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How Often Should You Clean Your Gun? Everything You Need to Know

How Often Should You Clean Your Gun? Everything You Need to Know

Whether you view it as a therapeutic task or a chore, keeping your gun clean and oiled is an important part of gun ownership.

We all know guns require regular cleaning and maintenance to stay in good condition. But, how often should you clean your gun? The answer depends on a few factors, including what it is used for, how often you shoot it, the ammo you use, and whether it’s, well, dirty.

In this article, we’ll cover the importance of cleaning your firearm, how frequently you should clean it, and how to properly do so, so you can keep your weapon in tip-top shape.

Importance of Cleaning Your Gun

Cleaning and regular maintenance is critical for your firearm’s function and longevity. Neglecting to clean your weapon can affect its performance and even pose a potential safety hazard. On the other hand, regularly cleaning a gun offers several great benefits.

First, cleaning your firearm will help to prevent malfunctions or jams, ensuring it is reliable when you need it most. Dirt, debris, and excess lubricants can accumulate in the moving parts of the firearm, causing friction and wear, which can result in malfunctions. Regular cleaning will help to remove these contaminants and keep the firearm functioning correctly.

A clean gun is also more accurate than a dirty one. Over time, gunk can accumulate in the barrel and other parts of the firearm, impacting its accuracy and performance. Regular cleaning will help to remove these contaminants.

Proper maintenance, including regular cleaning, will extend the lifespan of your firearm. Grime and buildup can cause wear, reducing the performance and lifespan of the firearm. Moisture can cause rust and corrosion, which can result in permanent damage to the firearm. Cleaning and proper storage will help to prevent these problems and extend the lifespan of your firearm.

Finally, neglecting to clean your firearm can pose a safety hazard. As we’ve already mentioned, a dirty firearm can malfunction or jam, which can result in an accidental discharge. Regular cleaning will help to prevent these issues and ensure the firearm is functioning properly.

How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?

Cleaning a firearm is an important task for ensuring proper function and longevity. But, how often should you clean your gun? The frequency of cleaning depends on several factors including the type of firearm, usage, environmental conditions, and whether or not it’s dirty.

As a general rule, it's a good idea to clean your gun after every trip to the shooting range.

If you live in a humid or coastal area, it is recommended to clean your firearm more frequently, as moisture can cause rust and corrosion. If you live in a dry area, you can clean your firearm less often, though you shouldn’t neglect the occasional scrub and oil.

Do I Need to Clean My Gun After Every Use?

You’ve likely been told that you should clean your weapon after every single use – but is that really necessary? The answer is, it depends.

First, the frequency of cleaning depends on the type of firearm. For example, pistols used for self-defense and rifles or shotguns used for hunting or target shooting should be cleaned after every use. If the firearm is used only occasionally, it should be cleaned at least once a year.

Cleaning a firearm after every use will help to remove dirt, debris, and excess lubricants that can build up during use. This will help to prevent any malfunctions or jams and prolong the life of your gun.

In addition, cleaning your firearm every time you use it will also establish a routine for regular cleaning and maintenance. This will ensure that your firearm is always in good working condition and ready to use when needed, and allow you to catch any damages or issues before you need to use your gun.

Should I Clean My Gun Before First Use?

Cleaning a firearm is a crucial part of firearm maintenance. It is important to ensure that your firearm is in good working condition and ready to use when needed. This raises the question: Should you clean your gun before first use? The answer is a resounding yes.

First, firearms often come with manufacturing debris and excess lubricants that can affect their function. Cleaning the firearm before use will help to remove these contaminants and prevent any malfunctions or jams.

In addition, cleaning the firearm before its first use will help to prolong its life in the long run. Dirt, debris, and moisture can cause corrosion and rust over time, which can lead to permanent damage. Cleaning the firearm before you use it can help protect it from these types of issues.

How Often Should I Clean My Gun If I Don’t Use It?

Believe it or not, regularly cleaning your firearm is important, even if you never use it.

Even when a firearm is not being used, such as those that are on display or in storage, it is still recommended to clean it at least once a year. Moisture can build up over time and cause damage to the gun, even if it hasn’t been shot. Cleaning the firearm before storing it for an extended period will help to ensure it is in good working condition when it is needed again.

It is also important to properly store the firearm to prevent moisture buildup and other types of damage. Store your gun in a clean, dry place, away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Consider using a dehumidifier or moisture absorber to keep water away from your weapon.

You should also inspect the firearm regularly, even if it is not being used. Look for any signs of rust or corrosion, and clean the firearm if necessary. This will help to prevent any long-term damage that may impact the firearm's function and longevity.

Can You Clean Your Gun Too Much?

