Sonic Cleaning a Firearm

I purchased some gun cleaner designed to be used in a sonic cleaner. I have not tried it yet. Has anyone in this community tried that technique? Any pointers you can give me if I choose to clean my guns that way? I am planning to clean only the slide and not the frame.


There’s a youtube video of a guy cleaning an HK VP9 with an ultrasonic cleaner he bought at Harbor Freight. I’ve thought about getting one, just for a once a year deep clean to get into all the areas I can’t get to. He used just enough liquid to get to the inner works of the frame and also put the slide in to get to the striker, etc. The color change of the fluid afterwards was pretty impressive.

It’s important to blow everything out afterwards with compressed air or the air in a can of you don’t have that, then lube as it will be bone dry.


I have a Hornaday sonic cleaner. Here are a few tips:

  • Completely disassemble firearm so that every component is separte. Use the basket for small parts.

  • Use appropriate cleaning fluid for your unit. Don’t think that you can just use water and soap.

  • Units that heat work better than those that don’t.

  • I have several firearms so I can clean 2-3 at a time. I put them on longest cycle because I always have another one to carry while others are being cleaned.

  • You still need to use a wire brush in the barrel to loosen fouling and would still recommend using toothbrush inside the base of the semiautomatic to make sure bottom rails are clean.

  • Wipe all cleaning solvent off thoroughly and lubricate firearm with good CLP or oil (or Sweetshot).

  • If you have treated your firearms with Sweetshot properly, you probably don’t need to clean them much as they will wipe out quickly. So I tend to do light cleanings on my firearms after each trip to the range but will use the Ultrasonic cleaner after heavier range events (2-3 days of non-stop range training) or if a firearm has been neglected for a while.

  • When buying a ultrasonic cleaner, a longer chamber is better. If you get one big enough, you can probably get your AR-15 barrel to fit in there. But I still haven’t found one long enough to clean my Benelli automatic shotgun…

  • A good cleaner will take up a lot of space on your workbench, so make sure you have that space before buying one.

But they are a great way to thoroughly clean springs and some of the smaller nooks / crannies of your firearms. Hope that helps!



I’m thinking about getting my husband one… do you have a particular model you recommend?

I have the Hornaday 43310 and love it. You may have to look to some sites other than Amazon to find it. You can clean a 16" AR upper in it or multiple handguns at the same time.

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