How Long Is Thermal Paste Good for? You Must Know.

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Thermal pastes are effective to absorb heat from the heatsink and transfer the heat away from the CPU chips. Old thermal pastes can cause several issues if it is not replaced. But, How Long is Thermal Paste good? Let’s find the answer to this question through this article.  

how long is thermal paste good for

What Happens if I Don’t Replace Thermal Paste?

As you know, the CPU processor and the chips produce heat while running. The thermal paste is used for transferring the heat away from the CPU chips. This keeps the chips cool and ready to operate. There are so many bad things that could happen if you don’t replace the thermal paste after a certain time. These below-described things could happen, if you don’t replace thermal paste;

1. Your CPU chips could get overheated, which could burn the CPU chips. This will happen because the old thermal paste cannot properly transfer the heat away from the CPU chips.

2. The system temperature will increase in a short time, which may affect the system performance.

3. Using the old thermal paste could make your device system may crash several times.

4. Some modern-day processors could stop working while overheating. And you already know that the old thermal paste fails to cool down the CPU temperature.

5. The device performance will be overall affected because of old thermal pastes. Sometimes it may stop working for overheating.

So, you know about the consequences of not replacing the thermal paste. For a healthy device system, it is better to replace the thermal paste after a certain time.

How Long Is Thermal Paste Good for? 

Depending on costs, the thermal paste generally lasts for 3-7 years. The cheaper thermal paste could last less than that. Some thermal pastes could even last the lifetime of the machine. But if you replace or remove the heatsink ever, you just need to reapply the heatsink. In normal cases, thermal pastes are good for 2-4 years. It is always better to replace the thermal paste between 2 or 4 years. Else, your device could face difficulties with the temperature.

How Long Does Thermal Paste Last After Opened?       

After opened, thermal paste has a shelf life of around 2 years. But to use the opened thermal paste that long, you need to place the cap properly and store it in a cool place away from sunlight, air, or water. Otherwise, it could get oxidized, which is not good for applying to the heatsink. Also, you can follow the manufacturer’s specification to check how long the thermal paste could be used after opening. For maximum safety, it is always better to not use the thermal paste that is opened before 1.5 years.

How Do You Know if Thermal Paste Is Bad?

To check whether the thermal paste is good or bad, you need to check the thermal paste. The bad thermal paste looks watery or hard or flaky. Also, the bad thermal paste dried up just after applying it. The oxidized thermal paste is the bad thermal paste. Oxidized thermal paste looks flaky. If you notice any of these characteristics on the thermal paste, you need to buy a new tube of the thermal paste to apply to the CPU.

You can follow some steps to taste the thermal paste, whether it is good or bad. The steps are given below;


Discard a little amount of grease on the opened mouth of the thermal paste tube or syringe and push the tube to get the thermal paste out.


To check the consistency and smoothness, apply thermal paste on a metal surface. If it gets watery, separated, flaky, or dried up; the thermal paste is expired. You can use the thermal paste if it is smooth and consistent.

Is It Ok to Use Old Thermal Paste?

No, it is not okay to use old thermal paste. Applying old thermal paste that is opened before 1.5 or 2 years may be a nightmare for your CPU. Instead of resolving the temperature issue, it could trigger other issues, including overheating. For this reason, hardware specialists recommend applying new thermal paste instead of using thermal pastes that were opened 1.5 or 2 years ago.

The old thermal paste is harmful to the system’s performance and health. The old thermal paste could be useless for cooling down the system temperature. And that could be a nightmare for a device system. For these reasons, you should not use old thermal pastes on your CPU or processor.

How Often Should I Need to Change the Thermal Paste?

As said before, the thermal paste lasts for 3-7 years after application and some thermal paste can last for the lifetime of the machine. So, you need to apply the thermal paste once in several years. But it is better to apply the thermal paste depending on the device system temperature. Especially, when you notice the system temperature is climbing high gradually.

Increasing the device system temperature is a consequence of using old thermal pastes on the CPU or processor. So, you should reapply the thermal paste by reviewing the system temperature. You don’t need to apply the thermal paste if the system temperature is normal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I Use Toothpaste as Thermal Paste?

Although the toothpaste looks like a thermal paste, it is not a good idea to use the toothpaste as a thermal paste. Because thermal pastes have cooling properties, which are not present in toothpaste.

Is There any Permanent Replacement for Thermal Pastes?

Though there is some valid replacement for thermal pastes available, there is nothing that could permanently replace the thermal paste. Beeswax and sealing wax can be used as a replacement for thermal pastes for a short time.

What is the Best Temperature for My CPU?

Any temperature below 70° Celsius is the best temperature for your CPU. If the temperature gets higher than 80° Celsius, you need to take immediate action. More than 90° Celsius temperatures are considered as dangerous for a computer system.


Now, you have already got the answer to the question “how long is thermal paste good for?”. Hopefully, that will help to apply the thermal paste to your CPU. It is better to use the thermal paste by reviewing the device’s temperature. That’s all for today, have a great day.

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