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Thread: What's your TIM cleaning method?

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    Senior Member AGTDenton's Avatar
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    What's your TIM cleaning method?

    Sadly Akasa have discontinued their very handy TIM Clean bottle .
    Used these for over 15 years for the reasons of being a handy size for a toolbag, very cheap, a good method of application, no mess and ultimately works extremely well.

    They've changed to wipes which are horribly expensive @ £5.86 / 10 wipes or 59p a wipe (CCL).

    I can see there being times where you need to use more than 1 wipe per process.

    Bottle would have got you at least 30 uses and no risk of drying out between long periods of downtime.

    Kustom PC offer some straightforward Isopropyl Alcohol Wipes at 10p a wipe.
    So went to Amazon to see 100 wipes @ £4.99 - very good price if they don't dry out over time.

    I've also seen Thermal Grizzly have a TP remover, but there's not much information about it, how long it would last or even how it's applied. Their website is a little thin on the ground and surprisingly no Youtube videos.

    What's everyones preferred method of cleaning thermal paste?

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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    Nail varnish remover 99p from wilko, still not evaporated 8? years on from purchase. Together with cotton swabs that were a similar kind of price - if wet enough they don't leave any strands.

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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    I use these for almost everything

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/165555603491
    Jon

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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    I buy IPA by the litre, and use it on all sorts of things: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07D4N472Q/

    I put some into a small metal spray, something like this: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08DTKLW22/

    and then use kitchen roll to wipe it off

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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    Honestly, thoroughly wiping with kitchen towel. If it's got some hard to reach internal corners, I use a plastic play-doh tool (ideal for around GPU dies when it's all dried on), then if it's really stubborn I'll losen it with 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol before wiping down.

    I also often use a set of Detailing Brushes

    These are great for removing most of the dust off heatsinks / fans / moulded parts - much faster than wiping down. Also good at removing hardened TIM around resistors and the small electrical components using a "stabbing" motion with the soft bristles.

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    DDY
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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    I use kitchen towel and IPA myself. I also use acetone and methylated spirit on occasion, what ever is to hand really.

    Out of curiosity, I looked up the safety data sheet for Akasa's TIM clean to find out what it's made of, and it looks like it's pretty much just paraffin/kerosene.

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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    I don't have a favourite method as such, partly because it depends where I am and what's to hand.
    At home I still have some 2-part ArctiClean from Arctic Silver which has always worked great. I also have some IPA.

    Over at a friend's place, where I do most of my builds for other people, he usually has IPA and an array of Würth engine cleaning substances. I can't tell you exactly what they are as they're all in German (it's not Bremsenreiniger, though!), but the one we use most has that same orangey smell as ArctiClean.
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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    My bottle of Alaska TIM cleaner is still going strong after many years, not sure what I'll do next! About a third left but I'm not using it anywhere near as often as I did.

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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    Thanks all very useful a lot I hadn't considered before!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonj1611 View Post
    I use these for almost everything

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/165555603491
    Can't argue with that price
    That happens to be the brand Kustom PC are selling, so they're making a good profit just by selling 2 at a time.


    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    I buy IPA by the litre, and use it on all sorts of things: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07D4N472Q/

    I put some into a small metal spray, something like this: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08DTKLW22/

    and then use kitchen roll to wipe it off
    Thanks, thats a really good idea with the spray bottles. Makes it very cheap and those bottles would keep the size/weight down for the toolbag.

    Quote Originally Posted by cptwhite_uk View Post
    Honestly, thoroughly wiping with kitchen towel. If it's got some hard to reach internal corners, I use a plastic play-doh tool (ideal for around GPU dies when it's all dried on), then if it's really stubborn I'll losen it with 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol before wiping down.

    I also often use a set of Detailing Brushes

    These are great for removing most of the dust off heatsinks / fans / moulded parts - much faster than wiping down. Also good at removing hardened TIM around resistors and the small electrical components using a "stabbing" motion with the soft bristles.
    Hah good use of the Play-doh tool. I used to have some plastic clay shaping tools for getting the hard stuff off. They had a nice rounded edge as to not scratch the surface of the CPU before they had lids on. Once I discovered TIM Clean though, it breaks it down so quickly that I've not needed to use the clay tools since.

    Those brushes are a good idea to have in general, the amount of times there's been some dust stuck on a side panel that a hoover or a blower can't deal with these will be very useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by DDY View Post
    I use kitchen towel and IPA myself. I also use acetone and methylated spirit on occasion, what ever is to hand really.

