Can You Use Denatured Alcohol To Clean Motherboard?

Do you want your motherboard to remain in the best working mode possible? If yes, then let me tell you guys you can improve the performance of your motherboard by cleaning it up once in a while. But how to clean it and can you use anything to clean motherboard? Soap water? Or denatured alcohol? Well in our today’s article we are going to tell you all you need to know can you use denatured alcohol to clean motherboard.

Can You Use Denatured Alcohol To Clean Motherboard?

Guys refrain from using denatured alcohol to clean motherboard because it has additives in it and can damage the components. It is always better to use alcohol in its pure form because it will evaporate leaving behind no traces. Plus water can also be used but you have to make sure the cloth you are going to use is dry and not drippy.

Because all the components over the motherboard are very delicate so a slight mishandling can make you say goodbye to your system forever. For this purpose it is advised to not use almost everything to clean out your motherboard. Make sure your choice for choosing the cleaning liquid is limited to either alcohol or water but in dry form. 

What Is Denatured Alcohol?

Basically denatured alcohol is ethanol but it is not pure and contains some additives that makes it poisonous or smelling bad. Basically this is done to alter its purposes for recreational purposes. It might have benzene, methanol, castor oil or pyridine as an additive. 

Denatured alcohol is known to cause severe skin burns and irritation to the eyes and nose. It is also very dangerous to inhale or consume. When using denatured alcohol to clean your house or car you need to use a special type of cleaning spray called denatured alcohol. You should apply the spray with a spray bottle on the surface you are trying to clean and then leave it to dry. When it has dried you can use a cloth to wipe away any excess.

Why Is Denatured Alcohol Dangerous For Cleaning Motherboard?

Denatured alcohol is very dangerous to use on electronic components including motherboards. Because of the addition of additives denatured alcohol can leave residue over the fragile components of the motherboard making it unfit for use? Even though the ethanol in it will evaporate but the component it will have will remain on the motherboard and I am sure you never want to have that. 

Can You Use Denatured Alcohol To Clean Motherboard?

The only way you can be sure you are not damaging any components is to get a good cleaning solution which is also safe for your components. These problems include:

  • Deformation of the motherboard’s PCBs
  • Corrosion of the components
  • Residues on the motherboard which are very difficult to remove.

What Kind Of Alcohol Is Safe For Cleaning Motherboard?

Can You Use Denatured Alcohol To Clean Motherboard?

Isopropyl alcohol that has a 99% concentration of alcohol is all safe to use for cleaning motherboard. Make sure you not use this solution on the thermal paste or the fans. Also, do not directly apply the alcohol onto the components. Use a cotton swab or a toothbrush and gently apply it onto the motherboard. Avoid spraying it directly on the components as you will have to go through a huge loss then. 

If you are looking for something stronger, try acetone. Acetone is a chemical solvent that is also available in many stores. But, make sure you buy it from an authorized dealer. Also, avoid buying a bottle with more than 20% acetone in it because you will have to dilute it further before using it. Do not use anything that is 100% acetone because it will damage your components. 

What Tools Do You Need To Clean Motherboard With Alcohol?

You will need alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, a mild blower, cotton swab, an old tooth brush, vacuum cleaner, and a screw driver of course. Please refrain from using denatured or any other form of alcohol because you already know you will get to say goodbye to your motherboard.

Before you start Please remove the CMOS battery for at least one hour before cleaning. It is always best to remove the battery for extended periods of time.  

How To Clean Motherboard Using Alcohol?

Can You Use Denatured Alcohol To Clean Motherboard?

To clean your motherboard thoroughly you need to clean it using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. Start by unscrewing your system’s case.

For cleaning a motherboard, you will need to remove the dust and dirt first. You can use isopropyl alcohol or acetone for this. Take a 1L bottle of isopropyl alcohol, either wipes the components using alcohol dipped cotton swab or you can even dip the whole motherboard into the isopropyl solution.

The later one is only for those motherboards that are very sticky and have never been cleaned since ages. Using a soft bristled brush you will brush off any gunk or debris accumulated. Now when you are done with cleaning you need to use a mild blower to make the alcohol evaporate from the surface of the motherboard completely.

Guys keep in mind to never use your motherboard until and unless you know that is completely dried. For your ease I have divided this process into below steps.

