How to Clean an AR-15: A Step-by-Step Guide

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In this guide, I will share with you, How to Clean an AR-15, a straightforward way to clean an AR-15 rifle. The AR-15 is a widely used firearm for fun activities as well as for protecting oneself. It is crucial to clean it properly to keep it working well and reliably.

Let us dive into the steps needed to clean your AR-15:

Gather Your Tools and Materials: How to Clean an AR-15

First, make sure you have everything you need to start cleaning.

Follow the Safety Precautions

Safety first! Before you start cleaning, you must ensure the rifle is not loaded and it is safe to handle.

Disassemble the Rifle: How to Clean an AR-15

Take apart your rifle so you can clean each part thoroughly.

Clean the Upper Receiver

Let’s start with the upper receiver. You will need a few items like a brush, solvent, and a cloth.

First off, take out the bolt carrier group from the upper part. Next, with your brush, put some solvent inside the upper receiver and scrub. After that, use your cloth to wipe away the solvent along with any dirt.

Make sure to clean these parts of the upper receiver:

  • The chamber
  • The bolt carrier group area
  • The gas tube
  • The ejection port

After cleaning, put it back together, and you are done with this part!

Clean the Upper Receiver

Yes, we are cleaning the upper receiver again, but let’s go over it one more time to ensure it’s spotless.

You need the same tools: a brush, solvent, and a rag.

  • Remove the bolt carrier group again.
  • Spray your cleaning brush with solvent.
  • Brush inside the upper receiver thoroughly, reaching all the small spaces.
  • Wipe the inside with your rag to get rid of any leftover solvent.

Once clean, put the bolt carrier group back and reattach it to the upper receiver.

Clean the Lower Receiver

Now, let’s focus on the lower receiver:

  • First, take out the magazine and make sure the bolt is locked back.
  • Next, separate the upper receiver from the lower one.
  • Use your brush to clean inside the lower receiver.
  • Apply solvent to your rag and wipe the inside clean.

After cleaning, reassemble your rifle.

Clean the Barrel

The barrel needs a rod, a bore brush, and some solvent to get clean.

  1. Put the cleaning rod into the barrel, attach the bore brush at the end.
  2. Put solvent on the brush and scrub inside the barrel.
  3. Keep scrubbing until all the dirt is gone.
  4. Use a clean cloth to wipe the inside of the barrel.
  5. Do these steps over until the barrel is completely clean.

Clean the Bolt Carrier Group

For the bolt carrier group, you will need:

  • A cleaning brush
  • Cleaning solvent
  • A rag

First, take the bolt carrier group out of the rifle. Dip your brush in solvent and scrub the bolt carrier group well. Make sure to clean every little space. Lastly, wipe it with your rag.

Now, the bolt carrier group is clean and ready to go back into the rifle.


After everything is clean, you can put your AR-15 back together. Here are the steps:

  • Put the bolt carrier group back into the upper receiver.
  • Make sure the gas key lines up with the gas tube hole.
  • Turn the bolt carrier group until it’s properly in place.
  • Slide the charging handle into the upper receiver.
  • Attach the dust cover, forward assist, and the barrel.
  • Make sure the barrel is correctly aligned and seated.
  • Secure the barrel nut.
  • Attach the handguard, gas block, and gas tube.

After reassembling your AR-15, it’s a good idea to test fire it to ensure everything is working as it should.

Following these simple steps will help you keep your AR-15 in top condition, ensuring it performs well whether you are at the range or need it for self-defense. Remember, taking care of your firearm is part of being a responsible owner.

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