WD-40 is a multipurpose lubricant and cleaner that has been around since the 1950s. It has gained popularity for its ability to loosen rusted and stuck parts, as well as its effectiveness in removing grime and dirt. But can it be used for cleaning guns? The answer is yes, but with some precautions.

WD-40 is generally safe to use on guns, as it is a non-corrosive and non-toxic product. It can effectively remove dirt and grime from the surface of guns, making it easier to clean and maintain them. However, it should not be used as a lubricant for guns, as it can attract dirt and debris, leading to malfunctions.

When it comes to cleaning guns, WD-40 works by breaking down and loosening dirt and grime from the surface, making it easier to wipe off. It also has some mild degreasing properties, which can be helpful in removing built-up oils and dirt from gun parts.

To clean guns with WD-40, follow these steps:

  1. Step 1: Unload the gun – Before handling any firearm, ensure that it is unloaded and all ammunition is removed.
  2. Step 2: Disassemble the gun – If possible, disassemble the gun to make it easier to clean all the parts thoroughly.
  3. Step 3: Spray WD-40 on the gun parts – Only use a small amount of WD-40, as too much can attract dust and debris. Focus on the areas with visible grime and dirt.
  4. Step 4: Wipe off the WD-40 – Use a clean cloth to wipe off the WD-40 and any loosened dirt and grime. Repeat this step until the surface is clean.
  5. Step 5: Reassemble the gun – Once all the parts are clean and dry, reassemble the gun following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Using WD-40 for cleaning guns has several benefits, such as its ability to quickly and effectively remove dirt and grime, making the cleaning process easier. It is also a versatile product that can be used for other household and DIY projects.

There are alternatives to using WD-40 for cleaning guns, such as specialized gun cleaners and oils. These products are specifically designed for firearms and may provide better lubrication and protection. Some homemade solutions, such as a mixture of baking soda and water, can also effectively clean guns. However, it is essential to research and follow proper safety precautions when using any cleaning product on guns.

Key Takeaways:


  • WD-40 is a versatile, multi-purpose lubricant and cleaner that can also be used for cleaning guns.
  • When used properly, WD-40 is safe to use on guns and can effectively remove dirt, grime, and debris.
  • Using WD-40 for cleaning guns is a simple and cost-effective process, but it’s important to follow proper steps to ensure safety and effectiveness.


What is WD-40?

WD-40 is a versatile product used for various purposes, including cleaning guns. It is a popular multi-use lubricant and penetrating oil. WD-40 stands for “Water Displacement, 40th Formula” as it was initially developed to displace water and prevent corrosion. It is composed of various solvents, oils, and other ingredients that help loosen rusted parts, lubricate mechanisms, and protect against moisture.

WD-40 is commonly used for cleaning and maintaining firearms due to its ability to remove dirt, grime, and residue. However, it is important to note that while it can be effective for cleaning, it is not a substitute for proper gun cleaning and maintenance procedures.

Is WD-40 Safe to Use on Guns?

WD-40 is not recommended for cleaning guns as it is not designed specifically for firearms maintenance. While it can be used as a short-term solution to displace moisture, it does not provide long-lasting lubrication. Additionally, WD-40 can attract dirt and debris over time, potentially causing malfunctions.

It is better to use firearm-specific lubricants and cleaning solvents that are formulated to protect and maintain the integrity of guns. It is essential to prioritize the safety and longevity of your firearms by using products specifically designed for their care.

How Does WD-40 Clean Guns?

WD-40 is a popular choice for cleaning guns due to its lubricating and solvent properties. Here’s how WD-40 effectively cleans guns:

  1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to disassemble the gun.
  2. Using a clean cloth, spray WD-40 and wipe down the exterior of the gun to remove any dirt and grime.
  3. Apply WD-40 to a cleaning brush and scrub the bore and other metal parts to remove any fouling.
  4. Wipe away any residue with a clean cloth and ensure the gun is completely dry.
  5. Reassemble the gun and apply a light coat of WD-40 to lubricate any moving parts.

Pro-tip: For proper maintenance and protection, always remember to follow up with a gun oil or lubricant.

What are the Steps for Cleaning Guns with WD-40?

