Should I Clean My Gun?

This is a question that can sometimes be hard to get an exact answer to. You may hear one person say you should clean it immediately after each use, others say every few months is fine. To be honest there are a few factors that go into how frequently you should clean your gun.

But let’s start with the basics, should you clean your gun? YES! No matter the various time frames you hear as to how frequently you should clean your gun, the general consensus is, you should clean your gun.

Think about it this way, how frequently do you wash your car? Some people may have a schedule where they wash it weekly, others may wash it every few months, and some might only spot clean it. Still, most people are going to tell you, you should wash your car.

First, let’s answer the question: why should you clean your gun?

Why Do I Need To Clean My Gun?

Have you ever vacuumed or moped your floor and when you went to empty the dust container or throw the mopping pad you realized how dirty your floors actually were? You may not have seen all the dust and dirt until you cleaned it.

Just like with your floors you may not see all the residue on and in your gun but it is definitely there. Each time your gun is fired a little bit of residue is left behind, and when you pick up your gun, any oil or grime on your hands can be transferred to your gun. All of that builds up and may cause problems.

If there is moisture that gets into the gun it can cause rust and all the dust, water, and salt your gun encounters can be corrosive. Routine cleaning can remove all the residue inside and outside your gun not only prolonging its life but also ensuring your gun is functioning at its best.

While you are cleaning your gun and have it in pieces you may find parts that need replacing. Catching this in advance and replacing the part can also improve your gun life and firing quality.

So, now let’s get into the question you really want answered. How often should you clean your gun?

How Often Should I Clean My Gun?

When it comes to gun cleaning a lot of it is based on preference and what you find works best for you, even among our customers we have heard a variety of answers to this question.

For an exact answer to this question it is best to use your manufacturer's recommendation. For example Glock suggests their customers clean their guns at least once a month if it had not been used. Now keep in mind some people elect to clean theirs more or less frequently and that works just fine for them.

We also found that if you are taking a gun to the range and firing it you probably will want to clean it after your session or within a week of using it. A good cleaning routine can help maintain your weapon giving it a long life. Again just check with your manufacturer for specific cleaning guidelines.

As always if you are cleaning your gun please use proper safety gear and methods to help ensure the safety of yourself and others.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Gun?

To answer this question, let us first ask you a question. What happens if you don’t change the oil in your car? It probably doesn’t run at its full potential. So, a gun works in a similar way, if you don’t clean your gun it may not fire at its full potential.

Over time and with use dirt and residue can build up inside and outside your gun, causing it to not operate properly. This is called a failure or a firearm malfunction. Depending on the malfunction it can be dangerous and take a lot of time to repair. Proper cleaning routines and techniques can help prevent a failure or malfunction.

Is It Bad To Clean Your Gun Too Much?

It can be bad to clean your gun too much if you are using improper tools and techniques, but if you are using appropriate cleaning methods no you can’t clean it too much.

Think of it this way, when you are cooking with a stainless steel pan you probably don’t use a metal spatula to flip your pancake. Why? Because it can scratch the surface of your pan. Similarly, if you are using the wrong tools or solutions to clean your gun you can scratch and damage it.

But, with proper tools, cleaning your gun removes the buildup of residue and any dust or dirt that it may have on it. When you clean it you are going to want to lubricate it appropriately as well. This keeps it ready for use and helps to reduce the friction between parts.

Make sure to check your owners manual, if you can find it within that drawer of manuals you have tucked away, for proper lubricating and cleaning techniques. If you have searched everywhere you can think of and can’t seem to find the manual it is most likely available with a few clicks on the internet.

What Is The Best Thing To Clean a Gun With?

We all have our favorite brands and products to use, time after time we find ourselves going back to the same thing because it’s reliable and we like it. We have compiled a list of popular products and brands for cleaning and lubricating your gun that you may want to try.

  • Otis Technology offers complete cleaning kits, of various sizes, and individual solutions among other items you may need.
  • For a lubricant, try BreakFree. It is a popular choice among gun owners and may work for you too.
  • Another popular brand, Hoppe’s, offers cleaning kits and sells individual products like lubricants.
  • Wheeler has a few cleaning kits as well but has extensive options for tools you may find useful.
  • Complete your cleaning kit with our Vedder Holsters Gun Cleaning Mat, it has a soft top and rubber back to make for the optimal addition for your gun cleaning needs.

Many manufactures will include a guide on the best cleaning and maintenance practices when you purchase a gun from them.

What You Need To Know About Cleaning Guns

If you have made it this far, you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed by all the information, so here is what you need to know.

While you will probably come across various responses as to how often you should clean your gun, the general consensus is yes you should clean it. As to how often, it is a personal preference but we suggest looking at your manufacturer’s guidelines for an exact answer on how frequently you should clean your gun.

Cleaning and lubricating your gun keeps it in tip-top shape helping to prevent failures and give it a long life. While you can’t clean it too much, using improper tools or techniques can damage the gun so make sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Always remember to use appropriate safety gear and methods when cleaning or handling your weapon.


But ultimately, how frequently you clean your gun is a personal preference. If you are searching for a carry system we suggest visiting our Vedder Holsters website. And if you looking for items beyond holsters and belts, check out our Resources Page for popular product links like lights, laser, first aid, maintenance, and more.