How to Use a Gun Cleaning Kit

So, you’ve probably bought a universal gun cleaning kit to clean and maintain your weapon. But do you know how to use a gun cleaning kit properly?

Guns contain many internal mechanisms that correspond to each other and allow us to fire the weapon. Therefore, knowing how to use the kit to maintain and keep your firearm clean is essential to keep it performing as expected.

Here, I’ll explain the step-by-step process for using gun cleaning kits and every other relevant info you may need as a gun owner. Ready? Let’s get started!

Short Answer

Start by washing your hands thoroughly, ensure your gun is unloaded, use the bore snake to clean your firearm’s barrel, and dismantle your gun. Then, use the cleaning rods, brush, and patches, get rid of every solvent, lubricate the gun parts, and clean the gun’s outer parts. Lastly, wash your hands thoroughly again, and reassemble your firearm.

Now that you’ve had a glimpse of the cleaning procedure using gun cleaning kits let’s take a closer look.

Using a Gun Cleaning Kit

You’d make the most of your cleaning kit if you knew how to use it properly. Below is a detailed guide on the gun cleaning process.

1. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly or Wear Some Nice Gloves

Washing your hands is pretty essential if you must clean your gun to get that shiny appearance you desire. This step helps prevent greasy substances from spreading into your gun’s exterior and interior parts.

Also, since you may probably be cleaning your gun for many years to come, I recommend using gloves. I use gloves myself as they help prevent the absorption of oils and other cleaning solvents into the skin.

2. Ensure Your Gun Is Unloaded

Don’t rule out the fact that you may unintentionally discharge your weapon while cleaning it. So, it’s essential to double-check and ensure your gun isn’t loaded

This step is pretty necessary to protect yourself or other people around you from harm. As an added measure, you could keep your box of ammo far from reach whenever you’re cleaning, as there’s always a chance you could shoot at it.

3. Use the Bore Snake to Clean Your Firearm’s Barrel

Using the bore snake before the cleaning rods on your gun will help you save an ample amount of time. Also, the snake helps to get rid of some of the gunk on your firearm’s barrel.

4. Dismantle Your Gun

If you’re good at breaking things apart, now is the time to show your skills. But wait! I don’t mean damaging your firearm. I mean dismantling it into individual parts to make the next step easy.

So, you could use the owner’s manual to disassemble its part accordingly. However, if you don’t have the manual or can’t access it, you can get the complete disassembly process on the manufacturer’s website or follow a “How to” YouTube video!

5. Use the Cleaning Rods, Brush, and Patches 

Now you can bring out the different cleaning rods available in your cleaning kit to select and assemble the appropriate size for your weapon. After selecting the rod, you should be able to identify the correct bore brush size that’d clean your gun properly.

So, with the rod and brush, you can clean the interior of your gun using a decent gun cleaning solvent. Run the brush through the weapon about 5 to 10 times. 

Also, you must ensure you don’t push the brush through the barrel. Only pull it. The reason is that running the brush in the same direction the bullet travels will help extend the barrel’s life.

After brushing the barrel well enough, you can run your cleaning patch in the same direction as the brush. Do this with as many patches as possible till they come out white. And don’t worry, these cleaning patches aren’t expensive!

6. Get Rid of Every Solvent

After cleaning your firearm with the solvent, you’ll need to get rid of any extra solvent left on the weapon. You can do this using a dry patch and an ultra-absorbent bore mop; this prepares your gun for the next step.

7. Lubricate the Gun Parts

Lubricating your gun’s different parts is essential if you want to protect it from the effects of corrosion. Also, the lubricant (gun oil) helps to enhance the efficiency and performance of your firearm when you apply it to the mechanisms.

I’m sure you also don’t want dust to accumulate on your gun as that could cause gunk buildup on your weapon. So, lubrication will help protect your gun from dust accumulation.

8. Clean the Gun’s Outer Parts

After lubricating your weapon, you’d need to clean its outer parts. Here, the double-sided wire toothbrush with a cleaning gel comes in handy.

First, you add a sizable amount of gel over the brush and then rub it over the portion of the gun you want to polish. I usually focus more on the tiny rusty areas and would advise you do the same. This is to ensure the rust doesn’t spread all over the weapon.

9. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly Again

You should never be tired of washing your hands. After cleaning your gun, remove your gloves and wash your hands thoroughly. And before moving to the next step, apply some oil to your hands. You’d know the reason for this shortly.

10. Reassemble Your Firearm

You’re done using your gun cleaning kit, and now it’s time to reassemble your well-polished firearm. Remember I asked you to apply some oil to your hands in the last step? This prevents the formation of fingerprints on the weapon.

So, to reassemble your gun, you can use the manufacturer’s instructions once more or refer to the internet or some tutorial videos on YouTube.

What Essential Tools Can I Find in a Gun Cleaning Kit?

Below are some essential materials you can find in a gun cleaning kit:

  • Cleaning solvent, which helps remove lead and powder
  • Bore snake
  • Bore brush
  • Lubricant or gun oils
  • Barrel brush
  • Swabs and their support
  • Cleaning rod
  • Nylon brushes
  • Flashlight
  • Cotton swabs to access the smallest spaces
  • Cotton balls
  • Microfiber cloth for polishing
  • Cleaning patches

You can opt for a universal gun cleaning kit or buy each item separately.

How Often Should You Clean Your Gun?

When it comes to gun cleaning and maintenance, regularity is key. Indeed, each shot leaves residue inside the barrel. Allowing them to accumulate can cause metal fouling (barrel leading) and other potentially dangerous malfunctions. 

This is why it’s advisable to clean your weapon after each use. This recommendation is valid for all types of weapons: hunting, sports shooting, or recreational shooting. And if your gun has been used in rainy weather, remember to let it dry before cleaning it.

Some Gun Cleaning Kits Precautions

Below are a few precautions you should consider when cleaning your gun:

Clean in the Direction of the Projectile (Bullet)

When you fire your gun, powder residue and dirt particles become embedded in the barrel, while the chamber and mechanism remain relatively clean. If you run a brush over the muzzle end of the weapon, you push dirt, residue, and moisture into the chamber and its mechanism.

If you push or pull a brush toward the chamber, you’ll notice that the brush will throw debris from the bore up the chamber and the locking tabs. So instead, use a cleaning line, moving in the natural direction of the bullet.

Use a Clean Surface of a Rag Each Time You Clean the Barrel

When applying solvent to remove dirt, don’t reuse that piece of cloth again, as it’ll transfer the dirt into the chamber of the weapon and its mechanism. In addition, the next bullet that passes through the barrel of the weapon will pick up this dirt, and it could erode the throat of your gun. 

Use Only a Few Drops of Solvent or Lubricant

You don’t have to pour the whole bottle! Many people mistakenly believe that the more solvent they use to clean their gun, the better. However, too much solvent will eventually damage your firearm. So, only take as much solvent as your cleaning cloth can absorb.


Using a gun cleaning kit is easier than it sounds. And the gun cleaning process outlined in this article, from washing your hands to reassembling your firearm, is quite simple.

But make sure to clean in the direction of the bullet and use a clean cloth each time you clean the barrel. And avoid overusing the solvent or lubricant.