Need to clean your gun but you don’t have a cleaning kit? On a tight budget and needing to save a few bucks? That’s not a problem. Gun cleaning is nothing complicated and you can accomplish this with common household items.
- Transmission Oil
- Mineral Spirits
Cleaning your gun will keep the carbon and other debris away from building up. So, the next time you shoot, you will be at the top of your game!
We’ve got a step-by-step process to make gun cleaning easy for you.
Let’s get started…
Why Is Gun Cleaning Important?
Have you ever seen a 40-year-old gun or even older? It’s not the material of the gun that increases longevity, it’s how you maintain it. The more often you keep your gun clean, the longer it will survive. Guns can accumulate lots of dirt, carbons and even rust over time if not properly maintained.
Gunloading has a guide on how to remove rust from a gun. You can check that out.
Knowing how the gun works
Even though you’re not a gunsmith that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how your gun works! The best way to know it is to disassemble the gun and clean it regularly. You will have a practical demonstration of how the different parts connect together. This will give you more confidence and keep you sane during emergency situations.
Safety & reliability
A rusty and dirty gun is as dangerous as a loaded gun in your enemy’s hand. Not joking!! As you will be using the gun for self-defense, it needs to be at its best all the time. A few milliseconds delay can be detrimental. A clean gun will be more reliable and will make you feel safe. Make a routine for cleaning after every few range outings.
If you need a primer or refresher on the basics of cleaning your firearm this is a great video.
If you think that leaving your gun without cleaning it will save you a few dollars, think again. Although guns are perceived as aggressive devices, they’re quite sensitive to environmental factors. Keeping your gun clean and in good shape will save you more money down the line, both in terms of maintenance, or in extreme cases, having to buy a new gun.
Required Household Items
For cleaning a gun, you basically need 3 liquids and a few more items that are available in most households with a car, motorcycle or bike.
Let’s know them a bit more:
Transmission oil is a common lubricant used to clean gearboxes. As gearboxes accumulate carbons and other wastes like guns, transmission oil will be suitable. This oil has the thickest consistency out of the 3 items we need. If you don’t have one at home, just get any brand so long it’s cheap!
Next comes kerosene. You definitely must have a bottle or two lying in the garage. The purest forms of kerosene works best for this purpose. But any type of kerosene will do the job.
Lastly, you need mineral spirit to dissolve the oils. It’s very cheap and you can find them at local hardware stores.
You can use any soft cloth but it’s better to use a microfiber cloth or cloths that professional mechanics use all the time. You need to have a big cloth and some cut out versions into the form of square or round shape.
A metal rod that can fit through your gun’s barrel will be sufficient. You will use it to clean the inside of the barrel with the small square cloth.
Cotton tips are needed to clean narrow surfaces of the gun like the rails inside the chamber.
Preparing the Gun Cleaning Solvent
You’ve got these 3 items? Now it’s time to mix them up! Get equal parts of all of them in a metal container. If you are using 8 oz of transmission oil, the other solvents must also be in the same quantity. Metal containers reduce evaporation and you can use the same mixture on different occasions.
Check out the video below to get a more detailed idea how to prepare this homemade solvent.
Step-by-step Gun Cleaning Process
Step 1: First up, unload the gun and disassemble it according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. You should be able to get the chamber, barrel, frame and bolt out.
Carry out this step on a large, flat surface like a table or a clean floor. Since the parts of the gun will all be removed, it’s important to keep track of them and clean them all effectively. Disassembling a gun in a cramped space might cause you to misplace some pieces.
Step 2: Using the soft cloth wipe out all the pieces. Don’t use the lubricant yet. You don’t want the dirt to become mushy. Use the cotton tips to clean dirt along the rails and inside narrow spaces.
This step involves rubbing off any residue or dirt that might have collected on your gun. Both using and storing a gun can cause residue to build up, and clearing this debris is the first step before you start lubricating the gun.
Step 3: You can use a rod to clean the inside of the barrel. Dry wipe the bolt, and chamber with the cloth.
Step 4: Cut a cloth into small squares or round shapes. We will use this to clean the inside of the barrel.
Step 5: Dip the cloth into lubricant mix and start cleaning the bolt. You should also cover the firing pin inside.
Some parts of the gun might be easier to clean than others. The residue buildup will also be of different types, and some might easily come off during the dry wipe. However, to make sure that your gun is spotless, soak a piece of cloth in lubricant oil and use it to wipe off each part of the gun.
The firing pin of the gun should be paid special attention to. Don’t stop cleaning it until it looks shiny.
Step 6: Use the rod again with the square piece of cloth to get inside the barrel. Don’t move it inside out, instead let it pass from the chamber side. Repeat the process until you see no carbon or dirt on the cloth.
Step 7: Clean the chamber and frame using the lubricant till you find no dirt coming out.
Step 8: Assemble the gun and give it a final wipe with the lube. That’s all.
Precautions of Cleaning a Gun with Household Items
- You don’t need to clean your gun outdoors. Make sure whatever the premise is, it is well ventilated. The cleaning solvents quickly evaporates into the air and you don’t want to inhale that stuff.
- Don’t cut the cloth pieces too small because they can get stuck inside the barrel or the chamber. The square cloth pieces should be of a reasonable size that you can take an educated guess on.
- Always unload the gun before cleaning and also reassemble right after the job is done.
- Clean the gun under bright lights. You need to see what you’re doing, right?
- When you are done with cleaning, make sure your gun works smoothly. You can use snap caps or dummy rounds for better experience.
- You can’t use normal oil as lubricant for your gun. Any oil that you’ll find in the kitchen will not be a proper substitute for transmission oil.
- Try to use a proper cleaning mat when you’re taking your gun apart before cleaning. This will ensure that you don’t misplace any parts.
- Don’t hurry into cleaning your gun. It’s important to take an hour or two out of your day if you’re planning on properly cleaning your gun. Since this isn’t an everyday activity, make sure you’re thorough and take your time. You might also miss something in the disassembling and the reassembling process if you don’t take your time cleaning your gun.
- Keep the aspects of gun safety in mind before and after the cleaning process. Even though you can be absolutely sure that the gun isn’t loaded, check it religiously every time.
There are lots of cleaning materials out there for your gun. But the process remains quite the same. You don’t need an expert to come and do it for you. If you clean the gun often, you wouldn’t need anything else other than what we have listed here. Make it a habit and hopefully your grandson or granddaughter can someday use your gun!
We hope that this article has given you a good idea of how to clean a gun with household items. Using the tips and steps mentioned in this article, cleaning your gun at home can be a quick and inexpensive activity. Please check out the other articles, buying guides, and reviews on Gun Cleaning HQ to learn more!
References & Resources