While regular cleaning and maintenance of firearms is critical, it is possible to clean your gun too much – especially if you’re not using the proper tools.

Over-cleaning can cause wear and tear and even remove necessary oils and lubricants. However, if you’re using the correct cleaning methods and tools, that’s pretty hard to do.

Cleaning your gun too often can cause wear on the moving parts of the firearm, reducing its performance and lifespan. Each time you clean your gun, you are disassembling and reassembling it, which can understandably cause wear and tear on the parts.

Cleaning your firearm can also remove oils and coatings, which protect the metal from moisture. Over-cleaning can remove these oils, increasing the risk of rust and corrosion.

Cleaning too oftencan also remove necessary lubricants, which can result in increased friction and wear, reducing the performance and lifespan of the firearm.

However, using proper tools and properly oiling and lubricating your gun after each cleaning can help prevent these issues and keep your gun ready for use.

How to Check if a Gun Is Clean

Cleaning your gun is critical for preventing issues like jamming, but over-cleaning it can cause damage of its own. So, how do you tell if your firearm needs a good scrub or not?

A quick visual inspection is a simple and effective way to determine if a gun is clean. Start by looking for any dirt, debris, or residue that may be present on the surface of the gun. Pay particular attention to the barrel and other parts that may be harder to reach.

Next, open the action and inspect the interior of the firearm. Check for anything that may have accumulated in the action. Make sure the action is free of debris and operates smoothly.

Use a bore light to inspect the inside of the barrel. Look for any gunk that may be present. The barrel should be free of debris and have a uniform shine.

Check the trigger mechanism to ensure it is functioning properly. Make sure the trigger is smooth and free of debris. If the trigger is sticky or difficult to operate, it may indicate that the firearm is not completely clean.

Finally, test fire the firearm to ensure it’s functioning properly. A clean firearm should fire smoothly and accurately. If your weapon jams, it’s a sign you need to spend some time thoroughly cleaning and oiling it.

How to Clean a Gun

The best way to clean a gun is to invest in a high-quality gun cleaning kit and use it after every trip to the range. Always clean in a safe, well-lit environment, and triple-check that your gun is unloaded before beginning.

Many firearm manufacturers offer detailed cleaning instructions in the owner's manual, so be sure to check that before you get started. Here are the basic steps for how to clean your gun:

Wipe it Down: Start by wiping down your gun thoroughly with a clean, dry rag and use a bristle brush to remove any gunk and grime. You'll then want to use a bore cleaning brush (choose one that matches the caliber of your gun) to clean the barrel.

Use a Solvent: Using a firearm solvent will help break up and dissolve the dirt and grime that we discussed before. Be sure to select the right kind of solvent, as there are different kinds for dissolving lead, copper, and other types of fouling. Use dry patches to work in and remove the solvent.

Lubricate: Your gun is a machine with many moving parts, and lubrication is crucial to helping it, quite literally, move smoothly. The last thing you'd want when you're shooting is to deal with a jam, and lubrication will help prevent them. Always use lubricants designed for firearms – resist the urge to lubricate with motor oil, no matter how many shooters recommend it!

Store it Properly: Properly storing your weapon in a protective gun case is crucial to keeping it clean, dry, and well-protected. Be sure to choose a pistol or rifle case that is air- and water-tight to prevent further damage while in storage.

What Is The Best Thing To Clean a Gun With?

Like most products out there, not all gun cleaners are created equal. Here are a few tried and true brands that sell quality solvents and lubricants.

  • Otis Technology offers complete cleaning kits of various sizes, individual solutions, and many other gun-cleaning items you may need.
  • For a lubricant, try BreakFree. It is a popular choice among gun owners – and for good reason.
  • Another popular brand, Hoppe’s, offers cleaning kits and sells individual products like lubricants.
  • Wheeler sells a wide variety of gun cleaning tools as well as a few cleaning kits.
  • Complete your cleaning kit with our Vedder Holsters Gun Cleaning Mat, which has a soft top and rubber back to keep everything scratch-free and in place while you clean.

Most firearm manufacturers include a guide on the best cleaning and maintenance practices for your gun. It’s always best to refer to their recommendations before using a cleaner or tool on your weapon.


Cleaning your firearm is crucial for its proper function and longevity. Neglecting to clean it can result in malfunctions, reduced accuracy, a shortened lifespan, and even safety hazards.

But, how often should you clean your gun? Guns should be wiped down, cleaned with a solvent, and lubricated after every use – or at least once a year for guns in storage. Doing so will not only keep your firearm looking great, but will keep it functioning as it should for years to come.

If you’re looking for a new IWB, OWB, or pocket carry holster, visit our Holsters by Gun Model page for Kydex holsters that are custom-made for your weapon of choice.

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