How To Clean An AR 15: A Comprehensive Guide

How To Clean An AR 15

The AR-15 is a popular and versatile rifle for hunting, goal shooting, and even tactical operations. However, it’s important to clean it frequently to determine that the rifle works effectively and lasts for a long time. A dirty AR-15 can experience misfires, jamming, and lower accuracy.

This comprehensive guide will list the steps and instruments needed to effectively clean your AR-15 and maintain it in top working condition. Whether you’re a first-time AR-15 owner or a seasoned shooter, this guide will equip you with the skills and knowledge to care for your rifle effectively.

Tools and Supplies Needed to Clean AR 15

You will require various tools and materials to clean your AR-15 thoroughly. Look at some equipment and resources needed to clean a AR 15.


You’ll need a suitable gun-cleaning solvent to clean your AR-15 rifle of dirt, carbon buildup, or other debris. Many use Hoppe’s No. 9, Break-Free CLP, and M-Pro 7 LPX as solvents.


To maintain proper operation of the AR 15, it is crucial to oil the moving parts after cleaning. The widely used lubricants Ballistol, Slip 2000 EWL, and Mil-Comm TW25B are a few.

Cleaning brushes

To thoroughly clean your AR 15, you’ll need a selection of brushes. These consist of a tiny brush for the bolt carrier group, a bore brush, and a chamber brush.

Cleaning patches or rags

You will also require rags and cleaning patches since they are used to clean and dry the weapon and apply lubricants and solvents.

Rods or cleaning supplies

A cleaning rod or kit must push the brushes through the barrel and chamber.

A cleaning mat or a towel

You should also have a towel or cleaning mat on hand to protect your work surface and facilitate cleaning a AR 15.

Remembering that quality matters when cleaning products and materials is vital. Purchasing high-quality supplies will facilitate and improve the cleaning of AR 15. Furthermore, it’s critical to use the proper solvent and lubricant for the unique composition of your AR 15.

Disassembling the AR-15

The first step in cleaning the AR-15 is disassembling it. Let’s dive in and read about how to disassemble the AR-15 step by step.

  1. Ensure that the rifle is empty and that you have taken out the magazine.
  2. Now push the rear takedown pin to the left, which is situated above the trigger. The upper receiver will be able to pivot forward on the front takedown pin.
  3. The next step is to split the top and lower receivers apart carefully. While doing this, make sure that you do not lose any pieces.
  4. Now unscrew the top receiver to remove the bolt carrier group (BCG).
  5. After that, unhook the charging handle from the upper receiver by dragging it out.
  6. Pull on the buffer retainer to remove the buffer and buffer spring from the bottom receiver.
  7. Now pull out the two pins on the lower receiver’s left and right sides to disassemble the trigger assembly.
  8. The grip can be removed by removing the screw at the base of the pistol grip.
  9. Pull the handguard away from the barrel nut.
  10. The firearm should now be dismantled entirely.

It’s crucial to treat each component gently and to keep note of any little components that might be taken out during disassembly. Laying up the components of your AR 15 in the removal sequence is a nice approach to arranging them. This will simplify putting your AR-15 rifle back together later. Storing the parts in a dry, clean environment is crucial to avoid rust or damage.

Once your rifle is disassembled, cleaning each part separately is the next step.

Cleaning the Upper Receiver

Cleaning the upper receiver is essential if you want your AR 15 to keep functioning without causing issues. Here is how you can clean a AR 15 rifle’s upper receiver:

Clean the barrel

Firstly apply a small amount of solvent to the cleaning patch. Now run the patch through the rifle’s barrel from the chamber end to the muzzle end. With a bore brush, clean the barrel, paying special attention to the chamber and the rifling. Continue doing this until the patches are clean.

Clean the bolt carrier group (BCG)

Scrub the BCG using a brush and solvent, paying special attention to the carrier, bolt, and gas key. Make sure to get rid of any dirt or carbon buildup that may be there. After cleaning, lightly lubricate the BCG and remove any excess lubricant.

Clean the charging handle

The next step is to scrub the charging handle using a solvent and brush. Make sure to remove all the dirt from the charging handle. After cleaning, lightly lubricate it and wipe off any extra lubricant.

Clean the upper receiver

Scrub the upper receiver like the charging handle. But remember to pay close attention to the receiver’s interior and feed ramps. After cleaning them, use a clean rag to dry the receiver.

Clean the barrel extension

Clean the barrel extension as well using the solvent. The barrel is located inside the upper receiver. While cleaning the barrel extension, remember to remove all the dirt carefully to have a functioning AR 15 on your hunting trip.

