How Often Should I Clean My Gun?

How Often Should I Clean My Gun? Well, guns are not cheap and like any other mechanical device they run much better and last much longer if they are regularly cleaned and lubricated.

You should clean your gun after every time that it has been fired and when it’s dirty or starts to smell bad. That means if you take a trip where your gun was in the car, then put it away for two weeks without firing, then fire again; then you would need to clean the gun twice before putting it back into storage.

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If you shoot a lot at the range or in hunting season, then more frequent cleaning might be necessary to ensure accuracy and safety. But if you have a pistol for home defense or carry one concealed, then less frequent maintenance will likely suffice.

As the bullet is forced down the barrel by the expanding gases a tiny amount of bullet metal is scraped onto the inside of the barrel. If it is not cleaned out regularly it builds up and begins to affect accuracy and reliability.  This article will go through different factors that will decide the ratio of cleaning your gun.

How Often Should You Clean Your Firearms?

How often you should clean your firearms depends on a variety of factors.

To get a better look at it, let’s examine these factors in detail.

1: Firearms’ Materials:

The material of your firearms also matters in the cleanliness of your rifle. If your guns are made out of steel and chrome then they need to be cleaned more often because dirt attaches easily to these materials. However, if they’re made of polymer plastic or aluminum then they don’t need as much attention since those substances resist clinging onto particulates in the air that might get into them like metal does.

2: Over-Cleaning A Gun Can Damage It

It’s a tricky question. This is one of those questions that really have two meanings. No, you cannot damage your gun by cleaning it too often. Each time you do a cleaning session, you’re removing harmful debris and residue that causes damage. 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should sit around and clean your gun every day if you have nothing else to do. It simply means that regular cleaning isn’t awful for your gun.

how often should i clean my gun

But, it is possible to clean your handgun wrong too many times. Using the wrong type of brushes or not lubricating with the right oil can lead to damage to the frame or various parts.

But there are some exceptions to these guidelines.

If your weapon is primarily for self defense or home defense, it is extremely important to clean it each and every time. This will ensure it will function each and every time properly.

For a competition shooter cleaning a gun after every use is very necessary.

3: Environmental Conditions:

The type of environment you are living in will also determine how often you should clean your guns. If it’s very humid or hot, constantly cleaning them might be a good idea just like if it’s cold outside and there’s snow on the ground all year round. In order to prevent this type of rot, you want to clean any corrosive firearms regularly, ideally after each use.

Doing so can help maintain your gun’s lifespan and prevent any dirt-related functionality problems.

4: Rust Never Sleep:

The biggest enemy of guns is rust. It’s the one thing that can lead to more problems with your firearm than any other type of dirt.

Rust is caused when steel reacts with oxygen and water, which leads to oxidation (rusting) on the surface of metal parts or surfaces. It usually takes time for this reaction to occur, but it can be speed up by certain agents like saltwater, humidity, and other substances. If you don’t clean your gun regularly, rust can build up on the surface of metal parts and make it difficult to function.

5: Rusty Firearms Are A Magnet For Dirt:

When moisture mixes with debris from shooting, this creates an environment where corrosion is inevitable. You could end up with anything from pitting to faint little rust spots that just keep getting worse.

What Type Of Firearms Need Frequent Cleaning?

Following types of firearm need frequent cleaning.

1: Old Firearms:

If you have any older guns, you will want to make sure that they are cleaned often. This is because older firearms tend to have more metal that can get dirty and then attract bacteria.

how often should i clean my gun

2: New Firearms:

The new gun doesn’t really need to be cleaned, not following the common routine of cleaning gun solvents and brushes and all. Running a patch through the barrel bore is a good option.

You might be wondering how often you should clean your gun. It’s a question that many people ask themselves, and there isn’t an easy answer. The general rule is to clean it after every use, or at least once every two weeks if you don’t shoot as much. One of the best ways to keep your gun running well for years is by maintaining it with regular cleaning.

For serious gun collectors, however, it’s crucial that you take the time to remove all damaging materials from your weapon so that it can maintain its long lifespan.

how often should i clean my gun

3: Sport Pistols And Shotguns:

If you are involved in any kind of competition you will want to make sure that you keep your weapon clean and up to date. It’s always important to stay on top of your game so that you do your best and don’t hurt your chances by making any avoidable mistakes.

If you have any other firearm that you use regularly, either through hunting or being at the shooting range, you will want to clean it after every use.

It’s important to remember that guns will get dirty just like anything else, and regular maintenance is the key. If you have a gun with many moving parts or one where dirt can easily be trapped in it (like an automatic weapon), you might want to take extra care of your firearm so that it never malfunctions on you when it’s needed.

