How to clean a gun – Quick Step by Step Tutorial in 2021

Proper cleaning of a gun reduces the risk of accidental discharge. If you own a gun, that is going to require cleaning after a couple uses. It’s actually recommended to clean it after every use. That means you must learn to clean it the right way. After learning the cleaning process you will find it very easy. But it’s simplicity doesn’t make it a less of a dangerous tool. Improper actions can lead to serious injuries. So it’s super essential to learn how to clean a gun properly.

There are tons of information out there that are too complicated to follow. Let’s go over a complete step by step guide on how to clean a gun that’s super easy to follow.

Before you even start the cleaning process, you’ll need to have some tools to help you with the process. Let’s take a look at the equipment that you are going to need.

Get The Right Gun Cleaning Equipment:

You need a few tools to clean your gun. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Down below are the basic tools you will need.

  • Gun Cleaning solvent
  • Lubricant, or gun oil
  • A bore brush
  • Microfiber cloths for polishing 
  • A patch holder and patches
  • Narrow Cleaning rod
  • A cleaning brush
  • A small Flashlight
  • Cotton wipes

These items can easily be found on any basic gun cleaning kit. So, it would be very wise to purchase a gun cleaning kit than gathering every item individually.

Now that you have everything you need, let’s take a look at how to clean your gun.

Step by Step tutorial on How to clean a gun properly

After reading this blog you will know how to clean rifle, handgun, and AR-15 and any other gun.

Step 1 – Disassembling the Gun:

The first thing you need to do is disassemble your gun. Start by unloading your gun. Lay down the gun on a table or a stable surface. Then open the action. Disassemble the gun as much as you comfortably can. Be sure to use the owner’s manual as your guide when you are doing it for the first couple of times. You can find the owner’s manual on most websites of manufacturers.

Always remember when disassembling the gun use gun cleaning mat.

Step 2 – Clean the Barrel:

After you are done disassembling, it’s time to clean the barrels. People think that it’s simple as pushing an oily patch down the bore. But a gun that is used sparingly should be cleaned periodically so that a bore light will reveal bright steel inside. You can use a one-piece aluminum rod or a brass cleaning rod to work in the direction that projectiles travel. 

Put some solvent on a patch and soak it. Push the solvent-soaked patch through the bore until you see it exit the other end. Remove the patch. Make sure you don’t pull it back through. Doing that will just redeposit the dirt and grime you clean off. Make sure that you take your time cleaning the barrels.

Step 3 – Clean the Action:

You can use a cleaning solution to thoroughly clean your gun. You’ll find a lot of options on the market. Most of them will come as sprays. Use the spray to clean the action. Many sprays evaporate in 60 seconds or so.

But you do want to use a small paintbrush or something of this kind to clean the nooks and crannies properly. Make sure to get rid of excess cleaning solution on the firearm. If you don’t, it might get the gun rusty which you definitely want to avoid.

Step 4 – Remove Excess Oil:

This step is super important yet most of the people neglect this step. You have to get the gunk off first hand. Then you can re-oil those parts. Use lubricants such as Rem oil for that. Put a little amount of oil in a clean rag and wipe it down the metal parts. Make sure that you don’t put oil directly on the gun. Also, be extra careful when you clean and re-oil a gun with wooden stock as it oil can soften the wood.

Step 5 – Check the Screws:

This is a crucial part of your gun cleaning process. You should examine the scope mounts, sling swivel studs, and grip panels on the handgun. You have to make sure that everything is tight and free of rust. If you see any corrosion or dirt, remove the scope bases or the necessary parts needed to thoroughly clean underneath them.

Step 6 – Remove any Rust and Fix the Worn Areas:

The best thing to do if the corrosion or wear is serious is to take it to a gunsmith. You don’t want to mess with it without the skill and the equipment. But the light rusts can easily be removed by scrubbing #0000 super-fine steel wool and a little oil. For re-blue areas, you can use a product like Brownell’s formula 44/40 instant gun blue or any other gun blue available in the market.

Step 7 – Reassemble and Wipe Down:

Follow the user’s guide and put the gun back together very carefully. After you are done with that, take a clean and dry rag to wipe down the gun to remove any fingerprint residue. Using a little bit of gun oil in the rag can help.

Just put a tiny amount of oil in there and wipe down the metal. Close the action properly and make sure that you drop the firing pin. It is always best to release any tension in the gun before storing it somewhere.

Additional Tips on Maintenance

Maintenance is a crucial part of your firearms. As now you know how to clean a gun, you should also take care of your firearm. A good quality gun is a significant investment whether you use it for hunting or home defense. So, make sure to clean your gun every time it is used. That will increase the longevity of your firearm and help to maintain the premium quality.

If you follow the method shown above, the whole cleaning process should not take more than 15-20 minutes. That means it’s not that much of an effort to do it once in a week or two.

