Home Gun Maintenance Best Gun Cleaning Solvent: 2020’s Top 10

Best Gun Cleaning Solvent: 2020’s Top 10

by Tom Ginevra

best gun cleaning solvent

Keeping your firearms clean is one of the keys to ensuring that they look great and stay in working order for a lot longer. How will you know which products to use to do this well, though? You don’t want to get this wrong and run the risk of ruining your guns instead of protecting them.

One of the most vital products you need to buy is a cleaning solvent for firearms. This is a liquid that works to clean your firearm thanks to the powerful ingredients in it.

The truth is that choosing the best gun cleaning solvent can be a tricky task. There are many different types on the market right now that you need to know about. While some do a terrific job, others will leave you sorely disappointed. So how can you choose the right solvent to look after your guns?

Highly Recommended!
HOPPE'S No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner
Our #1 Pick
Sweets 7.62 Solvent
Made in the USA
Steel Shield Weapon Shield Cleaning Solvent 4 fl. oz.
HOPPE'S No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner
Sweets 7.62 Solvent
Steel Shield Weapon Shield Cleaning Solvent 4 fl. oz.
-
-
-
Price not available
$12.99
$25.99
-
Highly Recommended!
HOPPE'S No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner
HOPPE'S No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner
-
Price not available
-
Our #1 Pick
Sweets 7.62 Solvent
Sweets 7.62 Solvent
-
$12.99
Made in the USA
Steel Shield Weapon Shield Cleaning Solvent 4 fl. oz.
Steel Shield Weapon Shield Cleaning Solvent 4 fl. oz.
-
$25.99

Why Is Gun Cleaning Solvent So Important?

Let’s start by considering why this matter is so important to begin with. Why is it that cleaning a gun is so important in the first place? The fact is that firearms can get extremely dirty regardless of whether you use them a lot or not.

If you just rub down your gun it might look fine. But the problem is that could still be dirty or have dangerous elements inside. A good cleaning solvent will help you to get it really clean without too much effort.

This product is ideal for removing a range of the materials that can cause damage to your gun over time. They include carbon, leads, acids, salts, copper fouling, and powder residue. Since each brand uses a different formula, you should check to be sure what materials they say that they can clean off the guns.

All of this means that you can clean your firearms more thoroughly without it becoming a big hassle. By simply having a regular cleaning routine and using good-quality products you can keep your gun clean and ready to use.

What Should You Be Looking For?

Once you have decided to look for a gun cleaning solvent, you need to understand what you are looking for in it. It certainly isn’t just a question of choosing any old product that you come across online.

Naturally, the first point to look at is what type of guns it can be used on. Most of these products are highly versatile and can be used on a wide variety of firearms as well as on other objects that need cleaning. You just need to use the solvent together with a boresnake or cleaning patches and a cleaning rod for best results.

As with any type of purchase, you will want to check the price and the quantity. Do you need to clean a lot of guns? Do you want a high-quality solvent that leaves them looking fantastic or are you not so bothered about the overall quality because you use inexpensive or older guns?

Apart from that, the following list covers some of the features to look out for.

How to Choose the Right Solvent

As we will see, there are a number of different solving cleaners for guns available just now. How will you know which one to choose for your firearms? If you aren’t an experienced gun owner then you might never have heard of any of the brands before.

The truth is that at first sight these products all look pretty much the same as one another. It can appear pretty much impossible to work out at first which one you should buy. You might be tempted to take a stab in the dark by just choosing one that looks good or has a nice name that appeals to you.

Yet, by taking a good look at some of the key features it is easier to work out which product you should be most interested in getting.

