Can You Clean a Gun With WD40? {Complete Guide}

Can you clean a gun with WD40? Let’s learn how to remove rust from a gun with WD40 in this article.

WD40 is not specially designed as a lubricant or a cleaner. However, there is a possibility for a major danger of using WD40 around firearms. 

It can penetrate the primer pocket and ruin the ammo. Some people spray their guns and sometimes their ammo and then wipe them down.

Also check: Perfect gun cleaning Kit

What’s in WD-40?

Most of you undoubtedly have a bottle in your possession, but do you know what it’s composed of? 

Certainly not, because it’s a trade secret! The multi-use product’s recipe has been kept hidden from the public for almost 60 years.

Another interesting fact is that the recipe for Duct Tape has been kept a secret, and that is why the first sticky tape is the finest.

The Old Way to Clean Your Gun

I came across someone who cleaned all his firearms with WD40 for 30 years before converting to Break-Free before writing this post. 

He’s never had any rust issues with his firearms, or any other issues for that matter. 

Some individuals appear to be prejudiced against the usage of WD-40 and claim that they’d never use it, but let me share what my buddy stated.

There were few gun cleaning solutions available 30 years ago, so folks were forced to adapt. 

Because there were no aerosol gun washing sprays at the time, most people began using WD40 when it was released. 

My guns were rather slow in their functioning when I used them earlier in the day, especially in the cold. 

This problem vanished when I switched to Break Free lubrication, mostly because WD40 isn’t meant to clean weapons.WD40 is a solvent that evaporates quickly and leaves very little oil behind. 

As a result, more dust and filth will be drawn to the surface, resulting in a beautiful coating of muck on your weapon. When it’s chilly outside, this may be a real pain in the neck to clean up.

Also check: How to Keep Guns From Rusting

What is WD-40 Made of?

WD-40 is a mixture of lubricants, as previously stated. It’s made up of Decane, Dimethyl Naphthalene, Nonane, and CO2 and mineral oils such as vaseline and child oils.


Decane may be found in a variety of petroleum products, including kerosene. Decane is a colorless liquid that is commonly utilized for industrial reasons. 

It has the formula C10H22 and belongs to the alkane series of hydrocarbons. Decane is utilized in WD-40 because it aids in keeping the lubricant mixture liquid even at low temperatures.


Nonane is also a clear, colorless liquid with the molecular formula C9H20. The liquid is water repellent because it is water-insoluble.

It’s also less thick than water; thus, its presence in WD-40 causes the lubricant to adhere to the weapon’s surface rather than allowing heavier water molecules to pass through.

Dimethyl Naphthalene

The molecular formula for dimethyl naphthalene is C12H12, and it appears in various forms. However, it is mostly utilized as a solvent in WD-40.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is also included in WD-40. Carbon dioxide is utilized as a propellant.

Why Isn’t WD-40 Safe for Guns?

To begin answering this topic, consider which we use to clean a pistol. Cleaning, lubricating, and preserving the gun are vital functions of gun solvents.

Cleaning Properties

While WD-40 could be used as lubrication, it is unsuitable for gun cleaning due to its other qualities. 

The lubricant mixture primarily serves as a solvent. The residue will not be removed from your pistol, but it will be dissolved and transported to another section of the gun.

If you use the solvent and a clean cloth together, you can eliminate some of the pollutants from your gun, but it won’t be able to remove all of them. That’s why, in the cold, WD-40 causes weapons to slow down and clog.

Also check: How to Use a Gun cleaning kits

Lubrication Properties

WD-40 is a highly quick-evaporating product. You can’t count on WD-40 to protect your gun, whether you’re firing it or storing it. Rust, as well as other damage, will result as a result of this.

Watch the video below for more understanding.

You May be Wondering: Should You Clean Your Gun After Each Use?


  1. Can you use WD40 on AR15

    WD-40 is okay for deep cleaning when disassembling your firearm. It not only displaces the water from your gun but also has its signature ability to keep it from rusting as long as you have performance oil on it before storing it.


Cleaning your weapons with WD-40 isn’t absolutely undesirable if you don’t have any other options in the house. 

Although the mixture of lubricants will remove filth and humidity from your weapon, you should be aware of the residue accumulated when you use it later.

If you’re doing a thorough cleaning, WD-40 may suffice. If you have the choice, though, you should always use a more specialized product designed specifically for gun cleaning. 

We hope that our information on cleaning weapons using WD-40 has aided you in determining the best method for cleaning your pistol. is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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I'm an passionate gun cleaning expert from NY US. My goal is to save you time by doing the leg work for you and putting all the essential information in one location to be confident about the cleaning your gun.

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