ends.
     
  3. Anomaly1964

    Anomaly1964 Platinum Member

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    That is what I used, even left the processor on the board to clean it...
     
  4. Gabrielle11

    Gabrielle11 Junior Member

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    My processor (Core i5 2500K) doesn't actually have any pins. The bottom is just a series of gold "patches", with a bunch of raised parts in the center.
     
  5. Axon

    Axon Platinum Member

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    You're better off with a soft/medium bristle toothbrush - less chance of cottony fibers getting pulled off, and frankly, it gets into the little crevasses a lot more effectively. If you're on top of the CPU you should be fine with a Q-Tip.
     
  6. Blain

    Blain Lifer

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    Use clear 90&#37; or higher isopropyl alcohol with a cotton wash cloth (no Q-tips).
     
  7. etrigan420

    etrigan420 Golden Member

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    I've used Q-Tips and rubbing alcohol on every build I've ever done, since the mid-90's, and have never had a problem with it.
     
  8. Powermoloch

    Powermoloch Lifer

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    I never had a problem with q-tips
     
  9. magomago

    magomago Lifer

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    qtips are fine, just make sure that you have no fibers left on the surface...inspect carefully
     
  10. Gabrielle11

    Gabrielle11 Junior Member

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    I'm curious: what is the issue with stray fibers? Is it just that they would affect the thermal conductivity between the CPU and the heatsink, if they are left on the CPU?

    I am assuming they won't cause some kind of short circuit problems right?
     
  11. Patrick Wolf

    Patrick Wolf Platinum Member

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  12. Gabrielle11

    Gabrielle11 Junior Member

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    Ok, so I inspected the contacts side of the CPU and it looks like there is no TIM there. I cleaned off the other side (the top) of the CPU with qtips dipped in 99&#37; isopropanol. I didn't see any fibres left over, but maybe I missed some, I don't know.

    After the processor dried, I plugged it in and powered it up, and it seems to be working.

    Do I need to be concerned about stray fibers? Or is everything fine with the CPU?
     
  13. Texashiker

    Texashiker Lifer

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    If you know anyone that works at a doctors office, or at a hospital, those alcohol preps pads work pretty good - the cloth patches the nurse rubs on your skin before you get a shot - those things.

    As for removing the compound from the pins, I like the toothbrush suggestion.
     
  14. bruceb

    bruceb Diamond Member

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    Lint free Q-Tips would be best if you have them. Alcohol will do the job just fine.
    I do not suggest a Toothbrush as that may generate static electricity.
     
  15. somethingsketchy

    somethingsketchy Golden Member

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    If you dip the q-tip in the rubbing alcohol, you won't have an issue with the fibers pulling off to the q-tip.

    I've used this method with for the past eight-nine different builds, quite reliable. Once one end gets dirty with the paste, swap to the other side, and repeat. For the final bit (where you see a bit of greasy residue), switch to a cotton ball and rub till clean.

    As the other have said, just don't soak the q-tip, just enough to be moist.
     
  16. stahlhart

    stahlhart Elite Member<br>Super Moderator <br> Video Cards &
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    That's how it's always worked out for me. Only time I ever have trouble is while removing excess flux from circuit boards, which 91&#37; or higher also works well for, when desoldering/resoldering parts -- sometimes the fibers will snag on the ends of component leads, because you're scrubbing right around them. But it's easy enough to clean up once all of the work is done.
     
  17. mfenn

    mfenn Elite Member <br> Currently on <BR> Moderator Sabb
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    When you're cleaning the contacts, the worry would be that a stray fiber would stop one of the pads from being conductive, thus causing the CPU not to work.
     
  18. Rifter

    Rifter Diamond Member

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    I usually use coffe filters, q-tips can leave strands of fabric on the chip.
     
  19. yottabit

    yottabit Golden Member

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    I used to always use a decent amount of alcohol when doing this but recently discovered if your chip has TIM fairly freshly applied (the paste kind not the tape gunk), you really don't need to use much alcohol at all. Simply applying some pressure with the q-tip in a rubbing motion will get most of it off. You can get it to look clean to the eye with dry q-tips, then I just use one last q-tip with a bit of alcohol to clean it all up. It makes a lot less of a mess than starting out with the alcohol :p Just one of those things I never noticed.
     
  20. LiuKangBakinPie

    LiuKangBakinPie Diamond Member

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    static aint a problem these days. Unless your stroking the cat while doing it. Yes PW a electric cleaner such as rubbing alcohol is just as good.
     
  21. Sephire

    Sephire Golden Member

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    Yes. But most of the time I just use paper towels.
     
  22. Rhezuss

    Rhezuss Diamond Member

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    Just used 70&#37; alcohol and qtip yesterday for new CPU installation.
    Went smoothly and works fine!
     
  23. log1kq2

    log1kq2 Member

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    I've been using them for the past 10 years.
     
  24. the troll side of things

    the troll side of things Junior Member

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    i cleaned my brand new i5 6600k with red wine, works fine. - mouse is a little jittery though
     
    dave_the_nerd likes this.
  25. UsandThem

    UsandThem Diamond Member

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    Thanks for the info. Hopefully the OP has been patiently waiting for this to be answered since he posted it.....on Feb 14, 2011
     
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