Is Thermal Paste Bad for Motherboards? (6 Things To Know)

While building or repairing a PC, many people unintentionally drop some thermal paste on motherboards. Therefore they become anxious to know whether this thermal paste harms their motherboards or not.

I have been building PC for the last couple of years, and after doing a ton of research, I am writing this article to inform you everything regarding this.

So, Is Thermal Paste Bad for Motherboards?

Yes! Thermal paste is bad for motherboards. Usually, thermal paste is applied to the CPU to transfer the heat. Still, if you use thermal paste where it shouldn’t be like (motherboard), then it can eventually damage your motherboard or its sockets. 

In other words, thermal paste is a paste that can conduct heat and is used to conduct heat from the CPU to the heat sink, where either fans or liquid cools the heat. This paste is safe, unlike if you apply it to the wrong place.

After getting the short answer, I know that you have lots of questions in your mind regarding thermal paste & motherboards, and all of your questions are discussed below. So, keep reading this article till the end.

Do Motherboards Come with Thermal Paste?

No! Thermal Paste never comes with motherboards. A Thermal Paste is a gray substance that comes with most CPU fans or water coolers. 

However, if you ask whether the motherboards have thermal paste between their heatsinks and other hot components, it could be.

Over the past couple of years, I have seen that many motherboards are coming with a small tube of thermal paste included. For instance, many ASUS motherboards came with a tube of copper-based thermal paste.

Usually, most the CPUs & GPUs also come with the pre-applied thermal paste. Moreover, when you buy a new CPU cooler, then the thermal paste also comes with that.

Overall, you can notice that different components come with the pre-applied thermal paste, but experts don’t recommend these pastes because of the bad quality and low durability; instead, they recommend buying an aftermarket thermal solution.

What happens if Thermal Paste gets on the motherboard?

It depends on what kind of thermal paste you are using, whether conductive or non-conductive. Many experts recommend using conductive thermal paste.

The conductive thermal paste has a good heat dissipation, but you have to apply this kind of thermal paste carefully. Otherwise, it can cause a short circuit in the motherboard. 

Suppose the conductive thermal paste gets in touch with the motherboard. It will interfere with the board’s electronics and cause electricity to flow in the wrong direction (thus damaging both the CPU & possibly the motherboard).

So, whether the thermal paste is conductive or non-conductive, you have to apply it carefully; otherwise, it will damage your motherboard.

Also Read: Does GPU Need Thermal Paste?

Do You Need Thermal Paste when Changing Motherboards?

Yes! It would help if you had thermal paste when changing the motherboards; when the motherboard is changed, that means the processor is also changed, which means the thermal paste applied before is also gone & now you have to reapply the thermal paste again.

If you are changing the motherboard for other reasons such as trying new/ old parts, making sure whether they are working or not, and if the thermal paste is not dried out, you don’t necessarily have to reapply it again.

However, many experts always recommend reapplying the thermal paste when you are changing the motherboard because there is some possibility that the thermal that you have used becomes dried out & replacing the thermal paste doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge, it is not costly, and it is not expensive therefore it’s better to replace the paste.

Thermal Paste Dropped on Motherboard Pins: Here’s What to Do?

Many beginner PC builders face this issue; while building a PC accidentally, they drop a little bit of thermal paste inside motherboards; now they want to know what they can do?

Well, as long as the thermal paste is not dropped in a connector or slot, then it will be ok after cleaning it up, but if it, unfortunately, touches the slot, then you need to act fast & should clean it up.

It also depends on what kinds of thermal paste you have been using; if it is non-conductive then you should try to clean it up immediately.

But if the thermal paste is an electrically conductive type, then it is a difficult task to remove the thermal paste from the motherboard.

If I were in your place, I would spray it with a spray-type electronics cleaner and then rinse it off in distilled water. Then I would clean the socket with a soft bristle brush, gently working it down into the micro sockets. I will do this three to four times until there are no traces of it left visible in the micro sockets.

But if the thermal paste gets deeply on the motherboard sockets, then don’t even try to clean them; it is just worse.

Also Read: Does Thermal Paste Needs to be Replaced?

How to Clean Thermal Paste off Motherboards?

If accidentally thermal paste drops inside your motherboard, you should act first & you need to clean it up immediately.

To clean the thermal paste, you require two essential things. The first thing is Isopropyl alcohol which you could easily find on amazon. Another thing you need is a microfibre cloth.

After arranging both the things, first put a minimal amount of alcohol where the thermal paste is dropped and subsequently use the microfibre and try to remove the alcohol as much as possible.

Can too much Thermal Paste Damage Motherboard?

While applying thermal paste inside the CPU, if you use too much thermal paste & if it, unfortunately, touches the motherboard socket, it can eventually damage your motherboard.

That’s why it is advised to apply a small amount of thermal paste inside the CPU; because using too much thermal won’t affect your CPU, but it will affect the motherboard & other sockets.

Also Read: Can Thermal Paste affect FPS?


In conclusion, it has to be said that if accidentally thermal paste gets inside the motherboard sockets, then it can damage the motherboard. That’s why experts recommend that whenever you are going to apply the thermal paste, you should do it carefully.

I hope this article is helpful for you and if you want to know more about thermal paste, motherboards, different PC components, and other technology-related things, keep following this blog regularly.

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