4: Hobby Gun:

If you just enjoy going to the range and shooting when you get the opportunity then clean your guns as soon as you get home. For most shooters, as soon as the gun gets put up in the safe, it’s not brought out again until the next range trip. This is an extremely good habit to get into so when you pull a gun out, you know it’s clean and ready to fire.

Some other kinds of thoughts that come into mind during the cleaning of guns are listed below.

How To Prevent Your Guns From Getting Damage While Cleaning?

It’s important to exercise great care when cleaning your gun. Depending on the products you use and the amount of skill you have, the gun-cleaning process can be risky.

how often should i clean my gun

Guns need to be cleaned after they have been fired. This is especially true if the gun has not been properly lubricated.

Things To Remember:

Remember to follow things while cleaning your gun.

1: Unload Your Gun:

Before you clean your gun, be sure to unload it and remove the ammunition from its magazine or cylinder. Always check that there are no rounds in either chamber before beginning the cleaning process.

2: Use A Proper Kit:

Investing in the best all in one universal cleaning kit can go a long way in helping to protect your firearm from unnecessary damage.

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Selecting the best cleaning kit for your firearm is an essential part of keeping it in optimal condition. A quality all-in-one set will include everything you need to clean and lubricate it, without having to purchase multiple products separately.

You have two choices in this matter: purchase a premade kit or assemble your own.

If you choose to assemble your own kit, be sure that all the parts are compatible with one another. If they aren’t, use a contact cleaner for metal surfaces and an oil-based product for rubber ones instead of carrying out the cleaning process on their own.

An assembled one may be a cheaper option, but if some of the parts are incompatible, it will end up being more expensive in the long run as you buy replacements to fill those gaps.

Buying a cheap gun cleaning kit may seem like a good idea, but in reality, it can do more harm than good.

If you’ve bought one with cheap patches or plastic rods, for instance, you may find that the patches do little to protect your gun from scratches.

3: Use Proper Solvent:

There are a number of solvents available on the market, but unless you know what they’re for and how to use them properly, it’s best not to buy one.

Solvents are used to clean off oil, grease, and other stubborn gunk from your weapon’s surface. In many cases, water will suffice as a cleaning agent for most of these substances; but if you can use an organic solvent instead (such as mineral spirits), then do so.

Using improper solvents can be a disaster for your firearm. For starters, using the wrong solvent can ruin the finish of your own gun.

In addition to ruining your finish, some solvents can even melt your gun’s frame. Though it may not happen after one use, consistent use of the wrong solvent can have serious effects on the health of your gun.

That’s why it’s important to check with the manufacturer or with a gun expert before you buy a kit or apply any finish to your weapon.

4: Use The Right Brush:

You’ll also need a quality, brass or nylon brush. Brass brushes are for removing rust and other heavy deposits from the metal surface of your gun. Nylon brushes have stiffer bristles that can remove thin layers of dust more quickly than their softer counterparts.

Some guns may require stainless steel brushes to prevent corrosion in certain areas of the firearm.

Unless you want to take the surface off your gun, it’s important that you use the right brush. Using overly-aggressive or forceful brushes can facilitate the destruction of your gun’s outside surface.

If you suspect that your current brush is causing damage to your gun’s surface, simply try out a brush that’s either more geared toward your firearm or more expensive.

In between cleanings, you should inspect your firearm for any damage. It’s important to catch any problems before they develop into a bigger issue and threaten the structural integrity of your gun.

This includes checking the end of the barrel for corrosion or other buildup, inspecting screws that might need tightening, and cleaning out magazine wells if applicable.

5: Rust Removal:

You can remove surface rust from metal with a cleaner made for the job. Remove all of the dirt and grime first you’ll be surprised at how much is hidden.

The best thing to do after cleaning wet guns is to leave the parts disassembled, lubricate them properly, and let them air dry out. 


Simply put, because it gets dirty! When you clean a weapon, you are cleaning some type of dirty residue. While there are many kinds, this is most often carbon. Carbon buildup occurs in your weapon each and every time you fire it. When the propellant burns, it leaves carbon behind.

There are a few different ways that you can clean your gun. You have the option of using household cleaners, which will help remove layers of dirt and grime but may not be strong enough to get out the tough stains or rust. The other method is by taking apart each part individually and cleaning them in some sort of solvent such as alcohol.

The barrel of your gun will accumulate a lot of dirt and grime, which can lead to it corroding. This buildup is what causes rusting as well as the accumulation of corrosion in other areas like the inside surfaces where you can’t see them very easily. The result could be inaccurate shots that end up missing their mark entirely or worse, ricocheting off the target and hitting unintended targets.


If you want to keep your gun in good condition, it’s important that you follow the cleaning schedule and do a thorough clean. At least once every six months should be sufficient for most guns but this can vary depending on usage. The key is to not give up too easily or ignore warning signs because they will only worsen if left untreated.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at .

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