Can You Use WD-40 On Guns?

The vast majority of people will own a bottle of WD-40, but will be completely unaware of what it is made of. This is because the formula has been kept a secret from the public for over 60 years! 

The ‘WD’ in WD-40 refers to ‘water displacement’ and what we are aware of is that WD-40 uses a unique blend of different lubricants.

Can You Use WD-40 On Guns (1)

This blend makes it the best solvent for removing unwanted stickers and rest. However, whether it is the best product for cleaning your weapon is highly questionable. 

Some gun owners will use WD-40 to use their weapon without any issues. However, these people have usually owned a weapon for many years prior to the introduction of specified gun cleaning solvents.

Therefore, they were forced to use products like WD-40 in order to improvise and have simply never adjusted their cleaning routine. In my opinion, using a lubricant like Break Free is more preferable than using WD-40, as the latter was not specifically designed to clean your weapons.

Using WD-40 can arguably make your gun become slow and sluggish because it leaves some oil on the surface of the weapon, which results in the accumulation of dirt.

In poorer weather conditions, this build-up can be incredibly difficult to clean off.

Therefore, despite WD-40 being one of the best solvents with a hardcore consumer base, it is not the best way to prevent any build-up from occurring on your guns. 

What Is In WD-40?

As previously mentioned, WD-40 contains a mix of relatively unknown lubricants including baby oil, decade, dimethyl naphthalene, carbon dioxide and Vaseline. 


is typically found in petroleum-based products like kerosene, it is also often used for industrial reasons and derives in liquid form. It is classified as a hydrocarbon and is used in the product because it helps to even the mixture of the lubricants, especially at colder temperatures. 


is also a colorless liquid that is contained in WD-40. It is insoluble and, thus, water repellent. It is this substance that ensures that the WD-40 sticks to the surface of your weapon, as it doesn’t allow for heavier molecules to pass through. 

Carbon Dioxide

is also present within WD-40 and plays an essential part of the propellant nature of the substance. 

Dimethyl Naphthalene

derives in a variety of forms. However, in this product, it derives as a solvent. 

Can You Use WD-40 On Guns (1) (1)

So, Why Is WD-40 Not Suitable For Cleaning Guns?

Despite the propensity of these chemicals, WD-40 isn’t suitable for cleaning weapons.

This is because whilst it can be used as a lubricant, the mixture of the lubricants that I have outlined means that it mainly acts as a solvent.

A solvent doesn’t tend to entirely remove unwanted residue from your weapon. Instead, it dissolves it and merely transports any dirt or debris to another part of the weapon.

Of course, you can remove some of the dirt on your gun by using a clean cloth alongside a solvent, however, it is unlikely that you will be able to thoroughly remove all the debris.

This is also why using WD-40 can lead to your gun jamming as particles are moved around the weapon. 

WD-40 also evaporates fast. Therefore, if you are storing or shooting your weapon, you cannot expect WD-40 to protect it for a long period of time.

This eventually leads to a build-up of debris or rest starting to form on your weapon. 

Ultimately, if you do not have any other alternative form of weapon cleaner within your household, then you can use WD-40 to clean your weapon.

The combination of lubricants can remove unwanted debris, dirt and moisture from your gun to an extent. However, you should be aware that it could well lead to a further build-up at a later stage. 


To conclude, if you are seeking to thoroughly clean your weapon, then you should avoid using WD-40.

Whilst the mixture of lubricants contained within WD-40 will be able to remove dirt and clean your weapon to a degree, using WD-40 can actually lead to a worsened build-up of dirt thereafter.

In order to properly clean your gun, you should try to choose an alternative cleaner that has been specifically made for gun cleaning.

Doing this will save you a lot of hassle, especially during the winter months, when a build-up will be even harder to clean.

It is also important to note that WD-40 evaporates quickly and thus, your weapon will be more likely to develop rust. 

To avoid this, you should purchase an aerosol cleaner that has been designed to clean weapons or an alternative product that allows you to clean your weapon without causing any further hassle.

As always, you should ensure that you are following gun safety guidelines when cleaning your weapon and do so whilst there is no other person present.

You should also ensure that your weapon is not loaded during the cleaning process to avoid any hazardous situations from occurring.

Whilst this may seem like an obvious step to most gun owners, it can be easy to forget to check whether your weapon is loaded prior to cleaning it, and this can lead to serious injury or death. 

You can also consult with weapon specialists if you are eager to use WD-40 to clean your weapon, as they will be able to provide you with further information as to whether you should use a solvent to disperse any build-up of dirt on your gun. 

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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