How to clean a Gun? Beginner’s Guide

How to clean a Gun

Like any other machinery, Guns require regular maintenance and cleaning to avoid malfunctioning. Maintaining a gun is very similar to cars; you have to open the trunk, clean the dirty parts and look for any signs of wear and tear. The best way to properly maintain your gun is to consider cleaning and lubrication as a part of range-day activities. However, some people are hesitant to clean their guns at home as they consider it a complex and dangerous procedure. Therefore, in this article, I will explain how to clean a gun at home without worrying about injuries.

Why do you need to clean a gun?

Gun ammunition is discharged with the help of gunpowder ignition. The burnt gunpowder leaves residue in the muzzle and other gun parts. This residue accumulates over time, thus blocking various components of the gun. Moreover, lead is a toxic element that slowly erodes the gun’s interior. As a result, the muzzle gets clogged, thus increasing the chances of malfunctioning and missed shots. Therefore, it is best to regularly clean and lubricate the gun whenever it is possible. Moreover, regular cleaning of the gun increases its lifespan and saves you from expensive parts replacement in the long run.

Things you need

Gun cleaning greatly depends on the right set of tools and equipment. You can purchase pre-assembled cleaning kits or manually collect the required material from the market. In any case, having a complete kit greatly eases the procedure and allows you to clean the various components of the gun efficiently. Here is a list of all the important tools you need for cleaning the gun.

  • Cleaning rod
  • Cotton swabs
  • A nylon cleaning brush
  • Cleaning solvent
  • Microfiber cloths for polishing
  • A patch holder and patches
  • Lubricant, or gun oil
  • A bore brush
  • Screwdriver (for some guns)
  • Flashlight


  • Unload the gun: According to a study, more than 85% of gun accidents occur during cleaning. So, it is best to remove the gun’s magazine as a first step to cleaning the gun. However, some ammunition may still be present in the muzzle, leading to mishaps. Therefore, it is recommended to load and fire the gun without a magazine at least 3-times before starting the procedure.
  • Prepare the cleaning area: Most gun enthusiasts have a dedicated area for cleaning their guns. The area should be well-lit and well-ventilated all the time. Moreover, make sure that no live ammunition is present on the table as lead contamination can easily damage live ammunition and may even set it off.
  • Read the user manual: You can find important information about your gun in the manufacturer’s manual. They provide information about the extent of safe disassembly, the recommended chemicals, and the safety precautions about cleaning your gun.


The disassembly process depends upon the type and manufacturer of the gun. For instance, semi-automatic pistols and rifles can be stripped into their major components like slide, guide rod, barrel, magazine, and frame. Similarly, shotguns and revolvers don’t require thorough stripping for cleaning. Lastly, bolt actions don’t require disassembly at all for cleaning. Moreover, it is best to avoid stripping the gun more than required as the assembly can be a complex process on its own. The best way to disassemble any gun is to consult the user manual or watch online YouTube videos.

How to Clean a Gun? Let’s Start Cleaning

Once you have disassembled your gun, it is time to start wiping and cleaning it thoroughly. Here are a few basic steps for easy gun cleaning:

Clean the barrel: Soak the bore with the cleaning solvent. Gently insert the bore from the front of the barrel and keep pushing till it reaches the other end. Repeat the procedure a few times till you are sure that all the debris is pushed out of the barrel.

  • Insert the soaked patch in the barrel and push it with the bore till it comes out of the other end.
  • Alternatively,  you can scrub the gun’s barrel a few times till the patch comes out clean from the other end.
  • Allow the solvent to sit for at least 10-minutes loosen any hardened residue before proceeding to the final step.
  • For best results, insert a dry patch in the barrel to remove any remaining residue and moisture from the inside.

Clean the action and bolt: The action of your gun is the most important component. However, it is also the place where most residue collects over time. Soak the gun brush with cleaning solvent and carefully scrub all the visible parts with it. You can also clean the spring and other moveable components with the same brush.

Clean the magazine chamber: Insert a wet patch inside the magazine chamber from under the gun. Use your gun bore to push the patch all the way inside the chamber. Next, use a thin rod to push the patch further till it comes out of the chamber. Let it sit for at least 10-minutes before cleaning it with a dry patch.

The exterior: Again, soak the gun brush and scrub all the visible parts on the gun’s exterior. Some guns have a copper or brass exterior that can’t be cleaned with an ordinary cleaning solvent. In that case, you need to use a separate copper cleaner on the gun’s exterior. Finally, wipe the gun with your microfiber cloth and polish it till it becomes new and shiny.


The lubrication of your gun is of utmost importance. A perfectly lubricated gun is easy to fire, reload, and increase gun’s accuracy. Moreover, it also softens the trigger and bolt and increases the gun’s lifespan. However, over-lubrication may lead to negligent discharges and cause accidental injuries.

  • The barrel and the chamber: Soak a cotton patch in gun oil and insert it from the front end of the barrel. Push the patch with the help of a bore or gun rod till it comes out from the other end. Repeat the process twice to ensure no dry parts remain inside the barrel.
  • The action: The action and bolt of your gun have the most moveable parts. Therefore, it is important to lubricate all those components to ensure proper functioning all the time. Sock the gun brush in oil and apply it to all the moving parts. Don’t worry if you spill the oil on some extra components, except for the filament. You can always wipe off the extra oil using a microfiber cloth.
  • Trigger: The gun’s trigger is a simple yet neglected component during lubrication. A well-lubricated trigger is easy to pull and thus will increase your aim accuracy. You can easily clean the trigger using an oil-soaked gun brush.


  • Let the cleaning solvent sit for at least 10-minutes before cleaning with a dry patch. This loosens all the accumulated residue in the gun and makes it easy to remove.
  • Don’t apply too much force when scrubbing to avoid breaking the parts.
  • Never disassemble the gun more than necessary as reassembly can be a complex job.
  • Look for broken components and replace them instantly to avoid any mishaps. Moreover, neglecting the torn parts only add to the total maintenance cost in the long run.
  • Allow the lubrication to sit for 20-minutes before assembling the gun.
  • It is best to clean the gun after every shooting range day to ensure optimum operations.
  • Always turn on the gun safety before storing the gun.
  • Never eat or drink when cleaning the gun. The lead particles are highly poisonous and may damage your health by ingesting them in your body.
  • Use gloves, mask, and goggles when cleaning the gun to protect your body.
  • Never leave the disassembled gun unattended if you have children in the house.


Gun cleaning is a simple job if you follow the proper guidelines. You can save quite a lot of money if you clean your gun at home. However, you need some special equipment and precautions for the job. Therefore, this article provides a step-by-step guide on how to clean a gun along with all the required equipment.


Is WD-40 suitable for cleaning a gun?

No, WD-40 is a primary solvent that pushes the tiny debris further down in the gun. However, you can use No. 9 Hoppes Gun Cleaner or a bottle of hydrogen peroxide to clean your guns efficiently.

What is the best gun lubrication oil?

It is best to avoid using ordinary lubrication oils in the gun. Most of the oils catch dust that may clog various components of your gun. In this regard, M-Pro7 is the best gun oil that you can purchase from your local gun store. It softens the gun’s bolt and action and makes it easier to shoot without catching any dust.

How often to clean the gun?

Gunpowder residue and carbon particles accumulate inside the gun every time you shoot. Therefore, it is best to clean and lubricate the gun after every shooting range day. Otherwise, cleaning and unused gun once every month is enough to keep it optimized.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top