Properly cleaning and maintaining your firearms is crucial for their longevity and performance. If you’ve decided to use WD-40 as your cleaning solution, it’s important to follow the correct steps. In this section, we will go through the specific steps for cleaning guns with WD-40. From unloading and disassembling the gun to applying and wiping off the WD-40, we’ll cover all the necessary steps for a thorough and effective cleaning process.

Step 1: Unload the Gun

Step 1: Unloading the gun is the first crucial step in ensuring safe and responsible cleaning of firearms.

  1. Make sure the gun is pointed in a safe direction.
  2. Remove any magazine or ammunition from the gun.
  3. Check the chamber to confirm that it is empty.
  4. Double and triple check to ensure that the gun is completely unloaded.

Unloading the gun is essential to minimize the risk of accidental discharge and to ensure a safe cleaning process. Always prioritize safety when handling firearms.

Step 2: Disassemble the Gun

Disassembling a gun is a crucial step when cleaning it with WD-40. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to disassemble a gun safely:

  1. Ensure the gun is unloaded and there is no ammunition present.
  2. Refer to the gun’s manual or seek professional guidance for specific disassembly instructions.
  3. Follow the instructions to remove the magazine or cylinder.
  4. Check for any additional safety mechanisms that need to be disengaged.
  5. Slowly separate the gun into its main components, such as the slide, barrel, and frame.
  6. Store each part in a safe and organized manner to avoid misplacement.

By following these steps, specifically step 2, you can safely disassemble your gun and proceed with the next steps of cleaning using WD-40.

Step 3: Spray WD-40 on the Gun Parts

When cleaning guns with WD-40, it is important to follow a specific set of steps to ensure proper maintenance and care. Here is a list of steps to follow when applying WD-40 to gun parts:

  1. Step 1: Unload the gun to ensure safety.
  2. Step 2: Disassemble the gun to access all the parts.
  3. Step 3: Apply WD-40 by spraying it on the gun parts, paying special attention to areas that require cleaning or lubrication.
  4. Step 4: Use a clean cloth or brush to wipe off any excess WD-40.
  5. Step 5: Reassemble the gun, making sure all parts are properly aligned and tightened.

By following these steps, you can effectively use WD-40 to clean and maintain your guns, ensuring their proper functioning and longevity.

Step 4: Wipe off the WD-40

To effectively remove WD-40 from your gun, follow these steps:

  1. After spraying WD-40 on the gun parts, allow it to sit for a few minutes to penetrate and loosen dirt and debris.
  2. Using a clean cloth or rag, gently wipe off the WD-40 from all surfaces of the gun. Be sure to remove any excess oil or residue.
  3. Pay extra attention to intricate or hard-to-reach areas, using cotton swabs or brushes if necessary.
  4. Ensure that all surfaces are thoroughly wiped down and dry before proceeding with gun reassembly.

Remember, wiping off the WD-40 helps remove dirt and grime, leaving the gun clean and ready for reassembly. If desired, you can also use a gun-specific cleaner or lubricant as an alternative to WD-40. Always follow proper gun cleaning practices to maintain firearm safety and performance.

Step 5: Reassemble the Gun

After cleaning the gun parts with WD-40, the final step is to reassemble the gun. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Gather all the cleaned gun parts.
  2. Refer to the gun’s manual to ensure proper reassembly.
  3. Start by aligning the slide or frame with the barrel.
  4. Slowly slide the components together, making sure they fit snugly.
  5. Secure any screws or pins that hold the gun together, as outlined in Step 5.
  6. Double-check that all parts are properly aligned and secured.
  7. Test the gun’s functionality by performing a function check.
  8. If everything is working correctly, your gun is now reassembled and ready to use.

What are the Benefits of Using WD-40 for Cleaning Guns?

Using WD-40 for cleaning guns offers numerous benefits.

  • Efficiency: WD-40 acts as a solvent, effectively breaking down grime and residue, making the cleaning process quicker and easier.
  • Protection: It leaves a thin protective film on the gun, guarding against rust and corrosion.
  • Versatility: WD-40 can be applied to various parts of the gun, including the barrel, slide, and trigger.
  • Convenience: Its aerosol can and straw applicator allow for precise application and access to tight spaces.
  • Cost-effectiveness: WD-40 is affordable and widely available, making it a cost-effective solution for gun cleaning.

Are There Any Alternatives to WD-40 for Cleaning Guns?