You should store your guns in a cool and dry place. Gun safes will be the best option. It’s the best place to store your gun that will even protect it from many potential accidents.

FAQ: Questions our readers ask us about cleaning a gun.

How to check if a gun is clean?

That is something a lot of people struggle with. First, you should check the records. You’ll find the serial number of the gun in its papers. If you don’t have the documents, check the body of the gun as most of the firearms have their serial number on them. Then you need to check if there’s any record of your gun being wanted or “Hot”, for another word, stolen. If you find any, head out to the police immediately and report.

The wise thing to do would be to buy the gun from trusted sources. All pawn shops and dealers provide licenses and registrations to the gun they are selling. But if you are unsure of your gun, just take it to a trusted gun dealer. They will inspect it happily with a little fee in exchange. But if you have no other option, you can always take it to your nearest police station for verification.

How to remove rust from a gun?

Removing rust is a very important part of how to clean a gun properly. There are a few products out there that can take off the rust immediately if it’s not that dense. Light rusts can be removed using steel wool, WD-40, and even with gun oils. If you choose to use steel wool, just take a clean fabric cloth or napkin and take a tiny amount of steel wool on it.

Then start rubbing the areas of the gun that are affected by rust. That should take the rust right away. If you are using gun oils, follow the same process. It is also a very effective method of removing rust. And for WD-40 sprays, spray it on the rusted spot and leave it for 24 hours. Then respray it. Finally, wipe it out with a napkin. You should have it cleaned perfectly.

Make sure to take it to a gunsmith if the rust is very dense. Otherwise, there is a chance of you damaging the gun in the cleaning process. Give the job to the professional as they have the right tools and skills to get it done properly.

How to clean fingerprints off a gun?

It’s a very tricky task to accomplish. You can try out multiple methods and choose the one you like the best. The first and foremost method would be to use a piece of fabric cloth. Rub it with some pressure on the body of the gun and it will wipe off any fingerprints that there is.

You can add some alcohol to help you do that. Just pout a tiny amount of alcohol on the cloth or a napkin and carefully rub the fingerprints off of the gun. You can also use gun oils or olive oils for that.

You can use products like Windex or other streak-free glass cleaners. Spray it on the gun’s body and use wipes to rub it. Another thing you can try is to use soap and water. Make sure you use wipes on it afterward. That should remove all the fingerprints.

Caution: If you are not sure of the identity of the gun’s owner then don’t touch it. Just leave it be. Call the police and inform them first. That s=would get you out of so many unwanted troubles.

How often should you clean your gun?

You’ll find a lot of different answers to this. But it’s best to clean your gun after every use.

There are a lot of people who say that you don’t need to clean your gun often. But when you use your gun and leave it without cleaning it might cause accidental discharges in the future. Besides that, there is all that grease and oil buildup that corrupts your firearm.

So it’s really preferred to clean it after every use. You really don’t want to keep your gun on the shelves and forget about it. Once every week or two, get them out and clean them. It will take 15-20 minutes at max. It helps to increase the durability of the gun that you own. A gun that has dirt and grime on it also looks very bad on the outside. So, if you can, clean it every week. And if you use it often, clean it after every use.

How to clean a new gun?

The complicated part about a new gun would be to disarm it. If you can disarm and re-assemble the gun properly, cleaning won’t be an issue for you. So, to know how to disarm the gun properly, you have to look at the user’s guide.

If you do not have a user’s guide, then just go to the manufacturer’s website. They should have information on how to disarm your gun and put it back on. After you know that, you can easily clean your gun using a basic gun cleaning kit as you already know how to clean a gun the right way.

Just make sure that you take your time with it. You definitely don’t want to rush the process as it can mess up something. And if something goes wrong while the cleaning process, you can always take it to your local gunsmith.

How to clean Rifle?

If the read the blog from the begging then you already know how to clean a gun. If you didn’t read from the start please do so. Well, cleaning Rifle is no different.

But here’s some awesome tips for you while clean a Rifle.

  • Make sure your Rifle is unloaded when you are cleaning it
  • Use a Gun Cleaning Mat while disassembling everything.
  • Always clean the barrel from the rear.
  • Never use cheap products when cleaning your gun.


Now you know how to clean a gun with the right methods. As you saw, it would take only 15-20 minutes to clean your gun properly. So if you own a gun, it’s a necessary thing to do once in a while. 

Most of the people own a gun for their home safety purposes. They usually don’t get to use it quite often. It would be a great idea to take some time out from a day and clean up the gun to maintain its quality. You don’t want it to get rusty as it’s pretty costly to purchase a gun. And if you use your gun for hunting, the best option for you would be to clean it after every use. I hope you got plenty of information on how to clean a gun properly that you can use.

If you use a gun cleaning mat while cleaning the gun always clean your mat after everything. It will help you with your next cleaning.

Here, we have a blog for you where we discussed “How you can clean your gun cleaning mat”

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