Homemade Gun Cleaner

By Holly Moore
Hoppe's makes a range of gun cleaning products.

Most stores where guns are sold will have gun cleaner available as well. But, if you want to produce your own homemade gun cleaner, it is possible. Homemade versions of gun cleaner often work just as well as the store-bought kind. If you are an avid shooter and go through a lot of gun cleaner, it may benefit you to make your own.

Ed's Red Gun Cleaner

The most popular gun cleaner recipe is called Ed's Red, created by gun writer Ed Harris. Harris created his homemade gun cleaner in 1991 and it is still being used today. After realizing how much money he was spending on gun cleaner, Harris decided to use common hardware store ingredients to create his own gun cleaner. The mixture works well on any gun, but not as well as other cleaners for fast removal of heavy copper fouling on rifle bores. Ed's Red mixture does work well for removing plastic fouling from shotgun bores, caked carbon inn semiautomatic rifles or pistols, or leading in revolvers. Ed's Red is flammable and should be stored properly. Be wary of using this mixture on guns with wood finishes.

The recipe consists of deodorized kerosene (which is used for indoor space heaters), dextron II ATF (automatic transmission fluid), Stoddard's Solvent (also known as mineral spirits), acetone and Lanolin (optional). The acetone can be left out if you are using the mixture indoors because of the fumes. The cleaner will still work but it will not be as fast acting. If you do use the acetone, keep the lid on tightly when you store the mixture because the acetone will evaporate. Mix outdoors, in good ventilation. Mixing instructions can be found at Dan Young's Firearms Pages.

Other Homemade Gun Cleaners

According to The Spirit of '76 Gun Page, lead cleaner can be composed of white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. A copper out solution can be made from 3.62g/l of copper (II) acetate and 38.5g/l of ammonium acetate in distilled or deionized water. And a lead out solution consists of 38.5g/l of ammonium acetate and 6.50g/l of lead (II) acetate in distilled or deionized water.

Saving Money

Homemade gun cleaner will save you money, especially if you use a lot of it. Usually at close to $10 a bottle, the amount of money you spend on the store-bought cleaner adds up quickly.