Water Block Cleaning Guide

Water blocks may be disassembled for the occasional cleaning. Your warranty will not be voided upon the disassembly of the water block, but you will lose the EK leak-free guarantee, which comes with a factory-tested water block. An old, soft toothbrush is an excellent cleaning tool!

Cleaning Bare Copper

When cleaning bare copper, it is recommended you use slightly acidic cleaning agents, including the following organic solutions:

  • (White) vinegar (up to 5-10% of acetic acid)
  • Lemon juice (up to 5-10% of citric acid)

Certain foods/beverages can also be used for cleaning copper:

  • Coca-Cola (contains phosphorous- and citric acid)
  • Ketchup or tomato extract (contains acetic- and citric acid)
  • Mustard (contains acetic acid)

To kill 99.9% of algae and bacteria that could be present on copper in a poorly maintained cooling loop, using 5% vinegar is enough.

Upon cleaning, it is necessary to flush the water block in water and then rinse it with distilled water. After rinsing, we recommend you wrap the water block in paper towels until it's 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 all oxides.

Cleaning Nickel-Plated Copper

When cleaning nickel-plated copper, the use of any aggressive chemicals (including vinegar) or rough materials is strictly forbidden, as you may damage the plating and thus void the warranty.

Please note: due to the presence of dye additives and other chemicals, the nickel layer may also become discolored/stained over time. However, the staining is usually reversible with a simple flush and rinse.

Clean the nickel-plated copper as follows:

  • Flush the nickel-plated copper under warm water.
  • Clean the surface using a wet non-abrasive cloth and rinse with clean water.
  • If necessary, polish the hardened deposits (such as algae or dirt) from the nickel-plated copper.

EK recommends you use the 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 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.

Cleaning Acrylic (Plexi) Glass Tops

Acrylic will crack if subjected to even the smallest amounts of alcohol, acetone, or other aggressive chemicals. Make sure not to 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 can be cleaned off with a soft cloth in combination with warm, soapy water. Rinse with distilled water after cleaning.

Cleaning POM (Acetal) Tops

POM (polyoxymethylene) or Acetal can withstand chemicals such as alcohol or acetone, but EK recommends you use these very sparingly as drying chemicals tend to leave some residue. Usually, the POM can be cleaned easily - just be sure to use a soft cloth and warm, soapy water - without any chemicals. Rinse with distilled water after cleaning.

Preventive steps:

  • Using corrosion-inhibiting coolants (such as EK-CryoFuel) is highly recommended for any water cooling loop. Since EK-CryoFuel coolant is also a surfactant, it will prevent algae growth and dirt deposition on all wet surfaces.
  • Clean the radiators and flush them with warm water. You may use a vinegar/water solution. Radiators are - due to the nature of manufacturing - usually the source of all dirt particles found in the loop. Always rinse your radiators with distilled water once you're done cleaning.
  • Refrain from using Copper Sulphate-based additives in your loop to prevent tarnishing of water cooling gear internals!
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  • 1
    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
    Carl Binneman

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

    Thank You

  • 1
    EKWB Support (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 Support (Peter)
  • 0
    Joel Pelletier

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

  • -1
    EKWB Support (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
    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?


  • -1
    EKWB Support (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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