How To Clean A Paintball Gun – The Only Way?
How To Clean A Paintball Gun

How To Clean A Paintball Gun – The Only Way?

Learning how to clean a paintball gun is just as important as learning all the aspects of paintball. This article isn’t going to discuss why it’s essential, because if you play the game, you already know the answer to that question.

This article is going to discuss the best way to clean a paintball gun inside and outside.

To clean a paintball gun, you’re going to need a paintball gun cleaning kit, paintball gun oil, and a paintball barrel cleaner.

Before getting down to the task of cleaning, you should review your gun’s instruction manual. Typically every marker has one. Hopefully, you kept yours. If you threw it away by accident or didn’t come with the gun, then a quick search of the manufacturer’s website should help.

Most paintball markers are pretty similar in design, but knowing your marker’s specific parts and components are the best option.

To clean paintball guns, you need to fully break down the gun, cleaning each part in turn. Making sure you remove every bit of paint residue and dirt. Lubricate each of the elements and reassemble the marker. You then have one pristine, good as a new clean paintball gun.

We just discussed the equipment you’re going to need. The correct materials you use are crucial to ensure you’ve done the best possible job, and your gun will function as it should out in the field.

Quick Overview Of Tools For Cleaning A Paintball Gun

  • Pull through squeegees
  • An old toothbrush
  • Manufacturer’s oil for lubrication
  • Quality microfiber towel
  • Tools for disassembly (Allen keys)
  • Camera ( taking images of the disassembly – to help if this is your first time)

If you choose to buy the paintball gun cleaning kit, you might not need extra supplies, depending on the exact equipment you purchased.

Essentials Of Cleaning A Paintball Gun

De-gas Your Marker

The first step is for a safety protocol, and that’s to de-gas your gun. We all like to believe we’re careful, and you might be, but it makes sense because accidents can and do occur. Before you begin cleaning, remove the paintball gas tank from your gun. It doesn’t matter which propellent you use CO2 or HPA, remove the tank.

While the tank is off your gun, it’s a good idea to check for any signs of damage. Because they are expensive, you might consider buying a grip or cover to protect your tank.

By removing the tank, you make sure there is no risk of the gun firing accidentally. You might find your marker has an air source adapter that helps depressurize and remove the gas tank in a safe manner.

Disassemble The Paintball Gun

After degassing and removing batteries (if you have an electronic gun), you’re now ready to disassemble your paintball gun for cleaning. At this point is where your marker’s instruction manual and camera both come in handy. Follow the manual’s instructions for disassembly.

It’s advisable to break down the major parts of the gun only. You want to put it back together correctly; at each stage, take an image of what it looked like before you broke it down.

The most critical pieces requiring cleaning are the bolt and hammer, the barrel, paintball hopper, and the grip frame.

Before we discuss the actual cleaning, these few little tips might be of use for you:

Clean Work Area: Choose an area where you have room to work. Clear it of any debris or anything not connected to your gun or cleaning materials. This way, as you break the gun down, you have room to place the parts in an area that makes sense to you and doesn’t mix them up with something unconnected to the marker.

Be organized: Taking anything to pieces is always dead simple; putting it back together again is the problem. Especially if you’re new to the paintball gun or the first time you’ve stripped it down for cleaning. Some pieces will naturally go together. In this case, keep them together in the same area of your workspace; it’s also a great reminder that they go together.

Follow manufacturer’s guidelines: Referring back to the manual is usually the best option with stripping a gun. We have talked about this before. The manufacturer knows their paintball marker better than anyone, so it makes sense. They will say what you should and shouldn’t strip down and give you some helpful recommendations about the gun, such as how often it needs cleaning.

Start by removing the barrel, hopper, grip frame, and hammer (follow the manual closely here, and take your images). Each major part goes on its area of your workspace. Fasteners or screws you place close to the relevant part. Doing this makes it evident where they belong and makes assembling the gun so much easier.

Paintball Guns

Cleaning Your Paintball Gun

While you’re in the process of cleaning, you can check on the gun itself, making sure everything looks and functions as it should.

You can now begin cleaning each of the individual parts of your gun using the proper cleaning tool for that purpose.

After cleaning, you will lubricate the parts you should and put the gun back in its normal condition.

Clean The Grip Frame

The grip frame is self-explanatory, but it’s still a crucial area of the gun and needs cleaning correctly.

Tools you need to clean with are a toothbrush and Q-tips.

Don’t attempt to strip the trigger. There’s no reason to do so, and putting it back together will be a significant headache.

Try cleaning the grip with the Q-tips first. Dampen them and work the Q-tip on the dirt and grime the grip has accumulated. If this is proving hard to remove, try the toothbrush to scrub at the dirt.

Cleaning Mat & Q tips
Image credit: Twod

That’s the first step; next up comes the paintball gun’s barrel.

Cleaning The Paintball Gun Barrel

The barrel of any gun, be it a real gun or a paintball gun, must be kept meticulously clean. Dirt and grime down a gun barrel is a recipe for disaster. You might find you experience an incomplete discharge during a paintball game where the paintball gets stuck in the barrel. An incident like this occurs because of damage to the barrel or a residue buildup in the barrel.