  • The functions. Is this simply a cleaning solution? Or does it protect and lubricate the gun as well? CLP solvents are multi-purpose products that save you from having a buy different solvents and oils for each task. Some people prefer the multi-purpose approach while others are happier getting a solvent that does nothing but clean their guns.
  • How fast it works. Most of us just want to get our firearms cleaned as quickly as possible. No-one wants to hang around for ages waiting on the dirt and other gunk to come loose. This is why the fastest acting solvents tend to be extremely popular nowadays. However, if it is particularly fast-acting then it may be more abrasive and toxic. Perhaps you would be more comfortable sacrificing some of that speed for a smoother, less toxic substance.
  • How powerful it is. Do you need to clean old and very dirty firearms? Or is it simply a question of keeping a new gun looking good and functioning well? The amount you use it and the way it is stored will go a long way towards determining how powerful you need your cleaner to be.
  • What materials it can be used on. There are some multi-purpose solvents that can be used on an extensive range of solvents. Others are far more limited in terms of what they can be used on without causing any damage. Be sure to check what type of surface you need to clean and then find out which cleaner can do it for you.
  • The cost. Maintaining a gun in great condition isn’t a particularly expensive task. Still, some cleaning solvents are more expensive than others. Work out which ones fit in with your budget before you start. You will also want to consider how often you will need to buy this product in the future.
  • Its reputation. As well as the reviews here, you will find that people often discuss these products on gun forums. Everyone has an opinion on which brand is best, and it can be worth taking a look at what others have got to say about them. Or do you have a friend who always keeps their gun in great condition? If so, it might be worth asking them what they use to clean it with.
  • The smell. Some people dislike the smell of gun cleaners while others enjoy it. To be fair, not all of them produce the same smell, with some a lot stronger than others. If you keep your firearm near your bed or in a small apartment then this might be a particularly important point to bear in mind.

Our Top 10 Gun Cleaning Solvent Reviews

In order to assess which is best, we have looked at a number of the most popular cleaning solvents for guns around. Which of the following could be right for you? There are a number of points to take into account in each one of them.

1. Sweets 7.62 Solvent

Sweets 7.62 Solvent

Sweet’s 7.62 Solvent is a product that has been widely used in Australia for many years and is now more easily available elsewhere too. It is a highly powerful solution that has a strong smell and that makes light work of clearing out copper fouling.

The strength of this solvent means that some people suggest only using it in extreme cases, such as when you are restoring old rifles that are especially dirty. Yet, other gun-owners are happy to use it all time on their firearms. If you are looking for one of the strongest gun solvents on the market then this an option you will want to consider.

You certainly need to be very careful when using this strong gun cleaning product. It is recommended that you don’t ever leave it in the bore for more than 15 minutes a time, which is mentioned on the bottle and should be more than long enough to get it really clean.

This is an ammonia-based product and the bottle comes with 200ml. Overall, it is a great choice for a fast and powerful clean. However, there is a chance that it may be just too strong for some people’s needs.

Pros

  • Extremely powerful gun cleaner
  • Fast acting
  • Cleans out a variety of unwanted materials

Cons

  • The nasty smell can be very off-putting

2. Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner

This is arguably the most widely used and trusted gun solvent around. But is it the best gun cleaning solvent for your needs? Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner (amazon link here) has been produced since way back at the start of the 20th century and continues to do a wonderful cleaning job even today.

It is a highly efficient barrel cleaner that penetrates quickly and very effectively to clear out a range of unwanted materials. The product comes in a range of different sized bottles and they each have a child-proof cap on them to give you extra peace of mind.

Despite it having such a long history – soldier Frank August Hoppe discovered the mix of chemicals that it contains back in 1903 – it is also described as being ideal for modern firearms. This solvent doesn’t smell as strong and isn’t as hazardous as some others but it is certainly powerful enough to do the job you need it to do.

There are a lot of reviews and comments on this cleaner online, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find out more about it if you are unsure whether it suits you or not. It is clearly a favorite choice of many gun-owners and something that you are unlikely to go wrong with.

Pros

  • Tremendous reputation that has been built up over a long time
  • Effective cleaning action
  • Comes in a variety of different sizes

Cons

  • You may want something even more powerful for certain tough jobs

Here’s a great review from King Gunsmiths on the Hoppe’s gun cleaning solvents/oils.

3. Hoppe’s BoreSnake Venom Gun Cleaner, 4 oz. Bottle

This is a relatively new formula from Hoppe’s that is designed to allow you to clean your firearms more quickly. Venom Gun Cleaner comes in a small 4ox bottle and is said to be fully tested for cleaning guns that are especially dirty.

It is said to be stronger and faster acting that their traditional formula, which is one of the most popular solvents available just now. Some people prefer the original and others prefer this newer version, though. It doesn’t have as harsh a smell as Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaner but it does a similarly good job in less time.

