How To Build A Micro Cleaning Kit For Your Guns

The remote cabin appeared to be an ideal location for a strategic retreat, and indeed, it initially served as a valuable safe haven. However, as days and weeks elapsed, contrary to expectations, normalcy did not return. It became evident that you and your loved ones were pitted against the world.

The situation took a turn for the worse when the first group of individuals emerged, resembling an enraged mob from a zombie movie. It became apparent that a peaceful resolution was unlikely as they aggressively sought ways to breach your perimeter defense.

Their weapons, gleaming like beacons in the night, signaled impending trouble at your doorstep. It was imperative to convey that you meant business. Shouting at them to retreat or face the consequences, you asserted your stance. The unfolding confrontation revealed the gravity of the situation, prompting you to take decisive action.

Uncertain about their course of action, the intruders persisted upon realizing that you possessed something worth defending. With determination, you raised your Remington 870 shotgun and discharged 00 buckshot, striking one of them in the chest. In response, they retaliated, seeking cover, but you strategically targeted and repelled their advances. You maintained control over the backwoods and countryside, defending against the invading force. The prolonged struggle took a toll on your weapons, making firearm maintenance challenging due to scarce supplies.

In such dire circumstances, it was noted that while individuals readily brought firearms, magazines, and ammunition when chaos ensued, cleaning supplies were often overlooked. Whether preparing for a mob home invasion or a natural disaster displacing thousands, it is advisable to have a comprehensive firearms kit.

This kit should include tools, spare parts, and essential cleaners and lubricants. Let’s explore the creation of a micro cleaning kit that is compact and easy to pack for such situations. What to put in your gun micro cleaning kit

Gun micro cleaning kit contents:

Cleaning Cloth

To effectively wipe away dirt, carbon, and debris from your firearm, it’s crucial to have an appropriate type of cloth. While almost any piece of cloth will do the job, standard-colored handkerchiefs are particularly effective. They are thin, absorb fluids efficiently, and can be easily folded into compact sections. A practical approach is to cut a standard-sized handkerchief in half, wrap it around your BoreSnake, and pack it away for convenience.

An alternative option is to utilize custom-cut sections of cloth from men’s white undershirts, providing a cost-effective and readily available solution. When selecting cleaning cloths, prioritize materials made from 100-percent cotton, as they tend to absorb fluids better than other blends. This ensures a more effective cleaning process and contributes to the overall maintenance of your firearm.

Additionally, consider the practicality of having multiple cloth sections in your cleaning kit, allowing you to replace them as needed during the maintenance process. Keeping your firearm clean and well-maintained is essential for optimal performance and longevity, especially in scenarios where resources may be limited.


clp for micro cleaning kit

To ensure proper firearms maintenance, it is essential to employ various task-specific cleaning solutions, typically categorized into cleaners, lubricants, and preservatives.

Cleaners are formulated to dissolve carbon and copper fouling, effectively cleaning all surfaces of the firearm and the bore of the barrel. Lubricants, which consist of various types of oils, are applied to coat metal surfaces that come into contact.

Their purpose is to reduce friction and drag between metal components, while also suspending dirt and fouling in the fluid, preventing their accumulation over extended use. Preservatives are liquids that create a thin film on the metal parts of the firearm, serving as a protective barrier against rust and corrosion resulting from exposure to the environment.

While all three components are crucial for long-term firearm maintenance, carrying separate bottles for each can be impractical for a compact cleaning kit. Fortunately, there are products designed to address multiple cleaning tasks, known as CLP (Cleaner, Lubricant, Preservative).

Notable examples include Break-Free and SLIP2000, both capable of performing all three cleaning functions with a single solution. While individual solutions may offer superior performance within their specific categories, CLPs provide a balanced performance across the board.

When assembling a micro cleaning kit, opting for a CLP solution becomes a practical choice, allowing you to effectively meet all cleaning requirements without burdening your bug-out bag with multiple bottles. An easily packable ½-ounce bottle of CLP, when used judiciously, can last through several cleaning sessions, making it a convenient and efficient solution for maintaining your firearm in various scenarios.

