Cleaning Your Gun in 5 Easy Steps

All mechanical devices big or small require regular maintenance to operate effectively. Guns are certainly no exception to this rule. Firearms require a thorough cleaning and lubrication on a regular basis for them to work properly. This does not mean that your gun needs to be disassembled to the last screw and spring to clean it. Instead, there are 5 basic cleaning tips that you can follow to ensure your gun is spotless and ready to go.

Unload and Remove Bolt

Before cleaning any firearm, make sure it is unloaded or doesn’t contain any bullets. If you’re not sure what that means read your owner’s manual to confirm that you know exactly how it functions. Usually, to unload a gun you must open the action, remove the magazines or clips on a handgun and take out the bolt on a rifle. If you’re working with a semi-automatic rifle, shotgun or pistol you must lock open the action. Using a solvent brush, clean, dry and then lightly lube the bolt. Don’t forget to brush the extractor and the ejector also.

Swab the Bore

Once the bolt is clean set it aside. Then starting from the chamber or breech end insert a cleaning rod with attached brush soaked in gun solvent down the barrel and out the muzzle. This action can be done more than one time if the barrel is especially dirty. Make sure to let the firearm sit for 10-15 minutes in between cleanings. This will enable the gun cleaning agent to soak and soften the bullet jacket material, powder, and lead that’s accumulated in the barrel.

Scrub the Bore

When the solvent soak is complete, run the brush down the barrel several more times to loosen and remove any build-up. After approximately 10 runs of the brush, insert a patch of cloth down the bore to force any excess carbon directly out the muzzle. Remember not to pull the patch back out. Take it off the rod, put a clean one on and then pull the rod through the chamber end. Reinsert the brush and continue scrubbing. It is recommended to run the brush about 25 times through the bore to ensure it is properly cleaned.

Clean the Bore with Patches

The next step is to run a few patches that have been soaked in your cleaning product down the barrel and out the muzzle end. Replace the patch after every cleaning. Repeat this washing process several times until the patch is relatively clean. Remember, the patches may never come out pristine white. But if they come out black, green or blue keep cleaning. If by the tenth time your cleaning patches are still coming out discolored consider resoaking the barrel and brushing it again.

Apply Lubricant

There is an overriding belief that the more oil you apply to your gun the better it operates. However, that is not the truth. After thoroughly swabbing and scrubbing the gun’s barrel as well as the bolt, your firearm just needs a light coat of oil. Using a soft clean cloth with oil, wipe down all the metal surfaces of your firearm, even the wood stock would benefit from this treatment.


Now that you’ve thoroughly cleaned your gun, the final step is to ensure that it is properly stored. Don’t put your firearm in any kind of sealed case whether it is plastic or fabric, for the long term without adding a packet of moisture desiccant into the case as well. Alternate ways of storage include simply propping up the gun in a locked or secured cabinet. Always keep your ammunition separate from your guns.

Remember, in order for your firearm to operate properly it must be taken care of and that includes regular scrubbing. The following was a brief and easy step-by-step approach but there are many more detailed steps you can add to ensure your gun is clean. Consult your user manual to learn more about firearm maintenance.             


Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream is a light-weight and odorless hand cream perfect for anybody who regularly uses, and cleans their firearms. A simple application of our moisturizing, light, and non-greasy formula means your hands will be protected while working with your firearm.

Advice Cleaning Mechanical Devices

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