Is WD40 Good for Gun Cleaning?

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People often misuse words like solvents within gun cleaning. In turn, it is often believed that WD40, a solvent can be used for gun cleaning. Is this true? In this article, I’ll find out the answer to the question, is WD40 good for gun cleaning?

Is WD40 Good for Gun Cleaning?

WD40 is not good for gun cleaning. In fact, it’s strongly recommended you don’t use one at all, instead use a reliable cleaning kit for gun cleaning. Despite it being a solvent, it can do more harm than cleaning your gun.

WD40 is an aerosol solvent. Which means it “shoots” gunks away. This is problematic in a gun barrel. When you “shoot” the debris and gunk, it could travel to deeper parts of your gun and it would be harder to clean.

WD40 spray bottle

Reasons I Use Gun Oil for Gun Cleaning

Gun oils are specifically made for gun cleaning. Therefore, it makes sense that you should prefer using it over other solvents and lubricants. There are also three things that make them great for guns.

I’m sure you’ve heard the term CLP when you’ve been in the gun cleaning topic. This is the reason why gun oils are better. CLP means:

  • Clean
  • Lubricate
  • Protect

I’ll discuss further how WD40 and gun oil fit into these qualities.


While gun oil is an excellent cleaner for guns, WD40 is a different matter. WD40 doesn’t do a great job at removing gunk or slime. Instead, they do it in a different way.

WD40 dissolves gunk. This may sound effective, however, it’s bad for guns. The dissolved gunk can go to other areas in your gun that are hard to reach so it would be impossible to clean them.

It’s even worse with aerosol solvents since it pushes the gunk deeper where it slowly dissolves and seeps into other gun parts. It could lead to accidental discharge that may be fatal in your house.


WD-40 is a solvent and not a lubricant. Many mistake solvents as good for gun cleaning. Solvents can evaporate quickly including WD40. This means it’s not great for guns that can heat up when fired.

Guns need lubrication so that the mechanisms function smoothly. You also want to avoid friction that could wear and tear the gun parts. WD40 would instantly evaporate leaving your gun with no lubrication and exposed to damage.

Two black semi automatic pistol gun


As mentioned before, WD40 evaporates quickly. This means that the protection it provides is useless the moment you fire your gun or when it is stored under hot temperatures.

It isn’t even recommended to use when you’re storing your guns for long periods. The protection could wear out easily, especially when you’re controlling the humidity levels of gun storage.

Related Questions

What Is the Best Lubricant for Guns?

It’s either grease or oil. Gun oil is best for all-around use. They are generally thinner than grease so they won’t leave behind much mess. Grease is great for extreme climates and the thick paste makes it hard to evaporate for longer protection.

What Is the Best Gun Cleaning Solvent?

Any solvent that is specifically made for gun cleaning is great. Make sure you check if there is a CLP in its description. However, If I were to choose one, it would be Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Elite Gun Cleaning Kit.


I strongly recommend not using WD40 for cleaning your gun. It could potentially harm your gun if used by aerosol. The protection it provides is also ineffective with how guns work.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.