Clean the barrel nut

When cleaning the barrel nut, be sure to pay attention to the threads and the inside of the nut. You can use a brush and solvent to clean it. After cleaning, use a fresh rag to polish the barrel nut.

Before putting the upper receiver back together, be sure to dry each component completely.

Cleaning the Lower Receiver

If you want your AR-15 to keep functioning without glitches, then it is important to clean the lower receiver as well. We below-listed step-by-step instructions to clean your AR 15 rifle lower receiver. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s read on and start the cleaning process to clean the receiver.

Clean the trigger assembly

Clean the trigger assembly using a brush and solvent. Make sure to pay close attention to the hammer, trigger, and disconnector. While cleaning it, remember to remove the dirt or debris thoroughly. After cleaning, lightly lubricate the trigger assembly and remove any extra lubricant.

Clean the magazine well

Using the same solvent and brush as for trigger assembly, remove the dirt on your AR 15’s magazine. After cleaning, carefully dry the magazine using a clean cloth.

Clean the buffer tube

When you are cleaning the buffer tube, make sure to clean the inside of the tube and the threads. Once they are clean, dab the buffer tube down using a fresh and clean rag.

Clean the buffer retainer and buffer spring

After the buffer tube, clean the buffer retainer and buffer spring following the same method and remove any dirt or debris that may be present. After you are done with cleaning, lubricate the buffer spring using a small amount of lubricant and make sure to remove any excess.

Clean the pistol grip and lower the receiver

Using a brush and solvent, clean the pistol grip and lower receiver, giving close attention to the interior of the receiver and the buffer retainer. After cleaning, use a clean rag to dry them.

Reassembling the AR-15

After cleaning all the parts, it is time to reassemble your AR 15. The reassembling process might be a bit tricky, but with the patience and the right steps, you’ll have your rifle back up and running. Read on and reassemble your AR 15 in no time.

Start with the upper receiver

The barrel, barrel extension, and barrel nut should be reinstalled. Ensure that the barrel is correctly positioned and torqued according to the specifications. The charging handle, bolt carrier group, and other components you removed from the upper receiver should all be reinstalled.

Move on to the lower receiver

After reassembling the upper receiver, it’s time to reassemble the lower one as well. The pistol grip, buffer retainer, buffer spring, and buffer tube must all be reinstalled. Verify that the buffer retainer is positioned well and with adequate alignment. Replace the magazine well, trigger assembly, and any other components you have removed from the lower receiver.

Reinstall the buffer and buffer spring

Ensure that the buffer and buffer spring is positioned securely and in the correct alignment.

Reinstall the stock

Now it’s time to install the stock. Make sure the stock is aligned properly and firmly in place.

Function test the rifle

It’s crucial to function test your weapon to ensure everything is in functioning order before using it. Check your rifle’s trigger, safety, magazine release, and any other features to make sure they work as intended.

Keeping track of your rifle’s cleaning and maintenance is smart because it will enable you to see any potential problems down the road.

Tips to Maintain and Store AR 15

After cleaning and reassembling, now is time for some tips to keep your AR 15 maintained properly. Here are some of the tips that will help you maintain and store your rifle properly.

Regular cleaning

Make sure to clean your AR 15 after every six months or after every 500 fire rounds. Doing this will increase the life of your rifle, and you will have a great hunting experience whenever you are on a hunting trip with your friend.


It’s crucial to regularly check your AR-15 for wear and tear to spot any problems and fix them before they worsen. Look for any cracks, rust, or other indications of deterioration and take prompt action.


If your AR 15 has corrosion, then it will definitely cause issues during a hog-hunting expedition. Therefore, make sure to lubricate your AR-15 and have a corrosion-free operation. Remember to lubricate well all the parts but don’t overdo it.

Proper storage

Your AR-15 must be stored properly to remain in good operating condition. Keep your AR-15 out of the moisture and sun by storing it in a cool and dry place. Use a secure firearm storage container or cabinet for extra safety.

Use proper ammunition

Right ammunition is important for any gun or rifle. The same is true for AR 15. Therefore. Always remember to use the right type of ammunition.


Your AR-15 needs to be cleaned and maintained regularly to function properly. By doing so, you will have your rifle ready whenever you need it.

Proper supplies and tools play an essential role when cleaning an AR-15 rifle. Doing routine cleaning of AR 15, inspecting it from time to time, lubricating well and storing it properly will keep your rifle in functioning condition.

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