The Top Guide to Cleaning Your Ar-15 Like a Pro

There is an infinite number of articles posted on the internet about the mods you can do with your ar-15. But you don’t get to see articles addressing the drop in precision of ar-15 over time. I don’t want to introduce myself as an expert, but as an enthusiast who loves to discuss these quality and precision issues. One of the main reasons for this drop-in precision can be negligence from the user side. Especially the negligence in properly cleaning the gun.

Read on to know the importance and how to clean your ar-15 like a pro.

How often should you clean your ar-15?

It’s very important to know when your firearm needs cleaning. Your ar-15 demands proper and timely lubrication to keep it free from carbon debris to play its part well. Like every machine, your firearm also desires proper attention and maintenance.

You might be running bore shake or brush through the rifle after every use. But know that that’s not enough. A full stripped-down cleaning should be done regularly after every 1000 rounds of fire.

But how do you do it?

That’s exactly what we are going to address in this article. We are certain that this article will build confidence in you to strip your firearm, clean it, and mantle it by yourself.

What are the prerequisites to clean an ar-15?

If you already own a handgun or a rifle, then you are half done. You would be having most of the prerequisites for cleaning the ar-15. If you don’t, you have to spend somewhat less than 5 bucks for the bore brush of your calibre or spend 20 for the entire cleaning kit. If you happen to be an amateur, we recommend you to buy a kit, and if not, you know it better, you can custom make one.

If you are to custom make one or buy a kit, it should include these tools at the very least.

  • Dry patch: Dry patch also known as cleaning patches are small cloth pieces mostly made out of absorbent materials.
  • Bore Cleaner: It helps you clean your rifle’s bore thoroughly at a minimum time. It completely removes copper and carbon fouling, without any wait time and being labour intensive.
  • Phosphor brushes: It comes in handy when you have stubborn carbon accumulations to be taken care of.
  • Cleaning rod: While a bore snake is to be used for general cleaning, a single rod should be used for thorough cleaning. The calibre of the rod should not exceed the bore diameter to prevent any damage to the inner bore.
  • Boring guide: It’s a twin purpose tool. First to guide the cleaning rod effortlessly into the bore without damaging the chamber. Second, to prevent the cleaning solvents from leaking into the trigger or mag chamber.

Make sure you have enough workspace which is clean from any grit or rust or oil spills. Your workbench or table must be properly set up.

Let’s not waste time and get into the business:

Step 1- Set up the cleaning area & do a safety check

The cleaning area should be set up and your firearm cleared. Make sure that the magazine is removed or empty and there is no bullet in the chamber.

There are some basic measures you should take in the procedure. If you are an experienced hand, you would probably know this, but for the newbies, this is a must-read.

  1. Point the rifle in a safer direction away from yourself.
  2. Removed the magazine from the rifle.
  3. Lock the bolt to the rear.
  4. Double-check the chamber to see there is ammo clocked into it.
  5. Release the bolt.
  6. Now place the firearm safely on to the workbench.

Step 2: Remove the upper & lower receivers

 Put on your gloves and remove any ammo from the table. Upper and lower receivers have to be separated. Push those take-down pins out and the two halves have to pull apart. Ensure that you don’t end up scratching the rifle with the removal tool.

Step 3: Remove the bolt carrier group

 Here is how you remove the bolt carrier group:

  1. Push the bolt to the rear and remove the firing pin.
  2. Rotate the cam pin by 90° and take it out.
  3. Bolt will now slide out.

Once you have dismantled the bolt carrier group look for any carbon deposit in the bolt carrier group, if found use the phosphor brush and scrub it off.

Note: Insert the bolt guard on to your rifle as soon as you pull the bolt out.

Step 4: Inspect the chamber & barrel for signs of rusting

Before you get into cleaning the chamber & barrel, inspect whether the barrel/chamber has corroded or not. If you were using military surplus rounds on your rifle, there are chances of rusting inside the barrel.

If there is rust, apply Windex or similar cleaning solutions into the barrel and wait for a few minutes before spraying clean water into the barrel to remove the rust.

Step 5: Clean the barrel with a dry patch

Attach a dry-cleaning patch to the cleaning rod and run it up the bore a couple of times. This is done to remove any loose dirt from the barrel. You must use a new patch every time you run it to avoid the risk of scratching the inside of the barrel.

Also, note that it is recommended to run the cleaning rod from the chamber to the firing end of the barrel and not the other way round.

Step 6: Clean the bore with bore cleaner

Take a new dry patch and apply a few drops of bore cleaner to it and impale it to the cleaning rod. Run the cleaning rod from the back to the front until the bore is clean. You can check whether the bore is clean or not by inspecting the patch that comes out of the other end.

Repeat the procedure until the patch comes out clean. Once this happens, run a dry patch to wipe off any remaining cleaner from the bore.

Step 7: Lubricate the rifle

This is probably the most important part of cleaning the rifle. Start with lubricating the barrel by running an oil dripped dry patch the way down the barrel using the cleaning rod. Once you are done with lubricating the barrel, lubricate the upper receiver, charging handle, fire control group, bolt catch button, mag release and safety selector.

Reassemble the rifle and thoroughly wipe off any leftover lubricating oil or solution using a cotton cloth.


Now that we have discussed cleaning your ar-15, let’s have a look at some cool parts to customise your ar-15 and to stand out from the crowd. Our Custom PMAGS are functional as other PMAGS but they add a sense of personality to your firearm.

We also have high-quality steel ejection port dust covers for you to choose from. Feel free to have a look into our collection and see whether it can ignite a spark of interest.