How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?

Cleaning gun

If you own a gun, you need to clean it regularly. While you might not think this is something you have to do, it can improve how well your gun functions.

After firing a gun a lot, powder and grime can build up inside the barrel and action, making your gun unreliable.

How often should you clean your gun?

You should clean your gun after every time you use it. You can’t do any damage to your gun by cleaning it often. 

It’s important to clean your gun regularly, especially if you use it a lot. With that in mind, let’s look at how you should clean your gun. 

What Are The Dangers Linked To Not Cleaning Your Gun? 

damaged barrel

It’s bad enough to deal with an unreliable and inaccurate gun, both of which can be caused by a lack of cleaning your gun.

But there are other risks involved with not cleaning your gun on a regular basis. Here are the ones to bear in mind the next time you don’t feel like cleaning your gun.

  • Your gun could fail you when you really need it. Whenever you fire your gun, particles from the bullet and gunpowder get stuck in the gun barrel. This accumulation increases when you apply lubricant to the gun, resulting in the gun sticking. This means that when you really need your gun, it could fail you. In some cases, such as when using your gun for security measures, this could result in potentially life-endangering situations.
  • A live round could explode. While failing to fire is obviously a nightmare situation you wish will never happen to your gun, it’s linked to an even more dangerous occurrence: if the residue in the gun has accumulated for a while, a round of ammo could fail to shoot and this live round could end up exploding inside the gun.

By cleaning your gun regularly, this decreases the chance of it happening.

How To Clean Your Gun

steps for gun cleaning

Ready to give your gun a good cleaning session? Here are the steps to follow.

  1. Make sure you set up a well-ventilated and bright area so that you can see what you’re doing and you won’t breathe in any harmful chemicals.  
  2. Check the gun’s user manual. Here you’ll find information about how to clean your specific type of gun and model, so it comes in handy to consult it. 
  3. Get the right materials. While cleaning your gun might vary depending on the type of gun you’re dealing with, you’ll need to have the right tools. These are:

    – Cleaning rod
    – Bore brush
    – Dry brush
    – Double-ended utility brushes
    – Cotton swabs
    – Cleaning patches (lint and fiber-free)
    – Disposable drip pan
    – Action cleaner
    – Lubricant
    – Clean cloth
    – Gun cloth
    – Needle applicator
    – Safety eye glasses
    – Solvent-resistant gloves
  1. Once you’ve got the materials you need, you will need to remove the magazine. Make sure that the gun is unloaded! 
  2. Disassemble the gun. How much you can take the gun apart will depend on the type of gun and what it says in the gun’s user manual. For example, semi-automatic pistols will be stripped into their major components (magazine, guide rod, frame, barrel, and slide), while revolvers and shotguns won’t need to be stripped in order to be cleaned. 
  3. Next, use a dry brush to clean the chamber and barrel. This works to remove debris. 
  4. Take a cleaning patch and dip it in bore solvent on the tip of a cleaning rod. Push the patch through the gun’s barrel all the way through the other side to saturate the bore and chamber. 
  5. Don’t pull it back as that will move debris back inside the bore. 
  6. Let the cleaning solvent work for about 10 minutes. 
  7. Gently scrub the barrel with a bore brush. 
  8. Take a new patch to remove excess debris and other residue. You want to move it through the bore until you can see that the patch is clean.
  9. Drip some lubricant on the pull-through tool to give your bore surface a deeper clean. This is a good tip to prevent corrosion.
  10. If you’re putting your gun into long-term storage, you can put thicker lubricant on it, but this will have to be cleaned properly from the barrel before the next time you shoot your firearm.
  11. Clean the outside of the barrel, the barrel lug, the feed ramp, and barrel hood. 
  12. The action of the gun should also be cleaned with a utility brush, action cleaner solvent, and clean cloth. You should spray the solvent so that the debris can drip down onto the drip pan, then let the cleaned parts dry properly.  
  13. With a needle applicator, apply a bit of lubricant to the specified lubrication points on the slide assembly, exterior of the barrel, and frame/action. Don’t put too much (consult the user manual of your firearm for the correct quantity) as this will have the effect of attracting contaminants. 
  14. Clean the magazine. You should disassemble and clean your gun’s magazine according to the user manual’s instructions. To clean the magazine, you’ll have to use a special purpose brush and your safety eye goggles. Never clean magazines with the use of petroleum products as these contaminate ammunition primers. Don’t clean magazines with lubricants – you need to use a residue-free solvent or cleaning agent.
  15. A good general tip to bear in mind when cleaning your gun is to get into those hard-to-reach areas to clean away grease and debris. You can easily do this with the use of a cotton swab. Some of the important places to clean include the recesses of the action, inside the trigger guard, the moving parts around the gun’s ejectors, and the areas that are found next to the rib.
  16. Finish off by wiping down the gun’s exterior. You can use a gun cloth for this because these cloths contain silicone lubricant to remove dirt. 

Extra Tips For Cleaning Your Gun 

  • You can use a cookie tin or similar item to keep your gun’s loose parts safe during the cleaning process. Two containers are even better: one can be used to hold the dirty parts and the other one can be used to store clean parts so you don’t mix them up.
  • Make sure you have a flashlight handy. This will help you when you need to find any small parts, such as springs that can get lost easily.  
  • If the gun’s barrel is attached to the receiver, you will have to clean the bore from the end where there’s the muzzle. To do this, use a bore guide that will protect the muzzle instead of a rigid cleaning rod.
  • Make sure the cleaning rod is the correct size. If it’s too large, it will get stuck inside the bore. If it’s too small, it will move too much in the bore and not clean it properly. 
  • Choose between a steel or nylon bore brush. Steel brushes are abrasive and should only be used if the dirt you have to remove is quite stubborn. Generally, nylon brushes are better because they’re gentler. They’re best for regular cleaning when you don’t have a lot of build-up to remove.

How To Store Your Gun

cleaned and stored guns

How you store your gun is important as this will keep it in good condition. 

  • Make sure you keep your guns in a cool and dry spot, and always store them unloaded. You should store firearms in areas of the home that are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and have relative humidity of 50 percent
  • To prevent moisture from causing your guns to rust, you should store silica gel bead packets with your guns to reduce how much moisture lingers around the firearms. 
  • A trigger lock is essential, especially if you have kids, as this will ensure your gun is safe and can’t be tampered with when it’s in storage. You can also keep your gun in a hard or soft case. For the ultimate safety, keep your gun in a locked gun cabinet.

Related Questions

Can you buy a gun cleaning kit?

These kits are convenient to purchase and they have everything you need, such as a bore brush, cleaning rod, cotton swabs, microfiber cloths, flashlight, nylon cleaning brush, patch holder, patches, lubricant, and cleaning solvent.

Where can you buy gun cleaning kits?

These are available online, such as on sites like Amazon. You can find out more about gun cleaning kits by reading, “Best Gun Cleaning Kit – Keep Your Gun Ready For Action.” 


If you didn’t know it before, now you know that it’s really important to clean your gun on a regular basis.

In this article, we’ve outlined some dangers you can avoid by cleaning your gun as well as how to go about