How to Clean a Gun

One thing that a gun owner should know is that regular inspection and cleaning will keep your gun safe and effective. Each time you pull the trigger, there will be a small explosion in the chamber. Residual, dirt and moisture accumulated in the barrel for a long time will cause a serious accident when your fire the gun. Therefore, routinely cleaning your gun is extremely essential, this is especially true with cleaning the gun after every use. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to clean a gun safely and effectively.

Proper cleaning tools preparation

The first thing you need is a cleaning kit. You can buy one complete set at the store or gather your tools one by one. Make sure you have all basic tools such as a lubricant, cleaning solvents, bore brushes, patch holders, cotton patches, cleaning rod, gun brushes, and luster clothes.

It is a fact that using a cleaning rod can damage the barrel of the gun. In details, when running a cleaning rod through a barrel, it may rub against the barrel and affect the accuracy of the gun when firing. Therefore, you should choose a cleaning rod made of soft material.

Proper cleaning tools preparation

Image source: Guns & Ammo

Additionally, cotton patches used to clean the barrel can be found in any store in large amount. These patches are dipped in solvent to wipe the bore, and each should only be used once at a time.

A gun brush is designed to be able to sneak into every nook of the gun such as the groove and the trigger. For that reason, instead of just using a regular toothbrush, buy a special one for gun cleaning purpose.

Unload your gun

When everything is ready, the next step is to unload the gun. This is an important step on how to clean a gun when it is not unloaded and likely exploded?

Remember to empty the gun properly and inspect it carefully before cleaning. Even after removing the magazine, the inside of the gun may still have a round that is ready to explode once you start cleaning.

Hence, make sure that the round is removed from the gun from the beginning to avoid unfortunate accidents. Open the magazine and look through the barrel from rear to front to see if there is any round left inside the chamber or barrel.

Next, read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to unload the gun so you can remove dirt from all parts. You should not unload the gun often and only do it when necessary. In general, semi-automatic pistols or rifles have same main components that need to be removed to clean. These parts include barrel, slide, magazine, frame, guide rod, and slide. In contrast, a pistol with the revolving chamber or a shotgun does not need to be removed when you’re cleaning.

Also, you should clean your gun in a well ventilated and dry place. Cleaning solvents and lubricants have a very unpleasant odor that can harm your health. Thus, the best place where you can clean the gun is in a wide open garage with wooden surface or newspaper to place the gun.

How to Clean a Gun

This is the main step that answers the question: “How to clean a gun?”

The first part of the gun that needs cleaning is the barrel. Soak the bore in water and clean it with a cleaning rod, patch holder, and cotton patches. Wipe the bore from back to front to prevent the rod from rubbing against the barrel.

The next step is to lubricate the barrel

Image source: Gun Carrier

After each wipe, replace the brush and cotton pads with new ones. Remove the patch holder and wipe the brush along the length of the bore several times. Then reattach the patch holder and run some cotton patches dipped in solvent through the bore until it is clean. After removing all dirt, run another dry patch through the bore to dry it.

The next step is to lubricate the barrel. Drop a small amount of gun oil or lubricant into the cotton patch attached on a cleaning rod and run it through the bore.

The first part of the gun that needs cleaning is the barrel

Image source: Gun Safety Professionals

You should note that only a few drops of lubricant, as well as solvent, should be used. Many people think that the more solvent they use, the cleaner the gun, or the more lubricants, the shiner the gun. In contrast, that would cause problems for the gun. Furthermore, too much lubricant or solvent will affect the trigger mechanism.

Last but not least, all parts that handle ammunition also need to be cleaned by solvent and coated with a thin layer of lubrication. Use a gun brush to clean them and wipe them with a clean cloth.

Finally, don’t’ forget to use an old shirt or luster cloth to wipe the rest of the gun.


In summary, the above is a comprehensive guide on how to clean a gun. Follow these steps to have a gun cleaned properly and thoroughly. However, frequent cleaning will not be effective unless it comes with maintenance. When not in use, store your gun in a dry and cool place with unload condition.