How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?

by | Oct 3, 2018

Firearms really require maintenance and cleaning but the frequency of its cleanliness is really vague, to say the least. Here, we will try to answer the question “How often should you clean your gun?” Some people say that a gun must be cleaned regularly. While others find that they should be cleaned every few months.

This basically depends on different factors. The type of the gun, the use of the guns and the ammunition’s material are some of it. It also depends on the condition of your gun. If you have a gun that you don’t use quite a lot then, it’s safe to say that it doesn’t need much care. But, if you’re an avid shooter, the cleanliness frequency is an entirely different matter altogether.

If you are shooting ammunition which is corrosive in nature or if your firearm is constantly exposed to water, moisture or other elements that could potentially damage it then you must clean your gun frequently. Some things that need frequent cleansing include salt, water, dust, rust, dirt, and corrosive ammunition. All these things can cause failure of the gun’s trigger mechanism.

Is Regular Gun Cleaning Really Needed?

Regular gun clean might be necessary because guns get dirty. That’s about it really. Simply put, you are cleaning all the dirty residue off your gun when you are cleaning it. The dirt is of many kinds, but mainly it’s carbon. Carbon can build up each and everytime you fire your gun. The propellant leaves carbon residues when it burns. Other types of residues are small bits of metal left by bullets. However, the main culprit is always carbon.

how often should you clean your gun

Another reason to clean your gun is to remove rust. Using a gun outside exposes it to moisture. Some places are moist such as swamp or rainforests. Even without the rain, the humidity in the air is still present that can rust your gun. As we are taught in high school science, when metal is exposed to moisture it oxidizes. This results in the formation of rust. So, to avoid rust, regular cleanliness is important.


What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Guns?

The carbon buildup would be so much that your gun won’t cycle properly. Bullet trajectory could be ruined too. There are also other many defects that can arise from an uncleaned gun. Apart from carbon build up another thing that’ll ruin your gun is the rust. Rust can severely damage the metal. Even the barrel can be affected.

Another thing that happens to your gun is the harm done by bullets. Bullets are made up of a lead core with a copper jacket as an envelope. Even a lead-free ammunition contains copper. Fouling can occur. Carbon can foul your chamber and barrel. Copper can accumulate in the gun’s barrel too. Lead fouling is also evident. Plastic from the shotshells also ruins your gun.

Gun Rust

Therefore, regular cleanliness of a gun is very much important. If you don’t clean them properly, they’ll definitely clean your wallet up. It’s very hard to repair a gun which is almost dead. So, be careful. A little bit of hard work to clean a gun can save you a lot of money in the future.

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How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?

There is no direct answer to this question. There are many factors that come into play. So, depending on these factors, you might want to undertake your gun cleaning routine.

These factors are explained below in detail.


Usage Level

This is the one great factor that you must consider. How much do you use your gun? If you’re someone who uses a gun frequently, you might want to periodically clean it. This will improve your gun’s performance and life. But if you just use a gun once in a blue moon then, you don’t need that frequency. Although it is advisable to clean it twice a month even if you don’t use it. Just disassemble it and clean the individual parts thoroughly. You should also learn to clean your gun yourself. That way, you learn to disassemble and reassemble it.


Usage Type

What do you use your gun for? Some people use it for target practice, some for hunting while some use it for personal defence. Depending on what you use your gun for, the cleaning routine changes.

If you’re just using a gun for target practice, shooting clays and plinking then, you don’t need to worry. You can leave them for 3-4 months before a thorough cleaning. Although, you still need to keep them clean from the outside.

For a gun that’s been constantly used for defence, hunting and shooting range, you need to lubricate it properly as they’re prone to fouling, dust and other impurities that you don’t want in a gun.

Finally, if you own a rifle for self-defence, you should keep it cleaned and oiled frequently. Even daily, in some cases. You want to make sure that the rifle works when you want it to. So, take proper care of it.


Gun Type

Another thing that is equally important to consider is the type of gun you’re using. Bolt action guns can be stored and cleansed after 3-4 months and it’ll still work great. Revolvers are prone to carbon buildup in their cylinders so they need to be cleaned in accordance with their usage frequency. Semi-Automatic rifles should be cleaned almost daily as it is very much prone to dust and dirt build up.



If you use ammunition which is exposed to moisture, dust, water, salt etc. Then, it is obvious that your gun will require proper cleaning all the time. Rifles are easily affected by rust, corrosion, wear and tear. This is why they should be cleaned regularly. Even if your gun manufacturer claims that your gun is made up of “stainless steel”, it is still susceptible to rust. Most ammunition manufacturers also play the same lie game to trap customers. So, make sure you buy ammunition from manufacturers who are legitimate.

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What You Must Have To Clean Your Gun Regularly?

There are a lot of ways to clean a gun. It can be cleaned with household items. You can use gun cleaning kits and you can always give your gun to a professional cleaner for cleaning it. It depends on what your choice is. Here, we’ll see the pros and cons of each type of gun cleaning methods and then discuss some equipment and kits that you should look into.


Cleaning With Household Items

All the items you need to clean a gun from the house are a piece of cloth, a toothpick/rod and a small amount of lubricant. That’s about it. It’s a really great method if you’re in a budget and want to clean a gun properly.


Cleaning With Gun Kits

Gun Cleaning kits are available on a wide scale of prices. So, depending on that, it can be quite a bargain or quite expensive. Still, you get to clean your gun yourself. But, it might be problematic for people who don’t have much time.


Professional Cleaners

There are people who make a living out of cleaning guns. If your gun needs constant cleaning and you don’t have much time to give it then, you might want to consider taking your gun to a professional cleaner.

Now let us see some gun cleaning equipment kits that can be used to clean a gun. There are many of these items but we’re only going to look at some of the crucial ones.


Cleaning Rod

The cleaning rod is important to clean the barrel of your gun but it can also damage the barrel. So, a cleaning rod must be made up of a material softer than the material of the barrel. For household cleaning, you can use a toothpick or a thin nail as a cleaning rod. Brass cleaning rods are readily available on the market to clean handguns. So, the choice is yours, you can either use a household rod or spend some money and get a great cleaning rod.


Jags & Loops

They are the little attachments that are placed at the end of the cleaning rod, thy hold the cleaning patch as you use the rod to clean the gun. They’re not needed that much but they do come with a cleaning rod.



Patches are important. They’re the piece of cloth that does the actual cleaning. You can buy inexpensive cotton patches that are available readily. Or, you can also use a piece of cloth as an alternate.


Cleaning Brush

A cleaning brush can be used to clean the outside of the gun. It’ll make the gun look aesthetically pleasing on the outside and get rid of all the dirt and dust from it.

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Finally, it is very crucial that you clean your gun and now you know how often should you clean your gun. Depending on the gun type, usage level, usage type and ammunition, the frequency of cleaning the gun can vary. Gun cleaning can be done at your home by yourself with a gun cleaning kit or household items. You can also clean your gun at a gun refurbishing place by an experienced gun cleaning professional. All in all, guns are important and it is crucial that you take good care of them.

  Last update on 2022-09-26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

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