How to Clean a Mossberg 500 – 2022 Informational Overview

| Last Updated:
September 19, 2023

Don’t know how to clean a Mossberg 500? You’re probably not alone. Taking care of it and cleaning it on a regular basis is an important responsibility. The same goes for just about any gun you own.

The cleaning process may or may not be a challenge considering that this will involve disassembling and reassembling the shotgun itself. We’ve also taken the liberty of providing step by step instructions on how you can properly clean your Mossberg 500.

We also took it a step further to provide some of the best Mossberg 500 cleaning kits currently on the market. This way, we have you covered just in case you need one.

How To Clean A Mossberg Shotgun

The following instructions are used to properly clean your Mossberg shotgun. It is important that before you do anything, you need to make sure that your gun is completely unloaded.

Check the magazine first, followed by the chamber. Also, make sure that you have no rounds that are jammed in the gun itself. Failure to do a safety check prior to cleaning your gun may cause your gun to accidentally discharge, resulting in serious injury or death. Once you’re all clear, you may now begin to disassemble your shotgun.

And that’s where we’ll begin:

Step 1: How To Disassemble Your Mossberg 500

  1. Using a tool or a paper clip, push out the trigger pin that is located above the trigger. Once the pin is out, the trigger assembly will easily fall out. Other parts will also fall out as well. Do not pull the trigger prior to assembly.

  2. Pull the slide all the way back. Once you’ve done that, pull out the bolt slide.

  3. Unscrew the action nut located below the barrel. Once this is removed, you'll be able to easily remove the barrel itself.

  4. Remove the pump action slide and push out the bolt. You can also easily extract the elevator located inside the gun.

Step 2: Cleaning Your Mossberg 500

  1. First, clean the barrel. There is a recommended solution you can use that is known as Ballistol. Spray it down the barrel and run your long brush through it to spread it through each inch. Set the barrel aside and let it soak for a while.

  2. You should have a small container that has some Ballistol solution in it. You’ll need to use this, along with some Q-Tips for cleaning the other parts. This will come in handy with this next cleaning step.

  3. Take a Q-Tip and soak one end of it with Ballistol. Completely coat some of the small parts (bolt slide, bolt, elevator, etc.). Make sure to get the crevices and other in-between places, if needed. Set aside each part and let them soak.

  4. Take a paper towel and dry wipe your receiver. Some Mossberg owners will usually use a solvent. But if you dry wipe it, you have a better chance of removing more residue. Make sure you wipe every nook and cranny of it.

  5. Take a Q-Tip and clean the inner channels of the receiver. Let the receiver itself soak for a bit.

  6. Take each part that you have previously soaked and dry each of them with a paper towel.

  7. Wipe down the trigger assembly. You don’t have to coat that with Ballistol.

  8. Wipe down the inner part of the receiver. Also, take the long brush and scrape any additional gunpowder residue out of the barrel.

  9. Take a cleaning pad and wrap it around the long brush head. Run it through the barrel a few times. Replace the cleaning pad periodically as your doing this. Then, take one last cleaning pad, spray on some Ballistol or your solvent of choice and run it down the barrel using the long brush. This will ensure that the inner walls of the barrel are protected from rusting.

  10. Lightly coat some of the additional parts one final time to ensure that they’re protected from rust. At this point, you’re finished. Now it’s time to re-assemble.

Step 3: Reassembly

  1. First, replace the elevator inside the receiver. Follow this by replacing the bolt and bolt slide.

  2. Replace the forend. Secure in place. Check if forend and bolt bars are securely in place.

  3. Replace the cartridge stop and cartridge interrupter properly. This should be followed by replacing the trigger assembly. Replace the pin to hold it together.

  4. Slightly pull back the pump action. Then replace the barrel and the action nut. At this point, you should wipe down your gun and make sure that everything is securely in place. Check the slide, trigger, and safety to ensure if they’re in working order. And that’s it.

Video Review

Below is a video of almost the same exact instructions that we’ve listed above to help better understand the cleaning steps. If you’re more of a visual, follow-along kind of person, we won’t blame you one bit. There is a 20-minute video on how you can clean your Mossberg 500, along with instructions on how you can disassemble and reassemble the shotgun itself. You can click this link below to get started:

Review of our Favorite Mossberg Cleaning Kits

If you don’t have a cleaning kit for your Mossberg 500, you don’t need to worry. We’ve taken the liberty of choosing three of the best Mossberg 500 cleaning kits currently on the market. We have options available for those who either have some money to work with or are on a budget.

Regardless, one of these cleaning kits should serve you well in the long run. It is important that a good cleaning kit should have all the solution and liquids you need, along with the parts required to give your shotgun a thorough clean. With that said, let’s begin with the best overall:

Best Cleaning Kit Overall:
Hoppe's Boresnake Soft-Sided Gun Cleaning Kit


  • Fits Perfectly in a Range Bag
  • Compact and Takes Up Little Space
  • Some Users are Very Satisfied With the “Innovative” Boresnake


  • Some Were Not Happy With This Not Being Made in the U.S.A.
  • One Reviewer Complained About the Case Being Cheap and Flimsy
  • Some Reviewers Complained About the Nylon Cord Being Easy to Fray or Break

We begin this brief list of our best cleaning kits with a brand that is none other than Hoppe’s. This is arguably one of the best brand names of gun cleaning products and they have been around for years. This is their Boresnake, soft-sided gun cleaning kit.

