How Long Does Thermal Paste Last? – Find Everything You Want to Know

Thermal pastes are like your ordinary products that you use on a daily basis. Yes, they do come with an expiration date. Sadly, most of the thermal pastes do not have them marked on the product.

That is why you, as a user, would want to know how long does thermal paste last? You certainly don’t want to be using an expired product with spoiled stuff that is present inside the tube. Thermal paste is applied in small quantities on your CPU.

It acts as a bridge that removes the gaps inside the CPU. This factor immensely aids the ventilation present inside your PC case, maximizing your heat transfer and dissipation. The thermal paste tube can be used a few times at the most.

So, what happens when the paste expires inside the tube? This entirely depends on the kind of paste that you own. Most of the top-ranked models can last you 10 years at least. However, the average life of the paste is 8 years.

That is why we have put up a comprehensive guide that can hopefully answer the questions that you are looking for. When does the thermal paste, and how do you find that out easily? The only way to know would be to read this post carefully.

We will also read some information on the chemical composition of the thermal paste. Additionally, we will be learning some of the storing methods that can help in prolonging the paste’s life.

What is a thermal paste?

What is a thermal paste?

A thermal paste is a thermally conductive compound that is used to maintain the proper temperature inside your CPU or PC case. You do not want your CPU to heat up and cause it to malfunction.

A thermal paste is mainly used to remove the air gaps present inside there. It works like thermal insulators to improve the transfer of heat and the dissipation present inside it. Inside the PC device, the thermal paste is used on the processor and your GPU’s die.

It won’t last for many years, and that is why you have to reapply the thermal paste on the CPU & GPU die every once in a while. It is produced with a polymerizable liquid matrix along with electrically conductive fillers.

The liquid matrix is designed using a wide range of materials. However, the best material used for preparing the liquid matrix would be liquid metal. But they come with the presence of Gallium, which is highly corrosive to aluminum.

The primary purpose of the thermal paste is to ensure that the CPU temperature remains excellent and fantastic. So, the quality does not really matter and should not be for any user. It should work just fine when used correctly.

Where do you store thermal paste tubes?

Where do you store thermal paste tubes?

They can be stored anywhere inside your house where there is no direct sunlight. It is just similar to storing your groceries and other items outside your refrigerator. You may come across somewhere mentioning that it is alright storing it inside your freezer also.

But please do not do that because once you have stored it inside your freezer, then the product becomes quite useless. You do not certainly want to reapply it on your CPU. You are only going to do some serious damage to the device.

So, the best way to store it would be to close the cap tightly but adequately. There is no need to complete it so tightly that you can’t open it the next time. Of course, the next time is going to be a good 2-3 years time.

You may put it inside an airtight sealed container or a Ziploc plastic bag. When you are residing in a hot region or country, then you may want to think about the contents of your thermal paste drying up sooner.

You can consider placing it inside your desk or drawer inside an air-conditioned room. It becomes better when you are working in an air-conditioned office or residence. It is quite cheap, and you normally get it in very small quantities.

You need to ensure that you apply the correct quantity to your CPU. However, you would want to ensure that you do not apply more than what is required on your PC case because it can cause minor damage to the area when it dries off.

How long does thermal paste last?

How long does thermal paste last

Before we read on, we would not recommend that you store the thermal paste for further usage. That is because it is a far too small quantity to keep for a few years. You would instead use it entirely and then get a new one when you want to reapply the thermal paste on your PC.

That works much easier for you. Like we said in the above segment, you can store it in a cool area, but you would want to avoid keeping it inside your freezer. Besides, please make sure that the cap of the tube is closed properly.

The materials used in producing the paste also differ according to the maker. Some makers tend to use durable materials, while most of them produce them using components that are suitable for 2-3 years from the year of production.

They don’t want the paste to last longer because they are sold in small packets, tubes, and containers. You can use them 2-3 times on your CPU, and the paste will be over. So, it makes sense to get a tube, use it entirely or how much you want to, then share it with somebody who may need it or just dispose it off.

Because you will not need it for another 2-4 years at the most, however, if you have a firm or company with 10-15 PC machines, then you may want to keep those packages with you because you will be using them on a regular basis.

You can find out the components or materials used through the watts per meter-Kelvin measurements. It is the rate of heat transfer produced by the paste. Using these factors, you can understand the durability of the thermal paste on the tube.

It can last you for 2-3 years at the most. So, decide on the brand that you want to choose from. Think about the temperature of the CPU and on the quantity that you would require for yourself. When you want to use more on several PC devices, then get yourself a larger tube.

You may want to beware of removing the thermal paste before applying the paste again on your CPU. So, please take some time to do that as well. You want to make sure that there is no residue of the paste when you want to apply it.

It can enhance the heat present inside there. When your PC machine does not require or has had any upgrades or repairs, then it is acceptable to have the thermal paste as it is. You just want to apply the correct quantity and forget about it.

The average use of gaming PCs these days is around 5 years. Based on research, the maximum number of years users have the PC before disposing of it is approximately 4-6 years, not more. Make sure your room is properly ventilated, air-conditioned, and accurately maintained.

How long does thermal paste last in storage?

The thermal paste can be used for 3-4 years at the most. Usually, the thermal paste goes bad after 3 years. So, when you have applied the paste on your PC or gaming device, the chances are that it would have dried up in 2 years.

Does thermal paste need to be refrigerated?

No, the thermal paste does not have to be refrigerated. The solder paste should be used only as and when needed. Some gaming PC users tend to use the thermal paste according to their own will, and this is something that must be avoided.

Will thermal paste dry out?

Yes, it does. It is a paste (a thermally conductive chemical compound), and that is how they are designed & produced. However, unlike other ordinary pastes, these dry only after 3 years. That means that they are suitable for 3 years and should be reapplied again.

How often should I change the thermal paste?

The thermal paste is good enough to last you at least 3 years. But then you might want to reapply it again after 3 years. This is when you want to remove the cooler for some reason. Besides, you can apply the thermal paste when you notice the higher CPU temperature.

How do you preserve thermal paste?

The ideal method to preserve thermal paste would be to ensure that the cap is closed correctly. When the cap is left slightly open or not closed correctly, it tends to dry up sooner. You can store the thermal paste from sunlight and other heating devices in a cool area. It can be stored for 8-9 years.


There you go; we have concluded our discussion on the duration or lasting of the thermal paste. We hope that you enjoyed reading this post and benefitted from it. When you browse through other forums, you may notice information that can say otherwise.

You would find different kinds of answers. Nowadays, you can find a wide range of thermal pastes produced with varying dates of expiry. So, please verify the expiry dates when using it. Some pastes can quickly go over more than 11 years, while some last only 5 years.

Please consider all the factors before purchasing one for yourself. You will want to get thermal paste depending on your usage or requirement. The thermal paste tubes should last you for several years as long as you store them properly.

You can use it on your gaming PC machines as and when required. You can decide on how much you want to use on your device. You can make use of your thermal paste on your CPU longer than the expiration when you maintain your PC device properly.

James Smith has always been intrigued by electronic products since his childhood. After his post graduation in electronics from a popular university, he decided to pursue a career in the electronics sector. But his calling for writing about these marvellous pieces of work got the better of him. That is how UBG was started. With a writing career spanning more than 12 years, James has worked on several hundred product reviews. During his free time, he like to spend time with his pet dog and relax in the swimming pool.