Home Gun Maintenance How Often Should I Clean My Gun?

How Often Should I Clean My Gun?

by Tom Ginevra

how ofter should i clean my gunCleaning your gun might seem like a hassle at times. Not everyone enjoys fastening it in a gun vise, wiping down their gun and cleaning out the barrel.

Of course, some other people get a lot of pleasure out of doing this and find it relaxing to do.

Either way, this is a task that is absolutely essential to your firearm’s well-being.

If you don’t clean it often enough then it could lead to disastrous results. If you are wondering ‘how often should I clean my gun?’ then it is time to find out the answer.

What Happens to a Dirty Gun?

First of all, it is worth taking a minute to wonder what might happen if you don’t do this. Is having a dirty gun just a slight annoyance or something more serious? Could it even end up being completely ruined if you don’t clean it often enough? There is certainly the risk that your gun lets you down at a vital moment if it isn’t well looked after.

The biggest danger here is of rust building up on the metal. If you leave your gun dirty for too long then it could begin to get rusty. What does this actually mean in terms of being able to use it? Well, the performance might be affected or it might not work at all. Even a small bit of rust could mean that it doesn’t work in the way that it should.

A rusty gun can be very difficult to clean up again if you leave it for too long, although small amounts of rust can be easily removed. In fact, in some extreme cases this might be pretty much impossible to clean it properly once rust has really taken hold. Naturally, older guns are more at risk from rust. However, even modern firearms can suffer from this problem if they aren’t looked after well enough.

Imagine you keep a gun for home security reasons but it has gotten rusty through being left dirty for too long. If an intruder breaks into your home then you could find that it is no longer suitable for defending yourself with. It is most likely that a gun rusts when it is exposed to moisture, but it can slowly rust even when this isn’t the case.

This is the most extreme example, of course. In other cases, it may simply be a case of it taking you a lot longer to get it clean again if you have neglected it for some time. Either way, cleaning it as often as you is the best possible solution. A very dirty gun can be a pain to clean, while one that is relatively clean is a lot easier to deal with.

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What Type of Firearm Is It?

Does the type of firearm that it is have a bearing on the frequency with which you should clean it? Are bigger guns more prone to getting dirty, for example? The truth is that this isn’t a particularly big issue.

If it is an older firearm then you might feel that you need to give it a bit more care and attention. However, the size and the design of the gun doesn’t really have much of a bearing on this matter.

Where Do You Live?

The place where you live is another factor to take into account when working out how often you clean your firearm. How could this have a bearing on how often you need to clean your gun? Do some people need to wipe down their firearm more often simply because of the weather in their region?

The biggest issue here is if you live in an area with high humidity levels. This can cause your gun to rust far more quickly than if you were to live in a drier place.

If you live in a humid area then you should really store your gun together with some kind of dehumidifier. Yet, even if this is the case you will still need to clean it more regularly than the average frequency.

You will want to do your very best to keep the gun away from any sort of moisture anyway. This is one of the most damaging elements for any sort of firearm.

How Is It Stored?

Following on from the last point, another important matter is around where you store your firearm. If it is kept in a quality gun safe then this is a terrific starting point for keeping it safe and secure. But it could still get dirty in there over time, of course.

If you use a gun safe then it makes sense to put a good dehumidifier in there too. These useful products are designed to make the environment nice and dry for your firearms. Inside a safe, there are far fewer ways that a gun can get dirty.

install a gun safe dehumidifier

What if you leave your gun out in the open? On top of a table, for example. For a start, this is a terrible approach as it means that anyone can access the firearm. It also means that the gun is going to gather dust on it far more easily. A firearm stored in this way will soon be in poor condition.

Another popular place to keep a handgun is in a bedside cabinet. Again, this is something that isn’t idea in terms of security. It also can lead to the firearm getting fingerprints and other marks over it. This is particularly true if you often reach in there to get other objects that are stored beside it.

Basically, if you keep your gun in a safe then it is going to stay cleaner for longer. You still need to clean it but it should get less dirty when it is protected like this.

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How Often Do You Use It?

The next major issue is around your usage of the gun. Some people use theirs at the firing range, while others keep it under lock and key for emergencies.

It stands to reason that using it more often will get it dirtier. So, if you only keep it for home security and never fire it then you don’t need to clean it as often.

However, it is worth remembering the importance of having a gun that works perfectly at home. If you need to pull it out in an emergency then it needs to be in perfect working condition. You can’t just put a firearm into a safe and forget about it for months or years on end.

If you do this then it might let you down the one time that you really need it. Therefore, it is far better to get it out and clean it every now and then.

A jammed or rusty gun isn’t going to do you any good in a tense emergency. This means that even if you don’t clean it regularly, you should still check it frequently, to be sure that it is still working perfectly.

Is It for Show or for Practical Reasons?

Some people keep a gun or rifle that they like to show off to others. They might be kept in a smart display cabinet or it could be that they are the person’s pride and joy on hunting trips. You can get a lot of joy out of owning a smart, clean gun that impresses everyone who sees it.

In other cases, a homeowner might keep a small gun purely for practical reasons such as personal security. This means that there is no real need to keep it in sparkling condition all the time. As long as it is ready to use if needed then it is perfectly fine.

It is worth considering your reasons for owning a gun. Is it something that you would like to look impressive, or are you never likely to ever show it to anyone anyway?

How Often Do Other People Say?

If you look online, you will find a variety of answers to the question, “How often should I clean my gun?” There is no set answer but everyone has their own opinion on how often this should be done.

For instance, some people advise you to clean it at least twice a year. Others will tell you that once a month is right.

This shows us that doing the same thing that someone else does isn’t always the right approach. As we have seen above, there are a number of factors that each gun-owner has to take into account. You can’t simply copy another person’s approach, unless their situation is exactly the same as yours in every respect.


The truth is that you can never clean a gun too often. The more often that you clean it the better it will look and function.

As we have seen, there are some important points to take into account. By considering each of them you can more easily work out the answer to this important question.

The answer will be different for each person, as we each use and store our guns in different ways. If you are in any doubt then cleaning your firearm more frequently is always the right answer.

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