Firearms maintenance: How to build your own gun cleaning kit
07/20/2021 / By Zoey Sky / Comments
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Firearms maintenance: How to build your own gun cleaning kit

As a prepper, you probably already have a gun or two for self-defense or hunting. To keep your firearms in good condition, you need a gun cleaning kit.

Save a bit of money by assembling your own kit using the items detailed below instead of buying pre-assembled kits. (h/t to

Why do you need to clean your guns?

This may surprise beginner preppers, but guns should be cleaned and maintained regularly. Every time you fire your gun, a small amount of carbon, copper, lead and plastic residue is left in the chamber and barrel. If you don’t clean your guns properly, this residue or fouling may build up over time. Residual fouling buildup will significantly affect your gun’s reliability.

Cleaning and oiling your firearms regularly ensure that you can rely on your weapons when SHTF and you have to defend yourself.

Items for your DIY gun cleaning kit

A pre-assembled gun cleaning kit usually includes the following items:

  • Gun oil or lubricant
  • A cleaning rod/ snake bore
  • Cleaning solvent
  • Brushes/bore brush
  • Cleaning Patches
  • Nylon cleaning brush
  • Cotton swabs

When SHTF, you can assemble a DIY gun cleaning kit with the items in the list below. You’ll find these items around your home and garage, and you don’t have to break the bank to complete the kit.


Get a sturdy pouch to store all of your gun cleaning supplies. Use a large pouch if you want something roomy for all the items you need. Alternatively, you can use a small bag if you prefer something more portable for a handful of items that you use often. Finally, you can get a MOLLE (modular lightweight load-carrying equipment) pouch attached to a plate carrier or battle belt.

Nitrile gloves

Wearing gloves while you’re cleaning your firearms ensures that you can clean your weapon without getting your hands dirty when SHTF. You can save precious seconds in a survival situation by wearing nitrile gloves since you don’t have to spend time washing layers of grime, carbon, and oil once you’re done.

Gun oil

It’s best to use gun oil for your cleaning kit because it’s designed for use on firearms. But if you don’t have gun oil in your stockpile, you can use other alternatives like oils and lubricants used on machinery. (Related: Superfoods for GUNS: How to clean and lubricate firearms using orange peel extracts and COCONUT OIL.)

A clean rag

Your kit needs to include a clean rag for wiping down your firearm. If you won’t want to buy one, cut a rag out of an old shirt or use a soft microfiber cloth. You’ll need a piece of fabric large enough to wipe down the exterior of the gun to remove any dirt and debris. It’s best to use lint-free rags, but you can also get cotton or microfiber fabric.

Lens cloth

Some firearms have optics attached to them and you’ll need a clean lens cloth to wipe them off. You can use the lens cloth often included in cheap eyeglass cases.

Cotton patches

Pulling a patch through the barrel of your firearm removes any carbon build-up.

You can buy patches, but you save money by making your own out of old shirts — make sure the material isn’t too thick. When cutting up cotton t-shirts, check that the patch’s dimensions are appropriate for the type and caliber of your firearm. If you’re using several shirts, use those with the same thicknesses so the patches don’t get jammed in the barrel.

Before you go outdoors with your gun cleaning kit, test the patches to see if they’re the right thickness.


Buy a new toothbrush with stiff bristles for your gun cleaning kit. You can also get a second toothbrush with soft bristles if you often need both kinds while cleaning your gun. Travel-sized toothbrushes will take up less space in your kit.

Cotton swabs

Pack a container of cotton swabs in your kit because you’ll need them to clean the nooks and crannies of your firearm.

Paracord bore snake

It’s difficult to improvise a bore cleaning rod, but you can make a bore snake using paracord, a prepper must-have. The type of cordage you use will be determined by the weapon you need it for. At one end of the cord, form a loop that you can slip a cotton patch through and drag it through the barrel. Like cotton patches, your DIY paracord snake bore should be tested at home before including it into your kit to see if it works well with your firearm.

Small flashlight/penlight

A bright flashlight or penlight ensures that you can get a closer look at the gun’s bore to check for any buildup.

Spare batteries

Your kit also needs extra batteries for your flashlight and modern firearms with any battery-operated accessories like rangefinding optics.


Keep a multi-tool in your survival gear and a spare in your cleaning kit. When SHTF, you might need a multi-tool to make quick adjustments to your firearms.

When SHTF, you may need your firearm to protect yourself or your loved ones. But not maintaining your weapon could make it malfunction during a survival scenario. You can prevent this by prepping a DIY gun cleaning kit and using it regularly to maintain your firearm in a post-SHTF world.

Visit for more articles with tips on proper firearm maintenance.

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