This includes a Boresnake that is used to run through your barrel so you can apply the solvent within the inner walls of your gun barrel. To ensure that you get every little bit of the gun, they also added weatherguard cloths so you can wipe down all the other parts like your receiver, bolt slide, and so on.

This gun cleaning kit will typically work with most Mossberg 500 shotguns of the 12-gauge variety. If you’re looking for a simple, easy to use cleaning kit that will get the job done, then look no further than the Hoppe’s Boresnake Soft-Sided Gun Cleaning Kit. Some longtime gun owners would buy this on the name alone. But it’s always important to find out why it’s so great, other than the name itself.

Bottom Line

The Hoppe’s cleaning kit is probably your best option for a few good reasons. One, the Boresnake is something that seems unheard of. And it will likely be considered an innovation that is hard to match.

Plus, you’re dealing with a brand that’s been around for a very long time. You get everything you need in a kit like this, so you can clean your Mossberg 500 and ensure that it runs smooth like butter. If you’re looking for a kit that is unbeatable, get the Hoppe’s cleaning kit.

12/16GA Box Cleaning Kit


  • Made in the USA
  • Cleaning Rods are of High Quality
  • Wool Mops Work and Clean Well as Advertised


  • Carrying Case is a Bit Flimsy in Quality
  • Some Have Complained About This Kit Being a Little Pricey
  • Some Users Think One Major Improvement Should Be a Swivel Handle

Next up, we have the 12/16GA Box Cleaning Kit from Pro Shot. Not only is this designed for 12-gauge Mossberg 500 shotguns, but this kit will also be a good cleaning kit if you own a 16-gauge shotgun. This comes with a set of cleaning rods that are 32 inches in length.

Other accessories included in the kit are a wool mop for 12-gauge shotguns, a double-ended brush made from nylon, a gun cloth treated with silicone, and of course, the grease and solvents needed for cleaning the shotgun.

If you’re looking for a good kit that’s got it all and is compatible for both a 12-gauge or 16-gauge, then you’ll want to consider choosing this kit for all your cleaning needs.

Bottom Line

The Pro-Shot cleaning kit is a good alternative if you don’t consider yourself a fan of Hoppe’s brand. Likewise, this may also be a good option for a starter kit if you have never purchased a gun cleaning kit before. With that said, the cleaning rods are high in quality and won’t break easily.

This is a major plus for gun owners who get tired of dealing with cleaning rods that easily bend or break. Most importantly, the cleaning pads and cloths are very good and do their jobs well. All in all, an overall good cleaning kit for the Mossberg 500.

Best For The Money:
Hoppe's Cleaning Kit with Aluminum Rod

[amazon fields="B0013R89DO" image="1" value="thumb" image_size="large" image_align="center" image_link="none"]


  • Intended for 12-Gauge Shotguns
  • An Excellent Starter Kit for First-Time Gun Owners
  • Cleaning Rod is Excellent in Quality and Very Durable


  • May Take Some Time to Assemble
  • Claims to Have a Clamshell Case (Not Included)

Finally, we will be looking at a kit for those who are looking for a good quality kit that fits their budget. We go back to the Hoppe’s brand with their cleaning kit. This time, it comes with an aluminum cleaning rod. Expect the rod to be quite durable, as aluminum is a very strong material for something like this.

Of course, no cleaning kit is complete without the solvents and oil that you need to make sure that your Mossberg 500 is completely clean and free from residue, dirt, dust, or anything else that could render your shotgun useless.

This cleaning kit is intended for 12-gauge shotguns, including the Mossberg 500 and 590 12-gauges. If you’re looking for a kit that comes from a great brand name and is also easy on the wallet, the Hoppe’s cleaning kit may be the one you’ll want.

Even if you have a good deal of money to play around with, don’t discount this cleaning kit as cheap or anything else. This will still do a good job and also likely sticks out as a possible choice for you for reasons other than the price tag.

Bottom Line

This Hoppe's cleaning kit is quite good for a budget kit. If you're looking for something that is good in quality and is something that is more than a "you get what you pay for" kind of cleaning kit, then you'll want to consider looking at the Hoppe's cleaning kit a bit further.

Since this is also a good choice for a starter kit, it will give first-time owners the opportunity to see the Hoppe's brand in action. The brand proves itself to be one of the top names in gun cleaning kits. So far, they have fallen short in disappointing many gun owners.

How Often Should You Clean Your Mossberg 500?

This is a question that often gets asked, but the answers are all over the place. However, the one place you might want to look is your Mossberg owner’s manual. If you don’t have one or have somehow misplaced it, Mossberg recommends that you should clean your shotgun after every two hundred shots you fire.

Some will keep count, while others usually don’t. But as a rule of thumb, it’s good to keep track of how many shots you fire in total. This way, it will give you a good idea of when you should clean your weapon and how often.


Knowing how to clean a Mossberg 500 is a must if you own this kind of shotgun. It is important to clean it as often as is recommended to ensure that it will last a long period of time. Mossberg 500 shotguns can last years, if not decades, with the proper usage and care. If you need a cleaning kit, please be sure to find one that will do a good job cleaning every part of your gun. 

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