How to clean water blocks?

Water blocks may be disassembled for cleaning purposed on a occasional basis. Your warranty is not voided on dis-assembly of the water block but the customer loses the EK leak-free guarantee which comes with a factory tested water block. And old, but soft toothbrush is an excellent cleaning tool!

  1. Cleaning bare copper: When cleaning bare copper is it recommended to use slightly acidic cleaning agents which include the following organic agents:
    - (white) vinegar (acetic acid up to 5-10%)
    - lemon juice (citric acid up to 5-10%)

    Certain food can also be used for cleaning copper:
    - cola (contains phosphorous- and citric acid)
    - ketchup or tomato extract (contains acetic- and citric acid)
    - mustard (contains acetic acid)

    5% vinegar is enough to kill 99.9% of algae and bacteria that could be present on copper in not maintained cooling loop as well.

    Upon cleaning is it necessary to flush the water blocks in water and rinse them with distilled water. After rinsing we recommend soaking the water blocks in paper towels until completely dry. It is nearly impossible to avoid the naturally occurring copper tarnishing (oxidation) as the oxidation will reoccur the moment the copper is cleaned of the all oxides.
  2. Cleaning nickel plated copper: When cleaning nickel plated copper it is forbidden to use any aggressive chemicals (neither vinegar) or rough materials as you may damage the plating and thus void the warranty. Please note also that due to presence of dye additives and other chemicals the nickel layer may also become discolored/stained over time period. However the staining is normally reversible by simple flush and rinse. Cleaning the nickel plated copper should consists of these steps:
    - flush the nickel plated copper under warm water
    - clean the surface using wet non-abrasive cloth and rinse with clean water
    - polish the hardened deposits (such as algae or dirt) from the nickel plated copper if necessary.

    EK recommends the use of automotive soft, non-abrasive metal polish cremes. After you finish using other cleaning methods, give the nickel plating a good polish with a non-abrasive metal or chrome polish. Apply a small amount of polish to a cloth or to the surface of the nickel. Wipe the entire surface of the nickel with the polish, using small circular motions, until it looks shiny and clean. Use another clean cloth to remove the remains of the polishing paste from the surface. Always rinse with distilled water after you are done with polishing.
  3. Cleaning acrylic (plexi) glass tops: Acrylic will fail prematurely if subjected to even small amounts of alcohol, acetone or other aggressive chemicals. Please do not use anything but warm, soapy water and a toothbrush to clean the acrylic (plexi) glass water block tops and reservoir tubes. Using aggressive chemicals will surely void your warranty!

    Algae- or dirt deposits may be rubbed out using soft cloth in combination with warm, soapy water. Rinse with distilled water after cleaning.
  4. Cleaning POM (acetal) tops: POM (polyoxymethylene) or Acetal can withstand chemicals such as alcohol or acetone but EK recommend to use these very sparingly as the drying chemicals will surely leave some residue. Usually the POM can be cleaned easily just be the use of soft cloth and warm, soapy water - without the use of any chemicals. Rinse with distilled water after cleaning.

Preventive steps:

  1. Using corrosion inhibiting coolant (such as EK-Ekoolant or other market proven coolant) is highly recommended for any water cooling loops. Since EK-Ekoolant is also a surfactant is will prevent algae growth and dirt deposition on all wettered surface.
  2. Clean the radiators and flush them with warm water prior to use. You may use vinegar/water solution. Radiators are - due to the nature of manufacturing - usually the source of all dirt particles found on the loop. Always rinse the radiators with distilled water after you have done cleaning.
  3. Refrain from using Copper Sulphate based additives in your loop in order to prevent tarnishing on your water cooling gear internals!
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7 Comments

  • 2
    Avatar
    Zachary Wickliffe

    I have a question - do you recommend cleaning a brand new block? You said it loses the leak-proof guarantee if you open it up so would you recommend leaving it assembled and cleaning with a vinegar solution (it's a bare copper block) as you mentioned above? 

  • 1
    Avatar
    Carl Binneman

    How often is "on a occasional basis" ?
    Once a year? Twice? 


    Thank You

  • 1
    Avatar
    EKWB Shipping (Peter)

    Dear Zachary & Carl,
    Thank you for your comments.

    No, you don't require to clean new waterblocks because they have been QC tested before any of our customers even receive them.

    Cleaning of your waterblock is generally recommended once per year, depending on the amount of dirt in your waterblock.

    If you have any other questions, please contact our Technical Support Team on support@ekwb.com

    Edited by EKWB Shipping (Peter)
  • 0
    Avatar
    Joel Pelletier

    How about for aluminum?  Nothing in the article mentions it and want to make sure I use the right process.

  • 0
    Avatar
    EKWB Shipping (Peter)

    Dear Joel,
    Thank you for your comment.

    Please look into your ticket #140629 where my colleague Igor has already replied to your question.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

  • 0
    Avatar
    Ramez Rizek

    I was wondering if it is critical to rinse the parts with distilled water or is it ok to let it dry after flushing with drinkable water?
    And does regular battery water work as distilled?

    Thanks

  • 0
    Avatar
    EKWB Shipping (Peter)

    Dear Ramez,
    Thank you for your comment.

    My colleague Igor has already replied to your question, please check your e-mail inbox.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.

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