Owning a quality airsoft gun is an investment, and it’s important that you learn to take care of it in order to increase its longevity, and not let you down in the field.

If your gun isn’t working properly, clean, and operating at peak performance, then you’re going to be a pretty infective team member.

And, you’re probably going to be dead. Figuratively speaking.

In this guide, we take you through some essential tips and tricks for airsoft gun maintenance, including customizations and upgrades, the tools you need, how often you should do it, and some vital links to useful resources.

Stay sharp, stay frosty, and let’s move out.

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How to Clean Your Airsoft Gun – Too Long, Didn’t Read

While airsoft weapon maintenance is actually a very in-depth discipline, some folks might not have the time to read a full article.

Here’s a brief summary of what you need to know.

  • Clean your gun after it’s fired 2000 rounds – or if it’s dirty and/or underperforming – or if you’ve been playing in challenging conditions.
  • Suit the maintenance to the type of weapon.
  • Select the right tools.
  • Pay attention to the barrel, gears, and hop up.
  • Lubricate as necessary – but don’t overdo it.
  • Check the magazines and ammo.
  • Clean the exterior.
  • Learn to upgrade, replace, and customize.
  • Extra gear and equipment.
  • Storage.

Of course, there’s much more to it than that, so I would recommend reading on to discover the best tips and tricks when it comes to airsoft gun cleaning.

airsoft sniper rifle

Why Airsoft Gun Maintenance is Important

I don’t want to treat anyone like an idiot, but it’s astonishing how many players are out there who come to airsoft fields and whine when their guns are not working properly.

Even more so, the amount of players who don’t even maintain their weapon is beyond belief, even some pro players admit to being this lazy.

Sure, a quality airsoft gun – like these amazing shotguns, for example – should last a long time. You should be able to play several games with them without the need to clean and maintain.

But then it all starts to go downhill.

Proper airsoft gun maintenance is essential to prolong the longevity of the weapon, and maximize its performance in the field.

Because if you’re against players who look after their gear, and you don’t – you’ll soon understand why gun maintenance is good practice.

How Often Should You Clean an Airsoft Gun?

Ahhh, the eternal question. How often you properly clean and maintain your gun has divided airsofters for years. The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer – just so long as you do it in a timely fashion.

Having said that, not cleaning it at all will cause you problems, and over cleaning it can also negatively impact the inner workings of the weapon, wearing away important parts sooner rather than later.

With the jury still very much out, there’s a general consensus that you should clean your gun at least once after 2000 or so rounds, once a season/year, or after 15-20 games – whichever comes first.

But some players like to give their weapons a once over before and after every game – particularly when it comes to ensuring the barrel isn’t blocked and is free of debris.

And it almost goes without saying, you should obviously be cleaning your gun if it’s seriously been put through its paces during a match, with wet, dusty, or dirty conditions.

If you get back to base and your gun is covered in crap – you know what to do.

Additionally, if you ever notice a dip in performance, such as inaccurate or failing BB flight, then perhaps it’s time to give it the once over.

airsoft pistol cleaning and maintenance tools

Type of Gun

The kind of cleaning and maintenance required on your airsoft weapon will obviously depend on the type of gun it is.

Take a look at this article on the different types of airsoft guns to have a better understanding of what’s out there.

The method for cleaning a gas blowback gun (GBBG) is going to be different from that of a spring-powered bolt action rifle, and that of a typical automatic electric gun (AEG).

It’s important you know and understand the type of gun you use. Learn how it works, what’s going on inside, the parts it has, and how they move.

YouTube is a great resource for how-to guides on your particular weapon. If you want to learn how to clean your airsoft gun, proper understanding of the make and model is essential.

Airsoft Maintenance Tools

Before you get started, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with a selection of tools and cleaning products that are going to assist you in maintaining your airsoft gun.

I recommend purchasing some sort of bag to keep everything together – you can even try one of these tactical swing bags, which would make a good airsoft maintenance kit holder.

The following items are just suggestions, but this is a good place to start for assembling your own airsoft gun maintenance kit.

  • Microfiber cloths.
  • Precision screwdrivers.
  • Polishing/cleaning rod.
  • Silicone lubricant spray and/or Teflon non-stick lube.
  • Canister of compressed air.
  • Cleaning alcohol.
  • Hex keys.
  • Pick set.
  • Multitool
  • Calipers
  • Thread locker.
  • Safety glasses.
  • Old toothbrush – link to that in your bathroom.