Cleaning Rod

Traditional bore cleaning tools typically utilize a metal rod, either in sections or as a single piece unit. The rod’s end is threaded, allowing for the attachment of various cleaning accessories such as a wire brush for scrubbing the barrel and different diameter barrel jags. Patches are then wrapped around the jag to create a seal, facilitating the removal of fouling from the bore and the application of protective oils inside.

However, conventional cleaning rods have drawbacks – they are bulky to store, even the sectional ones, and are susceptible to bending and breaking. Moreover, they necessitate the use of at least two detachable accessories: the wire cleaning brush and the bore jag, adding to the complexity of the cleaning process.

A superior alternative that consolidates all these features into a compact package is the BoreSnake by Hoppes. This innovative tool comprises a braided nylon cord with small sections of wire bristles integrated into the weave. A short section of nylon preceding the bristles allows for the application of cleaning solution, while a longer braided nylon section behind the bristles aids in pulling out any loosened debris.

The BoreSnake serves as a comprehensive replacement for the cleaning rod, wire brush, and jags, all condensed into a single braided cord that can be tightly folded for efficient storage. This makes the BoreSnake an indispensable centerpiece for any micro cleaning kit, offering convenience, versatility, and space efficiency in firearm maintenance.

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Exploring Bore-Cleaning Alternatives

Inspired by the well-established design of the BoreSnake, we can ingeniously fashion a comparable tool using a length of 550 paracord. By tying several knots into the paracord to match the bore’s diameter, we can create a makeshift cleaning device. Once assembled, simply pull the cord through the chamber and bore to effectively eliminate any fouling.

In situations where paracord is not readily available, resourceful substitutes like bootlaces or bungee cords can be employed. These alternatives, while unconventional, prove to be effective stand-ins. Another creative solution involves utilizing fishing string equipped with a hook small enough to navigate the firearm’s bore. By folding several sections of cloth over the hook, this improvised setup can be pulled through the bore, providing a unique yet practical approach to bore cleaning.

Exploring Nice-to-Have Options

exploring nice to have options

Even though our micro cleaning kit is already comprehensive, there are a couple of additional accessories that can enhance the ease of our cleaning tasks, requiring only a minimal trade-off in packing space. The first beneficial addition is a small section of grade #0000 steel wool, specifically the superfine grade. This proves invaluable for scrubbing off hardened carbon fouling, particularly on components like the AR-15 bolt, making the cleaning process much more efficient.

The second accessory is a small brush, and a practical choice for this purpose is an old toothbrush with the handle cut down to size. This modified toothbrush provides an effective tool for reaching and cleaning various nooks and crannies of the firearm, ensuring a thorough cleaning session. These optional accessories can be easily incorporated into the micro cleaning kit, offering added versatility without significantly increasing the overall packing space required.

Exploring Substitute Cleaners

The realm of substitute cleaners for firearms maintenance is virtually boundless and limited only by one’s imagination. Almost any cleaner commonly utilized on machinery can be repurposed for cleaning firearms.

Among the numerous options available, automotive brake and drum spray cleaners, as well as heavy-duty marine degreasers, stand out as effective choices. In scenarios where typical automotive or machinery cleaning solutions are scarce, fuel from abandoned cars, including gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, or kerosene, can be employed for cleaning purposes.

Furthermore, a range of home-cleaning solutions can also prove effective. Substitutes like mineral spirits, paint thinner, Simple Green, or even Formula 409 cleaner can be adapted for firearm cleaning. Don’t underestimate the efficacy of dishwashing soaps like Dawn or any other grease-removing detergent.

An unconventional yet tried-and-true method involves using Coca-Cola. Due to its high acidity, Coke can effectively clean dirty firearm parts. Regardless of the chosen substitute cleaner, it is imperative to ensure that all firearm components are thoroughly rinsed and dried before reassembly, maintaining the integrity and functionality of the firearm.

Exploring SHTF Lube and Preservative Alternatives


Substitute lubricants and preservatives can effectively serve the same purpose, with most lubricants doubling as preservatives. Applying a thin coating of lubricant on exposed metal surfaces provides a degree of corrosion protection. It’s crucial to strike a balance, using enough liquid to create a slight shine on the metal without making it appear or feel wet to the touch.