To thoroughly clean your barrel, you’re going to need a paintball squeegee.

Exalt Paintball Barrel Maid Swab
Image credit: Exalt

There are three main types of squeegees: stick, swab, and pull-through.

A pull-through is long and flexible with cleaning material at one end. Insert the squeegee’s bare end into the screw end and feed it through until it comes out of the muzzle. Grasp the bare end and pull. The cleaning material at the other end removes the dirt and paint residue out with it.

Some paintball guns allow you to use the pull-through while the barrel is still in-place. If you have one of these guns, you can clean barrels in game-play. This method is the best way to clean your gun barrel.

A stick squeegee is a long tube. At one end is a spring-loaded plunger; at the other end is cleaning material. Press down on the plunger and insert the squeegee into the muzzle end and push it down, then release the plunger, and the material expands. Simply pull out the stick. These are more useful in gameplay if you have a paintball chop in the barrel.

Fluffy or folding swabs are wool or some kind of synthetic cleaning material fitted to a long stick. Push one down the gun barrel until it pops out the other end, bringing the dirt, etc., with it.

Virtue Paintball Premium Barrel Swab
Image credit: Virtue Paintball

Use a pull-through squeegee for better results, it may take a bit longer, but it will clean your barrel more efficiently. The other two methods are better for quicker cleaning in game-play.

Cleaning the Hammer and Bolt

For this stage, you’ll need one wet and one dry towel. A microfiber towel is perfect for this, but try not to use one of those overly plush towels.

Chemical Guys MIC35303 Workhorse Professional Grade Microfiber Towel
Image credit: Chemical Guys

Wipe the hammer and bolt with the wet towel. Remove as much dirt and paint as you can. Once that’s done, dry them thoroughly with a dry towel. Make sure they are perfectly dry. Next, check the O-rings; replace with new ones any that are worn.

Cleaning The Body Of The Paintball Gun

The body is the central part of the gun, so it needs a good clean, but it’s simple enough to clean.

To begin with, rub it down with a wet microfiber cloth, removing any dirt and paint. Don’t use any cleaning detergents and not too much water. Use a Q-tip to get into any creases or crevices you can’t reach with a cloth. If it’s been a while since you gave your gun a good clean, you might need to use something heavy-duty on the bodywork. A good toothbrush comes in handy for this part. Dry the body down with the dry towel.

Lubricating Your Paintball Gun

Ensure you buy lubricating oil approved for use on paintball guns.

Captain O-Ring Pure DOW 33 Paintball Lubricant Grease
Image credit: Captain O-Ring

Every piece of your paintball gun needs to be bone dry. Trying to lubricate when the part is still wet isn’t going to work. We recommend you use high-quality oil; it might be a bit more expensive, but worth it.

Using the correct amount of oil is essential. You have to do this by checking yourself. Not too much, so it drips off your gun and not too little that you can’t tell if there’s oil on the part or not.

Lightly coat the O-rings with oil; these are of prime importance. Once again, don’t overdo it.

Now, after all this hard work, you’re desperate to take your ultra-clean paintball gun back into the field again. So let’s put it all back together.

Putting Your Paintball Gun Back Together

Now is the time where your organization skills pay dividends. And even the extra step of taking those images is going to help. Because the guy that forgot to prepare is sitting there in a panic, wondering how the heck he fits this together?

Use your manual to reverse the steps you took to disassembly your gun. Refer to the images if it’s not 100% clear. Take this time to give your gun parts another quick once over to make sure they are all perfect.

Paintball Gun Maintenance

While learning how to strip down your paintball gun and thoroughly clean and oil the essential parts, so is your gun’s ongoing maintenance.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget to clean your gun after you have played. Thinking you’ll clean it before the next game can lead to issues, mostly if the next game happens to run into a few weeks.

Try to clean your gun after each game; it makes sense. Wipe down the exterior, but we recommend cleaning the barrel as well. The sooner you get the dirt and paint residue out of there, the better.

Keep your gun in a cool and dry place in your home. There are parts of your marker that might go rusty. If you know a piece is damaged, better to replace it sooner than later, and it will prevent more severe damage to your paintball marker.

It’s also a great idea to oil your gun before you go out for your next game. Paintball markers aren’t a cheap piece of equipment, so correct maintenance will help your gun’s life’s longevity.

In Conclusion

Learning how to clean a paintball gun the right way is something that’s going to come in handy for you. It’s a skill to strip down and maintain a paintball gun and make sure that it functions as it should every time you play. It will also help you save money by maintaining your marker in the best possible condition.

To quickly cover the steps you need to take:

Have your equipment at hand: you’ll need a paintball gun cleaning kit, a squeegee, and paintball gun lubrication.

Take things one step at a time:

  • Find a clean and debris free space to work
  • De-gas your gun
  • Disassemble the gun by following the user’s manual and taking images of the parts you are removing
  • Clean the various parts of your paintball gun
  • Inspect every part for any damage or non-functioning components
  • Lubricate your gun and put everything back together