According to the specifications, this product uses a special T3 additive. It is said to contain liquid molybdenum and liquid PTFE. Apparently, it is both non-toxic and also biodegradable, which is good news. Overall, if you like the Hoppe’s brand and want a cleaning liquid for particularly stubborn jobs then this could be a wise choice of gun cleaner.

Pros

  • A highly trusted brand
  • Works to clean out firearms very quickly
  • Excellent for those really tough cleaning jobs that other solvents can’t handle

Cons

  • Not yet as widely known as the brand’s other products

4. Steel Shield Weapon Shield Solvent 4 fl. oz

This is an interesting option, as it is said to help improve lubrication as well as keep the gun clean and protected against corrosion. There is also a separate Steel Shield Weapon Shield lubricant product that is designed to help reduce the wear that can eventually damage any firearm.

This solvent is marketed as being both non-toxic and non-mutagenic, which is good to hear. By using this cleaner, you also help to reduce friction and wear on the gun, which can help it to remain functional for longer.

You can clean out carbon and other awkward types of dirt using this product. However, if you need to clean out copper from the firearm then you might need to use something stronger than this to do it with.

You can check it out on amazon and read more reviews here.

Pros

  • Helps to lubricate the gun as well as clean it
  • Protects against corrosion
  • Non-toxic and non-mutagenic

Cons

  • Doesn’t work so well in cleaning out copper.

5. BreakFree CLP Gun Cleans Lubricates Prevent Aerosol Can, 12-Ounce/340gm


Another solid option for keeping firearms clean is the BreakFree CLP product. This comes from a company that has a good range of products for protecting, cleaning, and lubricating guns. The product we are looking at here is described as being a “cleaner, lubricant, preservative”.

All of this means that it is a simpler option than buying several different products to do these jobs for you. This can help you to save money and storage space, while also making life that little bit easier. Having said that, some serious gun enthusiasts prefer to get a separate product to carry out each of the tasks that this CLP does for you

It is also worth noting that it is said to perform well even under high pressures and extreme temperatures. This is likely to be of interest to some gun-owners more than others, of course. Not everyone really has to bother too much about this point but others may consider it the best gun cleaning solvent due to this fact.

It is safe to say that some people prefer multi-use cleaners like this while others are happier with a variety of different products that work well together. It really comes down to personal preference and finding an approach that works well for you.

Pros

  • A multi-purpose gun cleaning solvent that makes life easier for you
  • Works well even when the firearm is subjected to intense pressure and extreme temperatures
  • An inexpensive way to look after a gun well

Cons

  • Many not be quite as efficient as solvents that are designed purely to clean guns.

6. G-96 Brand Military Grade Bore Solvent 16FL Oz Bottles

Classed as military grade bore solvent, this product comes in 16 fluid oz bottles. It can clean out the likes of powder residue, copper fouling, and leading from the bore of your gun.

While it is safe to use it on metals, you will want to be careful about touching other materials such as plastic or paint with G-96 Brand Military Grade Bore Solvent. The name comes from the fact that they say it has been approved by the US Army as of 2017.

The G-96 brand has been around for a long time and offers both retail products and military-grade products. This particular clean comes as a pack of 2, meaning that you will get a lot of use out of it. It is an alkaline-free product but the bottle does warn that it is dangerous, stating both “poison” and “corrosive”.

Pros

  • Military-grade rating means that you can expect it to withstand extreme conditions
  • Cleans out an excellent variety of different materials
  • Comes in a pack of 2 big bottles

Cons

  • Isn’t perhaps as widely known as some others, meaning that there are fewer online reviews and comments about it

7. Lucas Oil Extreme Duty CLP Aerosol 10916 – 11oz Can

This is another product that is said to clean, lubricate, and protect at the same time. As well as cleaning deeply, it also lowers friction levels and leaves behind a slick, waterproof film. In addition, it gives a microscopic layer of protection that protects against rust and corrosion.

Click here to read more reviews on amazon.

The manufacturer says that this CLP is often used to protect firearms before that are shipped out. This is another company that has been around long enough to have built up a solid reputation over the years.

This solvent penetrates deeply into rusted parts, meaning that you get a really clean firearm in very little time. It is also marketed as being very useful shop and general home use too.

