I normally clean my GPU and motherboard with 91 percent isopropyl alcohol but it leaves an oily looking film even though the bottle says the inactive ingredient is water. I found some MG Chemicals 99 percent anhydrous isopropyl alcohol on amazon but I’m wondering if its safe to use and if it will leave the same film.

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    I think you are sweating the irrelevant. I have even cleaned parts of my pc with gin in a pinch. – Señor CMasMas Mar 15 at 15:39
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    99% will behave pretty much like 91%. If it's leaving a film, the film is the material you're trying to remove, not the alcohol. 99% might even leave more of a film because it will dissolve more and evaporate faster. – fixer1234 Mar 15 at 15:47
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    Massive amount of overthinking here. I clean my MacBook’s screen with distill water on a clean microfiber cloth. After drying it’s pristine and fine and—in fact—the vast majority of computer component cleaning solutions are distilled water. So in the case of 91% isopropyl alcohol the remaining 9% is water of some kind—most likely distilled—and the “film” you see is just residue from the machine itself that won’t cause any problems. In many cases when you clean interior components like that you are simply shifting the “dirt” and dust from one place to another. – JakeGould Mar 15 at 15:56
  • I should add that I can get the film off if I clean the same spot with qtip and alcohol over and over again. I believe it has something to do with the way the alcohol dries. Sometimes when I clean it, it leaves a film, sometimes it doesn't. I read somewhere that perhaps anhydrous doesn't leave the film. Anyway I guess the 99 percent still has 1 percent distilled water the same as 91 percent. I always thought water caused rust and was conductive. – SpaceCowboy Mar 15 at 17:57
  • @SpaceCowboy Your excessively obsessive cleaning like this will put your system at more risk of failure than no cleaning it at all. I would recommend only cleaning out—or replacing fans—on internal components and not engage in the kind of cleaning you are describing. You are actually creating more problems than it will solve because within a day or two of use, the dust will build up again. – JakeGould Mar 17 at 2:29

In my personal experience, I've found 99% more effective for cleaning CPU thermal paste, especially when complemented with a surface purifier. Arguably if I'd used 91% i'd have experienced the same CPU performance without any additional heat but I'm not going to shell out on some 91% when I have some 99%. Also, make sure you use a lint-free cloth when removing thermal paste.

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