Again, this list is just a guideline, and you can add and remove stuff as you like. I have something similar to this awesome modeling tool set (link to Amazon.com) which I use for all kinds of fiddly jobs when maintaining guns.

I find the thread locker is particularly invaluable, which helps preserve the life of small screws where you’re regularly disassembling parts. It will help prevent stripping, as well as the screws coming loose when in use.

If you have an essential airsoft maintenance tool or product that you swear by – let me know in the comments.

Cleaning the Barrel

There are many ways in which airsofters can clean out their gun barrel, and the one that’s right for you will likely just come down to trial and error, and the style of barrel you’re working with.

It’s recommended that you remove the barrel out of the gun first, before you get started.

A popular method is to use a cleaning, or polishing rod, a dab of toothpaste and water. Run the rod through several times, and then finish with cleaning alcohol.

Alternatively, you can simply use a piece of microfiber cloth dipped in some cleaning alcohol, and then inserted into the barrel with an airsoft cleaning rod.

Check out the video below for a visual guide to an easy method.

I wouldn’t advise using paper towels, as they can tear and leave residue behind. And don’t force the cleaning rod into the barrel – otherwise you might cause damage or unnecessary wear and tear.

Furthermore, don’t ram the rod out through the hop up, as you will seriously risk damaging that beyond repair.

You certainly don’t want to lubricate the hop, as it needs to remain as dry as possible, and the alcohol could harden the rubber.

Take your time, go slow, and stop when you remove the rod and there’s no muck or residue left on the cleaning cloth. It might take several passes to get it right, so be patient.

The Inner Workings

Airsoft guns have plenty of moving parts – some more than others – but they should all be clean, free of debris, and in good condition in order to prevent a drop in performance, and possible breakage.

However, much like upgrading and customization (more on that below) it can be tricky to clean the inner workings of your airsoft gun – especially if you’re not sure what you’re doing.

I would err on the side of caution here, and refrain from opening things up unless you’re confident with your maintenance abilities.

Gearboxes in particular shouldn’t be tampered with, unless you have the know-how. I’ve lost track how many times I’ve heard about guns malfunctioning after a haphazard, rookie cleaning attempt.

Still, they need to be looked after, and you can watch this video below, which shows you how to properly maintain an AEG, and follow this link for some of the best AEG models currently on the market.

Remember to remove the BBs and unplug the battery – if there is one – before you get started. Leaving a battery in for long periods of time can eventually drain it – even if it’s not being fired.


Just like everything that has moving parts, it’s important to make sure your airsoft gun is lubricated where necessary.

But a word of caution here – particularly for beginners – DON’T OVERDO IT!

It’s so easy to just slather on lube and make a complete mess, and decrease the performance of the weapon while doing so. You barely need any at all, which, unfortunately, is a lesson learned the hard way for noobs.

The video below demonstrates how best to lubricate an airsoft pistol, for example. Again, I recommend researching how to do the same for your particular weapon.

And you can also check out this review on the best airsoft pistols on the market, if you should ever need a new, effective sidearm.

Magazines and Ammo

Magazines will operate differently depending on the type of weapon you own, but the one thing they have in common is that you should empty them of pellets when they’re not in use.

Get into the habit of doing this immediately after the game.

This is particularly true for spring and electric guns, in order to preserve the spring strength in the magazine, which can weaken over time if BBs are left in.

For gas pistols, if you’re using Co2, you need to make sure the cartridge in the magazine is empty before putting the gun into storage.

The only safe way to do this is to go back to the range, and fire off some more BBs until there is no Co2 left, then remove and dispose of the cartridge. Never try to dump the gas in any other way.

Dry firing is also not recommended – in spite of some airsoft websites telling you otherwise. This is a guaranteed way to cause unnecessary stress on the gun’s internal moving parts.

With green gas guns, it’s important that you actually leave some gas in the gun, which will help keep the internal 0-rings lubricated and in working order.

And for a more in-depth look at the differences between green gas and Co2 pistols, you can follow that link to find out which one is right for you.

As for the ammunition, you should always be using top-quality BB pellets from a reputable airsoft company. Keep an eye on your reserves, and dispose of any pellets that are not up to standard, are dirty, or have deteriorated in any way.

Check out this article on the best airsoft brands in the business – even if they don’t actually make BBs, they’ll know the folks who do, and the best products to be compatible with their weapons.

Cheap, inferior pellets are a sure-fire way to mess up the inner workings of your weapon, as well as ensure a dip in accuracy and performance when in the field.

airsoft rifle and airsoft safety equipment

Cleaning the Exterior

This is the easy part, really. While it might not affect performance, it’s well worth keeping your gun looking spick and span from an external aesthetic point of view.

