It’s spring cleaning time for gun owners heading back outdoors and a perfect time to refresh your memory on some important gun cleaning safety tips.

Follow these gun cleaning safety tips for a safer and more enjoyable summer with your firearms.

25 Gun Cleaning Safety Tips for a Safer Summer

1. First and foremost, follow the four A-C-T-T rules of gun safety at all times, especially when cleaning your gun:

  • Always treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
  • Control the muzzle of the firearm at all times.
  • Be certain of the Target and what is in front of it and beyond it.
  • Keep your finger outside the Trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.

2. Make certain your gun is unloaded before every single cleaning. Remove the magazine, rack the slide, lock the slide open, and verify the chamber is empty by both sight and touch.

3. Prep your cleaning area. Gather everything you need before you get started, including the manual, a mat or tray, safety glasses, CLP, patches, tools and more.

4. Use a mat or tray to keep your work area organized. Small parts play a key role in function and safety and reassembling a firearm without all the right springs and screws can be dangerous.

5. Check to make sure you have any specific supplies and tools you will need. Certain guns are easier to disassemble and clean with tweezers, a bushing wrench or rebound slide tool.

6. Take pictures as you disassemble a new or unfamiliar gun for cleaning. It will make it easier to correctly reassemble everything after you are finished with the cleaning.

7. Consult the manual. When in doubt, double-check the manual or assembly guide that came with your gun for tips on how to disassemble, clean and reassemble your specific gun.

8. Be careful with your choice of cleaning, lubricating and protecting products. Newer gun parts may be damaged by a solvent, lubricant or protectant not designed to be a gun CLP.

9. Use quality cleaning products made for guns, such as those from Brownells, Hoppe’s and other trusted brands. They’re safer and more effective than WD-40 and cut-up T-shirt patches.

10. Use only brass, copper phosphate or nylon brushes and cleaning rods. Avoid using any cleaning tools made of steel, which can scratch the gun’s steel surfaces and dull the rifling of the barrel.

11. Adopt a regular cleaning schedule and stick to it. Carry guns should be inspected and cleaned daily, while home defense guns should get a weekly inspection and cleaning.

12. Make a habit of unloading the gun in a different room than the one cleaning will take place in. When you get into your cleaning space, check again that your gun is unloaded before cleaning.

13. Keep all ammunition away from your cleaning area. Don’t leave loose ammunition on the cleaning bench or in the cleaning room and store ammo boxes in another area as well.

14. Wear eye protection. A handy pair of safety glasses will protect your eyes from any debris, solvents or springs that could go flying in your direction during the cleaning process.

15. Clean your gun in a well-ventilated area. Since solvents and cleaners can produce harsh fumes, it’s a good idea to open a window or set up your cleaning station in an area with fresh air.

16. Eliminate distractions and focus on the task at hand. Clean your gun with the TV and radio off and tune out other distractions so that you minimize the chance of an accidental discharge.

17. Avoid cleaning your gun with other people in the same room or area. You can greatly reduce the risk to friends and family by only cleaning your firearm when you are alone to focus on the task at hand.

18. Get the most out of your spring gun cleaning by being thorough, especially if your gun only gets a cursory cleaning. Field strip the gun according to the owner’s manual and clean the individual parts.

19. Lubricate lightly. More isn’t always better, particularly when it comes to gun lubricant. Use just enough lubricant to protect moving parts from excess wear and facilitate proper function.

20. Avoid getting lubricant in the firing-pin channel, chamber, bore or magazines. Gun functioning and safety can be impacted by ammunition that comes into contact with excess lubricant.

21. Clean your gun as often as you need to for better longevity, safety and accuracy. Depending on the gun and your shooting habits, this could range from semi-annually to after every box of ammo.

22. Clean more frequently in bad weather. Even more so than how often you shoot, shooting and storage conditions, such as hunting in snow, camping in the rain, etc., can determine your cleaning schedule.

23. Your brand new gun could probably use a cleaning, too. The manufacturing process can leave tiny debris particles, plus new factory guns are test-fired for functioning, accuracy and safety.

24. Perform a function check after reassembly to make sure everything works as it should. Check safeties, trigger mechanism, slide and magazine operation, while observing proper gun safety.

25. Protect yourself with the right insurance. Personal Firearm Liability helps protect against costs associated with firearm accidents, such as an accidental discharge while cleaning your gun.


All spring cleaning carries some risk, but gun cleaning tends to be associated with more than its fair share of tragic headlines due to the frequency of accidental discharge incidents.

Fortunately, the risk of having an accident while cleaning your gun can be greatly reduced just by taking the appropriate precautions and following the rules of gun cleaning safety.