What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Gun?

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Gun?


Mathew R Reed
July 28, 2021

A gun can only be effective when it’s functioning well, and the easiest way to guarantee this is with regular cleaning and maintenance.

Although it’s not a big job, cleaning your gun is an important one, and it’s a skill that every firearm owner should have.

What happens if you don’t clean your gun?

A poorly maintained or unclean gun will have issues with usability, safety, and be more prone to major issues. Therefore, a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule is imperative for responsible ownership.

Thankfully, nothing is challenging about learning proper maintenance for your gun, but the benefits are great. This simple guide will show you what happens if you don’t keep a firearm clean and some tips for doing it with ease.

Why Is Gun Maintenance Important?

Why Is Gun Maintenance Important?

A well-maintained weapon offers many benefits to its owner compared to one that’s never cared for.

The most important advantage to cleaning your gun is the process of disassembling and reassembling it, which allows you to become familiar with all of its components and know what to look for if something isn’t right.

In addition to becoming better acquainted with the firearm, it also helps to keep it in good shape.

With the many moving parts that make up a gun and the very serious risk of injury, regular cleaning of each of the components will ensure they operate smoothly and as they should, with minimal chance of happenings like failure to eject or failure to fire.

Finally, keeping your gun clean and maintained means you increase its lifespan.

As an important investment and something you rely on to be in good working order when you need it, the peace of mind that you get from regular cleaning is enough in itself to make the job worthwhile.

Guns are prone to malfunctioning, but the chance of this happening with a poorly maintained one is much higher.

With a high rate of malfunctioning guns being caused by dirt or buildup because they haven’t been taken care of, it’s the responsibility of all firearm owners to keep them clean and inspect them regularly.

Issues That Arise From an Unclean Gun

Issues That Arise From an Unclean Gun

With a weapon as potentially dangerous as a gun, you don’t want to take any risks with its safety.

An unclean gun can lead to some serious issues with its performance and usability, so keep it cared for to avoid these:

  • Rust and corrosion: There are many working parts inside of a gun that can easily become rusted and corrode if not cared for, including the barrel, and once they’ve started to deteriorate it’s too late. A rusted gun can stop working altogether or be prone to issues that make them unsafe to operate.
  • Failures: Common failures that occur from not cleaning a gun include failure to fire, failure to eject, and failure to feed. The consequences of these failures range from slight annoyance to potentially fatal injury, so it’s essential to prevent them with regular cleaning and maintenance.
  • Residual fouling build-up: The fouling residue created by a bullet passing through your gun leaves behind elements like carbon, lead, and copper. Cleaning the gun regularly prevents these fragments from building up so further issues with precision and usability can be avoided.

How To Clean Your Gun

How to Clean Your Gun

All guns are created differently and thus require unique steps to clean them, so it’s up to you to understand your weapon and what’s required to keep it in good shape.

However, these tips are universal and can be applied to all types of firearms to ensure you do the job safely and effectively.

  • Check the owner’s manual before you begin. There will be specific instructions that should be followed strictly for each type of firearm.
  • Always empty the chamber and magazine of a gun before cleaning, and never assume that it’s empty without checking.
  • Have a specific area setup that allows you to clean your gun carefully and slowly. Prepare all of the required tools and materials before you begin so you never leave the firearm alone.
  • Follow up every clean with a thorough lubricating product, as this reduces the chance of corrosion and ensures safe use of the firearm. The solvents and chemicals used to clean the weapon can also do damage if not treated with lubricant, so aftercare is just as important.

Read Also: How to Use a Gun Cleaning Kit to Clean Any Firearm

Clean And Ready For Action

A clean gun is a well-functioning one, and it’s the responsibility of the owner to make sure the firearm in good shape.

With a little bit of time spent taking care of your gun, you’ll have peace of mind that it’ll always be ready for you if you need it.

Many elements and components go into responsible gun ownership and cleaning the firearm so that it’s ready for action is a huge part of it.

If you have questions about cleaning your weapon and need to know more, check out these FAQs for the basics.

Can I Clean a Gun With WD-40?

Can I Clean a Gun With WD-40?

WD-40 is not recommended as a suitable gun cleaner as the aerosol solvent can do more damage than good.

Spraying this type of solvent on a firearm means it will enter all the small crevices and eventually harden which creates sticking and gumming on the parts.

How Often To Clean a Gun?

The frequency of cleaning required for a gun depends on its use and the type of gun, with once every one to two months being the norm.

However, if you use the firearm regularly, you might want to clean it after each session to keep it in good shape and ensure all parts are working as they should.


Mathew R Reed

Mathew R Reed is a professional gun seller who runs a dedicated gun store in the suburbs of Oakland, CA. A hardcore hunting enthusiast since childhood, Reed has ample experience with guns and accessories. He is the founder of ArmorHoldings.com and creates some of the most helpful gun-buying guides and explainers. If not in the gun shop, you can find him on the nearest hiking trail or nearby hunting spot.