When it comes to cleaning guns, WD-40 is a popular choice among gun owners due to its versatility and effectiveness. However, some may wonder if there are other options available for maintaining their firearms. In this section, we will explore potential alternatives to WD-40, including gun oil, gun cleaner, and homemade solutions. Each of these options has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, and by discussing them, we can determine which may be the best choice for your gun cleaning needs.

1. Gun Oil

Gun oil is an essential part of gun maintenance and is crucial for keeping firearms in good working condition. To properly apply gun oil, follow these steps:

  1. Thoroughly clean the gun before applying any gun oil.
  2. Using a clean cloth or applicator, apply a small amount of gun oil.
  3. Wipe down all metal surfaces of the gun, including the barrel, slide, and frame.
  4. Pay special attention to areas that experience friction, such as the slide rails and trigger mechanism.
  5. Make sure the gun oil reaches all the nooks and crevices of the firearm.
  6. Allow the gun oil to sit for a few minutes to effectively penetrate and lubricate the metal parts.
  7. Using a clean cloth, wipe off any excess gun oil to prevent it from attracting dirt and debris.

By following these steps, you can ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your firearms.

2. Gun Cleaner

Gun cleaners are specifically designed to remove dirt, debris, and residue from firearms to ensure their proper functioning. Here are some steps to clean guns using a gun cleaner:

  1. Unload the gun following proper safety protocols.
  2. Disassemble the gun, separating the barrel, slide, and other parts.
  3. Apply the gun cleaner to a cleaning brush or patch and scrub the gun parts thoroughly.
  4. Wipe off the gun cleaner and residue using a clean cloth or patch.
  5. Reassemble the gun, ensuring all parts are properly aligned.

Using a gun cleaner offers several benefits, such as boosting firearm performance, preventing corrosion, and maintaining optimal accuracy. As an alternative to using a gun cleaner, you can also use gun oil, gun cleaner solvents, or homemade cleaning solutions. Just remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and prioritize safety when cleaning firearms.

3. Homemade Solutions

Homemade solutions can be just as effective as using WD-40 for cleaning guns. Here are some steps for creating and using homemade solutions:

  1. Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water to effectively remove dirt and grime.
  2. Create a mixture of baking soda and water to create a paste for scrubbing tough stains.
  3. Apply the homemade solution to the gun parts using a toothbrush or soft cloth.
  4. Gently scrub the parts to eliminate any dirt and debris.
  5. Afterwards, rinse the parts with clean water and make sure to dry them thoroughly.

Please keep in mind that homemade solutions may not offer the same level of lubrication and protection as dedicated gun cleaners. It’s important to thoroughly research and understand the specific needs of your firearm before using homemade solutions.


When it comes to cleaning guns, WD-40 can be a useful option. It is a versatile product that can effectively remove dirt, grime, and rust from firearms. Additionally, its lubricating properties can help prevent corrosion and maintain the smooth functioning of the gun.

However, it is important to remember that WD-40 should not be used as a replacement for dedicated gun cleaning solvents and oils. These specialized products are designed specifically for firearms and offer better protection and maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is WD-40 a good lubricant for guns?

Yes, WD-40 is a popular multi-purpose lubricant and cleaner. However, it is not recommended for use on firearms by most gun experts.

What was the experience of the gun owner in the Brownells YouTube video?

The gun owner shared his personal experience with using WD-40 on his .22 Lr Target Rifle. He sprayed it on the interior barrel and bolt-chamber of his rifle before storing it in his gun safe for a few years.

What issues did the gun owner encounter when using WD-40 on his rifle?

After leaving the rifle untouched for a few years, the gun owner encountered a problem when the bolt was stuck and he had to completely strip it to remove a thin film of a dried “hard shellac” type of substance.

Why is WD-40 not recommended for use on firearms?

WD-40 can potentially cause issues when left for an extended period of time. The dried “hard shellac” substance mentioned by the gun owner is likely a result of the WD-40 evaporating and leaving behind a sticky residue, which can attract dirt and debris and cause malfunctions.

What products are recommended for cleaning and maintaining firearms?

According to the Brownells YouTube video, specific gun lubricants and cleaners that are designed for firearms are recommended for use. These products are formulated to protect and maintain the integrity of the firearm without causing any potential issues.

What should gun owners do before using any products on their firearms?

It is important for gun owners to do their own research and consult with experts before using any products on their firearms. This will help ensure that the products used are safe and effective for gun maintenance.

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