Finding substitute lubricants is relatively straightforward, as various machinery requiring engines demands lubrication. Vehicle fluids such as motor oil, transmission fluid, or hydraulic fluid can all serve as effective lubricants for firearms. Additionally, lubricants used for home and gardening tools, including lawnmowers, chainsaws, gas-powered weed whackers, and generators, can be repurposed for firearm maintenance.

Another viable lubricant option is grease, readily available at vehicle grease points on chassis and suspension components. A simple swipe of grease with a finger can serve as an effective lubricant. Even common petroleum jelly offers a level of lubrication. Creativity is key in sourcing lubrication alternatives, so consider anything with an engine as a potential source for maintaining your firearms.


The catalyst for assembling a micro cleaning kit shouldn’t solely be the fear of a home invasion. Dedicate some time to collect the necessary supplies for creating a lightweight yet efficient kit, and include it with your firearm and bug-out gear. For those with multiple go-bags strategically placed for different emergencies, ensure each pack is equipped with its own cleaning kit.

In the unfortunate event of being separated from your cleaning supplies, rest assured that you possess the knowledge and skills to improvise a kit in the field. Similar to any survival skill, cultivating awareness and harnessing creativity are essential for adapting to the challenges life may present.

Consider this proactive approach not only as a response to immediate threats but also as an integral aspect of preparedness. By taking the initiative to craft a micro cleaning kit, you enhance your ability to maintain and safeguard your firearm, contributing to an overall sense of readiness in various emergency situations.

Resources you might need:

Six requirements for a survival firearm

How to build an underground shelter for less than $400

Tips for buying used or pre-owned firearms

Do you know what happens when you take expired medicine?

1 thought on “How To Build A Micro Cleaning Kit For Your Guns”

  1. A few comments based on well over 50-years of firearms use and maintenance in the bush and on the well stocked gun bench.

    The absolute best gun rags I’ve found were the old cloth hand-drying towels formerly found in many public restrooms. Of course a clean roll is best. Cut into handy sizes they soaked up crud well and were washable too. I usually trimmed them on my wife’s blind hemmer industrial sewing machine to prevent the edges from fraying in the wash. I had one roll of towels that lasted me forever it seemed and I was working on a lot of guns as my police department’s armorer plus my own guns. I still have some of that one roll left. However, my cheap (i.e.,free) source of those towels “dried up” as it were. I have since been using the micro-fiber cloths you can get by the pack. They too clean up crud well and are washable. Cheap enough to throw out if you have to (meaning your wife won’t let you use her washing machine and dryer, I solved that problem with a divorce). 🙂

    I have used Break-Free CLP almost exclusively since Uncle Sam introduced it to the military, lo these many years ago. You can get it in nice small bottles, or buy your own to fill from bigger bottles. I used to get it by the gallon. I still have some of the old military lubri-plate lube and even older GI gun solvent (great on guns that had corrosive ammo shot through them, although the even older method of hot water still works).

    I have also used, for many years with great results, a wiping cloth called “Tuf-Cloth.” I use the marine version, a cloth that puts a heavier coat on weapons, especially those exposed to rain. Again, I used this for years as a cop on my service weapons and nary a rust spot ever. I still use it on my EDC and other weapons including knife blades not intended for food prep use. Also good for wiping down fishing gear and other metals exposed to water, including salt water. The SEALS used this at one time (I asked a SEAL), but I don’t know if they still do.

    Simple Green is a very good cleaner for really dirty guns. It melts carbon off like butter and boiling water. However, you do need lots of water to rinse it off and a air compressor is handy to blow water out of the crevices. Must follow up with a light preservative wipe down like Break-Free or a Tuf-Cloth. Ballistol is also a good cleaner and lube.

    My current field cleaning kit is a bore snake for my rifle and pistol, a micro-fiber cloth, a small bottle of Break-Free, a toothbrush, and a Marine Tuf-Cloth. Some q-tips, and maybe a pipe cleaner or two, in a snack sized zip-lock. You can stuff all that in a small pouch. I also put the Break-Free bottle in a small zip lock just in case.


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