How Long Does Thermal Paste Last – (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 5 years

Thermal paste is known as CPU grease or thermal grease and heat paste, among other names. This paste is thermally conductive and is commonly used as a boundary between the heat source and heat sinks.

Thermal paste can be applied using a brush, which is the easiest way you can work with it. The paste is used in the CPU, and it plays a significant role in improving its functionality In this article, we shall be discussing how long does thermal paste last and why.

How Long Does Thermal Paste Last


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How long does thermal paste last?

Thermal Paste TypeLifespan
Ceramic-based Paste5 years
Carbon-based Paste5 years
Metal-based Paste5 years
Liquid Metal-based Paste3 years 

Thermal grease is a greasy and sticky compound. When spoilt, the material becomes hard. However, this compound is capable of staying sticky without hardening for several years. Some factors might affect the shelf life of a thermal paste.

man holding Thermal Paste

Usually, this depends on the solvent used in making the thermal paste. The solvent used will dry over the years, which then makes the paste hard and not safe for use. A good quality thermal paste has a shelf life of approximately four years.

Why does thermal paste last long?

Thermal paste shelf life is determined by the compounds used in making the paste. Usually, thermal paste is said to be spoilt when it dry or has harden.

How to use thermal paste?

Thermal paste acts as a cooling agent, and it is naturally sticky. The paste helps in preventing CPUs from overheating. Furthermore, when operating with the thermal paste, you will be required to have a caring hand. When you accidentally use it in the wrong way, you might end up losing the entire system.

Thermal Paste being used

You should note that it does not mean there is always a problem with the paste. Often, using thermal grease in a wrong manner might become the leading cause for the system to crash down, and you end up blaming the paste.

Using an old thermal paste can be safe; however, taking extreme precautions is essential. You should squeeze a small out onto a paper and get rid of it.

Usually, the first paste being squeezed out is a clear fluid. You should then continue squeezing till a silver paste comes out. This is the paste you should be using for your CPU. Before using the paste on your CPU, you should read the manual on how to apply thermal paste. You should then start the process slowly to avoid applying too much paste.

How to store your thermal paste?

Thermal paste has a long shelf life; however, some aspects might interfere with its shelf life. Therefore, knowing and avoid such elements is critical in increasing your thermal paste shelf life. Here are some of the things you should consider when storing your paste;

  1. Do not store the paste in a very cold or very hot environment.
  2. You should store it in a sealed plastic bag.
  3. You should consider storing it on its side using an airtight cap.


Thermal paste is essential when it comes to operating our CPU; however, you should always consider the amount you are using to avoid destroying the system.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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20 thoughts on “How Long Does Thermal Paste Last – (And Why)?”

  1. The information presented on the various types of thermal paste and their lifespans is a great reference for those handling computer hardware.

    1. Avatar of Thomas Connor
      Thomas Connor

      I couldn’t agree more, Cox Theresa. This article is a valuable resource for understanding thermal paste.

  2. This article provides an excellent understanding of the importance of thermal paste in maintaining CPU functionality.

  3. The insights on how to use and store thermal paste are extremely beneficial. Well researched and presented.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Ward Ben. This article is a valuable resource for anyone working with thermal paste.

  4. The technique for applying thermal paste is clearly outlined. This is very helpful for anyone handling computer hardware.

  5. Avatar of Finley Morgan
    Finley Morgan

    The information provided on the storage of thermal paste is essential for anyone working on computer systems.

  6. This article presents a very detailed and informative explanation about thermal paste. Well done!

  7. The insights provided on the shelf life and maintenance of thermal paste are highly valuable. It’s certainly worth the read.

    1. Well articulated, Logan King. The detailed information benefits anyone working with thermal paste.

  8. The information on how using thermal paste incorrectly can cause system issues is quite enlightening. A must-read for tech enthusiasts.

  9. This article effectively addresses the significance of proper thermal paste usage and storage. Very informative and well-written.

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