Alcohol and Nude Parts


Is it OK to use alcohol to wipe clean an Athlon CPU without a heat spreader?

—Avery Sio

Yes, the doctor has successfully cleaned many old spreaderless Athlon and Athlon XP CPUs using alcohol. It’s generally recommended that you use 99 percent isopropyl alcohol—or even better, use a CPU cleaner such as ArctiClean to get the job done. Remember, those old Athlons and Athlon XPs can be easily damaged since there’s nothing protecting the core, so don’t be too forceful.

Be careful when cleaning CPUs that don't have heat spreaders--they're surprisingly easy to break.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at for advice on how to solve your technological woes.

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