Excess dirt on the outside can always creep inside, so this step shouldn’t be overlooked.

There are multiple ways to do this, but I like to use an old toothbrush, or other such cleaning brush set, which can be invaluable at getting the dirt out of hard to reach places.

Cotton swabs are also useful – not just for getting a big clump of wax out of your ears.

Just remember to take it easy, and lightly brush away the muck. If you’re too vigorous you might damage the finish on the weapon.

Upgrades, Replacements, and Customization

As you become more proficient at airsoft and airsoft gun upkeep, you might like to try your hand at upgrading or customizing your gun.

And from time to time, parts will fail and need to be replaced.

In sniper rifles, one of the most common replacements will be the spring, so you should always check to see if that’s working properly, and isn’t dry, brittle, or rusted up in any way.

Replacing the spring should be a relatively easy fix, as it’s something that you will do a number of times over the course of the rifle’s life.

And if you’re interested in this particular weapon platform, take a look at this article, which features some of the best airsoft sniper rifles currently available, or here for a general look at airsoft rifles.

That’s a pretty straightforward job that most beginners will manage, but I offer a word of caution when it comes to more challenging upgrades – you really need to know exactly what you’re doing before attempting anything.

For the often negligible increase in performance you might achieve, running the risk of permanently damaging your prized gun is just not worth the grief.

If you’re dead-set on learning how to properly upgrade and customize your airsoft armory, I would highly recommend you start by dismantling some cheap or beginner guns first, and you can follow that link for some quality suggestions to practice on.

Watch video guides, learn from the pros, ask around at your local field. The community is always willing to help and offer advice – but if you go charging in to try and change your FPS by a couple of seconds, you might end up ruining your gun for good.

When in doubt, take it to the professionals, and pay an experienced airsoft gun technician to upgrade your machine for you. In the long run, it could well end up saving you money – and a lot of heartache.

Either way, to get you started, take a look at this airsoft gun upgrade video below for some entry-level tips, tricks, and advice – including the first upgrades you should be considering when you’re a beginner.

Additional Gear and Equipment

Hey, you’re cleaning and maintaining your airsoft gun. You might as well give everything else you own a once-over while you’re at it, right?

I’m talking about your airsoft clothing, gear, and additional equipment.

Check to make sure your mask and goggles haven’t been compromised, and they’re still in good working order. Give ‘em a mist and wipe down with an anti fog spray.

If you find they’re damaged – or if you simply need a new set – you can take a look at this review of the best airsoft goggles available, or try this article for some quality full-face airsoft masks.

Remember, if there’s even a tiny crack or split in your airsoft eyewear – they need to be replaced.

If you need to upgrade any clothing, head on over to this checklist on what to wear for airsoft for some inspiration.

Remember, safety is of the utmost importance when playing this sport, and all your protective gear should be in perfect working condition, ready for the next battle.


The final part of cleaning an airsoft gun is all about the storage. You certainly don’t want to have made all that effort only to leave it in a place it could still get damaged.

As such, you should ensure that all your guns are stored in a cool, dry place, away from bright sunlight and extreme temperatures – both hot and cold.

If your weapon didn’t already come with one, I highly recommend purchasing a dedicated airsoft rifle or pistol case, which will help preserve the life of your gun for many years to come.

Aside from this, cases can be locked, which prevents any unwanted fingers from touching your prized collection. Some airsofters go so far as to employ a gun safe for the same reason.

Extra Tips for Maintaining an Airsoft Gun

  • Make sure there’s no tension in the piston, and that it has fully fired before cleaning/storage.
  • Recharge any batteries right after the game, and never let batteries fully drain. LiPO batteries should be stored at 50% charge.
  • A gun cleaning stand is a useful, albeit optional, accessory.
  • Refrain from using WD-40. While it might work everywhere else, it can be harmful to certain parts of an airsoft gun.
  • Be sure to turn off your hop up system before cleaning to prevent any damage.
  • Never leave lubricant or oil inside the barrel – make sure everything is cleaned out, which is why cleaning alcohol is better for this process as it will evaporate.
  • Enjoy the process – this is your hobby, and every part of it should be fun.


Proper airsoft gun maintenance will ensure your weapon remains in peak condition for many years to come, and won’t let you down in the field when it matters.

I hope this article has given you plenty of pointers to get you started.

Let me know if there’s anything I’ve missed, or if you have any sage words of advice and/or insider tips for cleaning your airsoft guns.

Stay safe, people, and happy airsofting!