  • Step 1: Remove the cover of your motherboard Remove the top panel, if your motherboard has one, otherwise just take out the screwdriver and remove the screws.
  • Step 2: You can use a vacuum cleaner for this. Use a canister vacuum cleaner with the HEPA filter. Remove all the dust and dirt first. Clean the circuit board with a cotton swab You will need to clean the circuit board with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab, or you can use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) instead. 
  • Step 3: Clean the motherboard with compressed air After that, use compressed air to dry the circuit board thoroughly.
  • Step 4: Replace the screws and the panel Install the screws back and replace the panel.

What To Use For Cleaning Motherboard Besides Alcohol?

You can always use a microfiber cloth to wipe out the surface of the motherboard. You can also use water but do not spray directly instead damp a cloth and wipe the surface of the motherboard completely. If you don’t have any solution for cleaning then you can go for a vacuum or blower too. Compressed air can do the work as well and help you get rid of all the dirt and debris.

Why Is Cleaning A Motherboard Important?

When your motherboard is not properly cleaned dirt and debris can accumulate over it which can make it heat. Because of this heat generated the components might be at the risk of getting destroyed or even short circuit. You should always maintain a thorough clean up routine of your motherboard along other PC components. 

Dust can get into the motherboard through the ventilation holes in the chassis and can also enter through the power connector or USB ports. Dust can also enter the motherboard from the outside via the case. Once inside the motherboard dust can become lodged in the components and connectors and cause damage to them.

The motherboard has many tiny components and connectors, these components are very sensitive to dirt and dust. Over time these components can get damaged if there is not enough cleaning done on them. Also the dirt and debris that accumulates on the motherboard can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. This is why it is important to keep the motherboard clean.

Can I Use Ethyl Alcohol To Clean Motherboard?

Ethyl alcohol can be used to clean your motherboard as long as it has the highest percentage at least 75% of alcohol. The solution is inexpensive and is free of any kind of harmful additives so it won’t leave any traces behind. Because of the evaporating quality it is the most safest and preferred solution for cleaning motherboards.

So, I tried using the isopropyl with an old motherboard that had been lurking around in my basement. This motherboard was all covered in dust. the isopropyl worked perfectly and took off a lot of that dust. Keep in mind to avoid direct spraying the components with isopropyl.

Are Rubbing Alcohol And Ethyl Alcohol Same?

Rubbing alcohol also known as isopropyl alcohol differs from ethyl alcohol in the terms of composition of the alcohol. For instance isopropyl is a 90% concentrated solution whereas, ethyl alcohol is 70-75% concentrated solution. Both of them are fit for cleaning and contain no additional additives that can harm any of your components.

However, when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting, you will have to choose one over the other. Rubbing alcohol is a safe solvent to use on any surface without the fear of harming any of your parts. It is also used for cleaning off dust and dirt particles. Rubbing alcohol is known to be a safe solvent as it has a low boiling point of 78 degrees Celsius.

This means that you do not have to worry about the potential fire hazards that come with the use of high boiling point solvents. It is highly recommended to use rubbing alcohol over ethyl alcohol since it is more effective in removing dust, oil and grease from your parts. When choosing an alcohol based cleaner, make sure that you choose one that contains no additives other than water.

Tips To Maintain Your Motherboard For Long Time

Here are some of the useful tips you can follow to have your motherboard work for a long time.

  • Make sure to have a regular check on the capacitors.
  • Ensure that all the fans are in working condition to dissipate heat effectively.
  • Dust off the air vents regularly so the air flow will remain same and the board will be clean as well.
  • If your motherboard has copper connectors you can use an eraser to get rid of the dirt.
  • Lastly have a regular check-up of the health of the CMOS battery of your motherboard.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Motherboard?

A motherboard is able to last for 20 years or even more if maintained well and properly looked after. The rule is to maintain the clean up regularly and have the CPU cooler running to dissipate the heat effectively. With time you will experience the components or hardware of the motherboard will be getting out of work but upgrading them can solve all your issues and the board itself will never have any issue.


Hopefully I have answered each and every question you guys had about can you use denatured alcohol for cleaning motherboard. Guys I repeat never use denatured alcohol on any electrical component as it is hazardous to them. Instead you can go for isopropyl alcohol or even ethyl alcohol to have a complete clean-up of your motherboard. Make sure to be careful. Best of luck!