    Out of curiosity, I looked up the safety data sheet for Akasa's TIM clean to find out what it's made of, and it looks like it's pretty much just paraffin/kerosene.
    I usually use a Vileda window cleaning cloth as it's easier to carry in a toolbag and can be used & cleaned many times. I cut the cloth into 4 squares and use as required on both sides. But at home I just use Lidls regina style kitchen cloth as it doesn't shed it's lint as much as kitchen cloth.

    Must admit I've never looked at the back of TIM Clean in detail, says I should leave it for 1-2 minutes, I have never needed to!

    The ingredients of AKASA's TIM Clean if anyones interested are as follows:

    Hydrocarbons, C11-C14, n-alkanes, isoalkanes, cylics, <2% aromatics (R)-p-mentha-1,8-diene

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    I don't have a favourite method as such, partly because it depends where I am and what's to hand.
    At home I still have some 2-part ArctiClean from Arctic Silver which has always worked great. I also have some IPA.

    Over at a friend's place, where I do most of my builds for other people, he usually has IPA and an array of Würth engine cleaning substances. I can't tell you exactly what they are as they're all in German (it's not Bremsenreiniger, though!), but the one we use most has that same orangey smell as ArctiClean.
    The Akasa is a lemon smell, looks like I'm going to miss that now

    I have seen the ArctiClean come up quite regularly, never understood the duo bottles though?
    Last edited by AGTDenton; 29-09-2022 at 08:38 PM.

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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    , but the one we use most has that same orangey smell as ArctiClean.
    I suspect they both have a splash of limonene in them. A nice citrus smell, and a pretty good solvent.

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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    Quote Originally Posted by DanceswithUnix View Post
    I suspect they both have a splash of limonene in them. A nice citrus smell, and a pretty good solvent.
    Yeah, lemon juice was going to be my next alternative - looks like there are better options though

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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    Quote Originally Posted by jimbouk View Post
    Yeah, lemon juice was going to be my next alternative - looks like there are better options though
    I really wouldn't use lemon juice!

    I've worked in electronics companies where eating at your desk at lunchtime is fine, but Oranges were banned. They have a tendency to squirt juice in a random direction on eating that can go quite a distance, and is really damaging to what it hits. If a new employee pulled out an orange, the shouts around the office from the hardware guys were like they were holding a grenade, rushing to get the (usually confused looking software engineer) person away from all the bare circuit boards on people's desks

    I can't imagine lemons are any less corrosive than oranges.

    Distilled limonene is a superb solvent, without any of the acid of raw citrus juice.

    Edit: I needed to buy some a while back to service my 3D printer. Limonene seems one of the few things that will shift the glue Prusa use for the protective film on the heatbed. It was expensive, so I'll stick with IPA for most things
    Last edited by DanceswithUnix; 30-09-2022 at 11:55 AM.

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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    Quote Originally Posted by AGTDenton View Post
    I have seen the ArctiClean come up quite regularly, never understood the duo bottles though?

    ArctiClean Bottle 1: Thermal Material Remover

    ArctiClean 1 uses a proprietary combination of non-toxic biodegradable solvents to emulsify thermal greases or thermal pads. The citrus and soy-based solvents in ArctiClean 1 match or exceed many hazardous and volatile solvents such as fluorinated and chlorinated organic solvents, acetone, MEK (methyl ethyl ketone), mineral spirits, isopropyl alcohol, and toluene.

    ArctiClean Bottle 2: Thermal Surface Purifier
    The cationic surfactants in ArctiClean 2 remove any residue left by the ArctiClean 1, leaving a pristine surface for the application of a new thermal interface material. It also incorporates advanced flash corrosion inhibitors that minimise the corrosion layer on copper and aluminium allowing for more intimate contact between the thermal interface material and the heatsink.

    SDS sheets are on the company website.
    All I know is that whenever someone peels open an orange near me, my brain switches into PC building mode!
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    Banhammer in peace PeterB kalniel's Avatar
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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    I like their business model - soon there will be an ArtiClean Bottle 3 to remove the residue from Bottle 2..

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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    I like their business model - soon there will be an ArtiClean Bottle 3 to remove the residue from Bottle 2..
    It's possibly not so necessary nowadays, but I understand a two stage surface clean and then surface prep was pretty standard for things like this back when Arcticlean first came out. I know they still do this with certain cleansers in the automotive industry.
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    Re: What's your TIM cleaning method?

    I ask him to use the work showers and not come back to his desk until he's done so. Usually works if done discretely so as not to embarass the chap in front of the others.

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