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How To Clean Cosmoline Off Your Firearm

Last week, I showed you how to hide your guns around the house, in plain sight. This time, I`d like to get into the specifics and show you how to clean your gun after its “hibernation” period. I know there are a lot of gun owners who prep their firearms before putting them away. First, they disassemble the gun, then they coat every part with Cosmoline (or an alternative) and then pack the parts in plastic wrap. It`s a good way to make sure your gun won`t turn into a pile of rust while sitting in its hidey hole.

But here`s where the tricky part comes in. When you decide to bring your gun back to life, you`ll need to clean all that Cosmoline off it. And if you don`t know the right way to do it, you`re probably going to end up cursing the day you decided use the “gooey stuff” on your firearms. So, hopefully, this article will spare you of moments like this and help you get back your gun in perfect shape, even after 15 years of “retirement”.

First thing you should do before getting to the actual cleaning part is safety measures:

#1: Read the instructions on the bottles of any chemicals you may use and follow them closely.

#2: Use gloves during the entire process! You don`t want to get stuff on your hands, neither Cosmoline, nor any other chemical involved in the procedure.

#3: Wear a cloth around your nose and mouth. Inhaling paint thinner vapors may irritate your nose and your air vessel, so you`d better protect yourself. If you start getting dizzy from the smell, just take a break, breathe in some fresh air, and then get back to the cleaning.

#4: Clean your firearm in a well ventilated area. This will prevent the dizziness and the chemical vapour inhaling, so don`t miss this crucial step.

#5: Wear safety goggles. At some point, you may have to use an air compressor, so it`s best to protect your eyes while cleaning the goo off your gun. If you don`t have a pair of goggles, just be extra careful not to get anything in your eyes.

#6: Wash your hands thoroughly when you`re done. I know this looks like a no-brainer, but when I say thoroughly… I mean scrub your hands and nails with a brush. You don`t want to get any of the chemicals in your eyes, nose or mouth. So make sure your hands are perfectly clean after you`re done with the cleaning.

Now that I know you`ll be safe and sound all throughout the procedure, here`s the list of things you`ll need for the job:

- Mineral spirits

- Toothbrush

- Cotton swabs

- Paint brush

- Bucket or Paint roller tray

- Air compressor

- Detergent or soap

- Water

- Soft cloth

Once you`ve got all the “ingredients”, you just need to follow these instructions and you`ll have a perfectly clean and functional firearm.

Step 1: Check if the gun is unloaded

Before starting the cleaning operation, you should make sure there is no way you could injure yourself or anyone else around you.

Step 2: (In case your gun is assembled) Disassemble your gun

This way, you can clean each part separately and make sure every drop of Cosmoline is removed before firing your gun again.

Step 3: Prep gun parts for the cleaning

After the disassembling, you should place the parts in a bucket or on a paint roller tray in which you`ve poured mineral spirits. Don`t pour too much of it, the liquid doesn`t need to cover all the parts, so 3 inches will do.

Warning: Do NOT use gasoline or brake cleaner! Only mineral spirits!

Step 4: Get down to work

First, soak the paint brush in mineral spirits and the gun parts thoroughly. This will not completely remove the goo, so you`ll have to rub it off with a toothbrush until it`s completely gone.

When you see the mineral spirits in the bucket or tray gets too dirty, change it.

Step 5: Heat non-metallic parts

Take those gun parts made of wood or plastic and put them in the oven at its lowest temperature. Wait until the Cosmoline liquefies. It will be much easier to remove it once it`s liquid. Then simply wipe the parts with a rag and/or a brush to clean it. You can also use soapy water or a mild detergent, if you want to speed things up.

Attention: The temperature should NOT exceed 150 degrees!

Step 6: Use an air compressor to clean the areas you can`t reach

You know those little tiny spots you can`t reach, not even with a toothbrush. Well, you`ll have to get the Cosmoline out of there somehow, so I suggest you use an air compressor to remove it from whatever tight corner it may hide in.

Step 7: Wipe the gun parts with a soft cloth

After you`re done cleaning your gun, wipe each part with a soft dry cloth. Then let the parts rest on the cloth for 30 minutes, to air dry.

Step 8: Lubricate metal parts to prevent rust

This is a final touch and it`s optional. But I advise you not to skip it, because it will protect your guns many years from then on.

Step 9: Assemble the gun and try it out. Enjoy!

By Alec Deacon

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