Can you use old Thermal Paste? Does it expire?

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

If you’re building or upgrading your computer, you might have found an old tube of thermal paste lying around. You might be wondering if it’s still okay to use or if thermal paste goes bad after a while. Here’s what you need to know about how long thermal paste lasts, whether it’s been sealed and sitting on your shelf or it’s an open tube you’ve had for a few years.

Also see: Why is my CPU Overheating and How to Fix it?

How long does thermal paste last once opened

How long can sealed thermal paste be stored?

If you’ve got a sealed tube of thermal paste, it can last for a while before it starts to go bad. Most times, there’s no set expiry date, but usually, a sealed tube of thermal paste can last between 3 to 5 years if you keep it in the right conditions. This can change based on what brand and type of thermal paste it is.

To keep it good for as long as possible, store your sealed thermal paste in a place that’s cool and dry, away from direct sunlight. Really hot or cold temperatures can mess up the paste’s thickness and how well it works.

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How long does thermal paste last once opened?

Once you open it, you’ve got to start using it because it won’t last as long. Noctua, a well-known cooling brand, says their NT-H1 and NT-H2 thermal pastes can last for up to 2 years after opening. To make sure it lasts, keep it at room temperature and out of the sun. Also, make sure you close the cap tightly after you use it, so it doesn’t dry out.
Does Thermal Paste Expire

What are the signs of expired thermal paste?

Thermal paste can change over time. If it looks watery, oily, or too thick, it’s probably time for a new tube. The paste should be smooth and easy to spread. If it’s not, it won’t do its job well, especially if you’re pushing your computer hard.

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Can you use thermal paste that’s over a few years old?

Thinking about using that really old tube of thermal paste? It might still work if it’s been kept well and still looks and feels the same. But, thermal paste is super important for keeping things cool. If you’re not sure, it’s probably a good idea to just get a new tube. It’s a small price to pay to keep your expensive parts running cool.
Can you use thermal paste that’s over a few years old

How do you test if old thermal paste is still usable?

Before you use old thermal paste, check it out. Is it still the same thickness as when you bought it? Has it split or changed color? If it looks and feels good, it’s probably okay to use. The main thing is whether it can still move heat well. If not, your CPU or GPU might not stay as cool as it should.
How do you test if old thermal paste is still usable

Is it worth taking the risk with old thermal paste?

With thermal paste, it’s not just about if it’s still good—it’s about how well it works. Using old, not-so-good thermal paste can make your CPU or GPU run hotter and not as well. If it gets too hot, it could even hurt your hardware, especially if you’re making it run faster than normal. So, if you’re not sure about your old thermal paste, getting a new tube might be the best idea.

Pro tip: GPU Artifacting Examples, How to Test, and Fixes

Do different brands of thermal paste have different expiration dates?

Different thermal paste brands might last for different amounts of time. Some well-known brands are Noctua, Arctic Silver, Thermal Grizzly, Corsair, Cooler Master, Be Quiet!, and Gelid Solutions. They all have great thermal pastes that last differently based on their mix.

For example, Noctua says their pastes are good for up to 2 years after opening. Arctic Silver doesn’t give a set time, but they say their paste lasts a long time if you keep it right. Thermal Grizzly’s Kryonaut is also known to be stable long-term, lasting up to 3 years after opening.
Can you use old thermal paste

Even with these guidelines, how long thermal paste really lasts can depend on how you store it and use it. Always check how it looks and feels before you use it to make sure it works well.

Should you buy large quantities of thermal paste?

You might think about buying a lot of thermal paste at once since it can last a while. This makes sense if you’re always building or taking care of lots of computers. But for most people, just getting what you need when you need it is better. That way, you don’t have to worry about it going bad before you use it all.

Concluding thoughts

If you’ve got an old tube of thermal paste, take a minute to look at it. See if anything’s changed and remember how long it’s been since you opened it. If it’s been less than two years, stored right, and still looks good, it’s probably still okay to use.

But, if you’re not sure or it looks weird, it’s safer to get a new one. Your CPU and GPU will be happier with fresh thermal paste that keeps them cool and running well for a long time.

Categories: GamingHardwareLaptop

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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