Pros

  • Carries out the cleaning, lubricating, and protecting tasks
  • Lowers the friction levels on the gun
  • Protective film is left behind when used

Cons

  • Not everyone is keen on the protective film that it leaves behind after cleaning

8. Lucas Oil 10006 Gun Oil – 2 oz

Another option from Lucas Oil, the 10006 Gun Oil is said to protect and lubricate firearms. It is also described as being excellent for long-term storage purposes, for use with fishing reels, and as a general household oil.

The company says that this is an oil that is designed to prevent high caliber rifle and big machine guns from jamming and over-heating. It is made to withstand the high combustion temperatures of these firearms.

The versatility of this gun oil is one of its biggest advantages. You could use it on a wide variety of objects if you want to. Despite the bottle being fairly small, the fact that so little is needed for each job means that is should go on to last a long time.

Pros

  • Highly versatile type of gun oil
  • Can be useful when a firearm is being put into long term storage
  • Particularly powerful for bigger guns and rifles

Cons

  • Some complaints about the dropper being too big and the oil leaking

9. F W Klever GmbH Ballistol Multi-Purpose Aerosol Can Lubricant Cleaner Protectant


With this biodegradable gun cleaner, you can keep your firearm looking fantastic without damaging the environment. It protects and lubricates guns as well as cleaning them. As well as metal, it also preserves and protects other materials such as wood, plastics, and leather.

This multi-purpose product is slightly alkaline. The reason for this is that it can therefore neutralize the effect that skin oil and sweat can have on your gun. It is worth remembering that like many other strong gun solvents it has a nasty smell that takes some getting used to.

They say that the Ballistol Multi-Purpose Aerosol was originally created as the request of the German Army. As well as forming a protective film over the metal, it also penetrates into the tiniest space where dirt and rust might be hiding.

Pros

  • Kinder to the environment than many other gun cleaning products
  • Forms a protective film that protects the gun after it has been cleaned
  • Very good at penetrating into even the smallest spaces

Cons

  • The very strong smell can be off-putting while you are using it.

10. Original Gun Oil CLP


This is a good choice if you want a simple yet effective cleaning agent for your guns. Original Gun Oil promises a deep, penetrating clean without damaging your gun with overly harsh chemicals.

It is designed to keep firearms free from rust and corrosion. This works by creating a protective yer on the gun that ensures moisture, salt, and humidity are all kept at bay.

The lubricating action is said to help keep the moving parts of the gun in perfect working order too, even in extreme temperatures. The oil is non-toxic and non-scented, so you can use it at home without any fears.

Pros

  • Very easy to use
  • Not as harsh smelling or as corrosive as some of the other alternatives out there
  • Lubricates the moving parts of the gun

Cons

  • Isn’t quite as powerful as some of the other cleaning solvents for guns that are around now

Our Final Thoughts

The cleaning solvent that you use might seem like a relatively minor matter. However, if you want to choose wisely and look after your firearms well then the choice of product that you make is pretty important.

All of the brands that we have looked at here are well thought of. Therefore, it simply a case of choosing the one that looks best to you and then giving it a try. If you like what it does then you will have got yourself a favorite new product.

Plenty of gun-owners only ever buy one type of gun cleaning solution and would never think of buying any other. In other cases, they might work out their own routine that uses more than one type of solvent for the best possible finish.

It is well worth taking a few minutes to work out which of these products to buy. After that, you can just enjoy watching it in action and get a gun that looks brand new every time that you use it.

FAQ’s

Do I need to use a gun cleaning solvent?

It isn’t strictly essential to use this kind of cleaning product. However, it does make cleaning your firearm a far quicker and easier job. If you have never before used something like this then you might be surprised at how much gunk it cleans out in just a few minutes.

How do I use this solvent?

The typical way of using gun cleaning solvent is to wet a cleaning patch with the liquid. Using a rod, you push it all the way through the barrel. If it comes out dirty then you should do it again, leaving the wet patch in for a few minutes. While this is the most common approach, it is a good idea to always read the instructions on any powerful cleaning product that you buy.

Are these products harmful?

These are strong products that contain powerful chemicals. So, you will want to be extremely careful about how you use them. Provided that you follow the instructions then everything should be fine.

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