How to Clean A Gun with Household Items

Whether or not you know or have heard of how to clean a gun with household items, you know that it isn’t a regular chore. So, cleaning a gun must be done such that it can be stored for very long or long enough to keep it free of dirt and rust. If you think that you are not using a gun, keeping it safely locked in the box will do no harm, you’re mistaken. So, what can you do? Clean it more often than you do.

But the cleaners come at a quite expensive price. Want to know how you can clean your gun without spending little to no fortune? Using household items! Maybe they aren’t the find-in-your-kitchen type, but you can easily find them at your house. Without further ado, let us learn about them and the different cleaning methods.

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How to Clean a Gun with Household Items

How necessary is it to clean a gun?

cleaning firearm rifle

If you didn’t know, firing a gun is a pretty dirty process. Not at all like the ones that are shown in movies. In the movies, you will see shots after shots being fired without any potential mess. But in reality, firing just one shot will make you see debris in your gun barrel. If it is blowback operated, prepare yourself to see gases in the action too. This causes debris to get inside the gun.

So you must have understood what and how much there is to clean in your gun. The frequency of your gun cleaning depends on the ammo that you are using. Iron-based ammo has corrosive properties that can cause rust formation inside your gun if you do not clean properly after firing. Especially if the weather is too hot. But this never means that right after you shoot you need to sit down with lube and paper to clean that thing. You can take a day or three to do that.

Cleaning only your gun is not enough sometimes. The scope of your hunting rifle also needs to be cleaned from time to time for great hunting experience. If you didn’t read our article on best scope for 22lr rifle, please check it out.

The cleaning of your gun actually depends on its age and type, other than the ammo and firing frequency.

Household gun cleaning solvents required

What can I use to clean my gun? The answer is you can always use the lube oils that are required to make vehicles run smoothly. It should be a household item for people who own a car or a bike. However, there are other household items you can choose from:

  1. Transmission oil that your gearbox needs for functioning can be a cleaning agent. The carbon impurities and others present in a gearbox are similar to those of a gun. Even if you don’t have it, you should always keep one at home because it comes in handy now and then.
  2. The general-purpose, often-present in the house, kerosene is also a good cleaner of debris. Go for 1-k kerosene since the sulfur content in it is lesser. Red kerosene is purer than the other forms, so search and find that.
  3. Cheap mineral spirits can also help.

You can use these individually or mix it up to create your own cleaning cocktail. Make sure to mix them vigorously for 5 minutes or so since these are all oil-like and you might face a little trouble mixing.

Homemade gun cleaning solvent

Cleaning your gun with vinegar (Household gun cleaner)

Heinz cleaning vinegar

As an alternative that is easier, you can use vinegar to clean the rusty old barrels. Being acidic in nature, it has deoxidizing properties that can melt and fix the rust formed.

If you are someone who uses sandpaper to clean rusts off the gun, this is a surefire way to clean it minus the roughening of metal that comes from sandpaper, not to mention the marks.

But don’t use ammonia. It can ruin your gun.

Usual gun cleaning method

These are the usual steps of gun-cleaning:

  1. Disassemble the gun whilst making sure it is not loaded. Separate it such that you can locate its chamber, frame, barrel, and bolt.
  2. Clean from bolt to chamber to barrel, with the mix you just made.
  3. The inner side of the bolt has a firing pin. Do not forget about that when cleaning the bolt. Use small squares of cloth to clean easily, rather than using a large one.
  4. Clean the insides of your gun chamber.
  5. Use a toothpick and a small cloth-square to clean the insides of your barrel.
  6. Repeat until everything is squeaky clean.
  7. Give it a vinegar rub gently.

Reassemble the gun. Do a functionality check without loading the gun. Make sure everything is in place.

Precautions before cleaning a gun with household items

These are the precautionary steps that you should not forget in the gun cleaning process:

  1. Don’t use normal oil such as cooking, skin-grade, edible, hair oil, etc. They are not meant for lubrication.
  2. Don’t use too small cloth-squares or else they might get stuck inside the barrel.
  3. Give the cleaning process time. If you think that it is a process of wipe and done, you’re wrong. You will need at least 5-10 minutes to have the entire thing clean, depending on how long you haven’t cleaned it or the amount of debris and impurities inside.
  4. Don’t forget the function check. In situations of emergency, don’t’ find yourself with a messed-up gun-equivalent that doesn’t shoot.

These are the basic precautions. Also, if you’re unsure to work with vinegar and are a little skeptical about it, don’t do it. Just go for the oil mix we mentioned earlier. One more thing, to handle the oil miz properly and for ease of cleaning, get a metal spray can or can with a pump and pour the mix in before you use it. This will make handling easier.


This brings us toward the end of the gun cleaning process with usual, easy-to-find, household items. If you’re one of those people who did not have any of these at home, you can always get one. Trust us, it is so much cheaper than the gun cleaning kits available in the market.

And it does exactly the same thing with just a little effort from you. If you manage to give it some time, you can clean it with a significantly low amount of cost. It will involve some messy hands, and unclean, oily clothes but so long as it cleans your gun, no one’s complaining!

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