The Ultimate Guide to Gun Cleaning Mats

The Ultimate Guide to Gun Cleaning Mats

This guide will answer all your questions about gun cleaning mats. You’ll also learn how to design your custom gun cleaning mat to take your gun maintenance routine to the next level.

Gun cleaning mats are an essential part of any gun maintenance kit. Your precious firearm requires periodic cleaning to ensure optimal performance.

You’ll need a number of supplies like cleaning cloth, brush, pick, firearm grease, and, of course, a mat.

What Is a Gun Cleaning Mat?

A gun cleaning mat is a special mat designed to offer a cleaning surface for your firearm. You lay down the mat and place your firearm on it while cleaning.

It’s typically made of durable materials such as leather, rubber, or silicone. These materials are also super absorbent.

The mats are also non-slip, so they don’t move while you’re working on the firearm.

Some gun cleaning mats have designated compartments or pockets for placing the firearm components once you disassemble them.

It’s a useful accessory that any gun owner should have and use when cleaning their firearm.

Why Use a Gun Cleaning Mat?

When you’re wiping, brushing, and oiling a firearm, you need a surface that makes the job easy.

How exactly? For starters, it will keep all the parts in one place, giving you an organized area to work in.

But more importantly, a gun cleaning mat will ensure the firearm is not scratched or smudged.

Placing the parts on a hard surface may result in scratches, and you don’t want to ruin the look of your beautiful gun.

Another reason why you need a mat is to absorb any oil and grease from the gun cleaning job.

This is why gun cleaning mats are made from absorbent materials. They absorb spills and prevent the surface underneath from being damaged.

Suppose you’re cleaning the gun over a wooden desk and get grease on it. Cleaning it off will be a nightmare and ruin the look of the desk given its porous surface.

So, the mat isn’t just for protecting the firearm while it’s getting cleaned but also the surface you’re working on.

They’re also easy to store as they roll and can be fixed into a small drawer. You can also carry them with you when going on recreational trips with your firearm.

What to Look for When Buying a Gun Cleaning Mat?

Not all gun cleaning mats are the same, so you have to pay attention to the little things.

Here’s what you should consider:


The mat's material matters the most, as it has to be durable and resistant to spills. Different varieties of materials are used in these pads, including polymer, leather, canvas, and rubber.

Leather and rubber offer the most durability, plus natural resistance to fluids.

However, waxed canvas or polymer are also good choices if you’re looking for something lightweight. But they’re not as long-lasting as rubber or leather.

Some gun cleaning mats use more than one material, for instance, a rubber top surface fused with an anti-slip polyester bottom.


Gun maintenance mats come in different designs. There are simple, flat ones that just provide a cleaning surface.

There are also some with built-in compartments for holding cleaning tools and accessories. These are more like gun cleaning trays.

Some firearm cleaning mats have printed instructions, which can be very useful at times. So instead of buying expensive diagrams you could have the entire cleaning guide on your mat right in front of you.

You can also choose between minimalistic solid ones that are just one color or go with printed ones with an image or artwork.


Of course, size is yet another important consideration. You want the gun cleaning mat to be big enough to organize all your tools.

The size choice largely depends on the size of your firearm. You'll need a bigger size if you own a rifle or shotgun. Go for one 25 inches or longer in length and at least 12 inches in width.

However, a small mat, typically 11 x 17 inches, should suffice for compact and sub-compact guns.

If the mat is too small, you won’t have ample space to store all the firearm's parts and tools, and you will inevitably have to place them on the table or desk you’re working on.


The cleaning mat will get pretty dirty with time, exposing it to dirt, dust, and oil/grease. So, pay attention to how it’s supposed to be cleaned.

Is it hand-wash only? Is it machine washable? The latter is obviously a better choice because you can just throw it into the washing machine and clean it.

Can You Use a Mousepad or Desk Pad for Cleaning Guns?

Gun cleaning mats are essentially made from the same materials as mousepads or desk pads. So, a mousepad or desk pad can be used as a cleaning gun mat, provided it’s soft and resistant to water or grease.

Also, the mousepad or desk mat size should be big enough to provide a decent area for disassembling your firearm for cleaning and maintenance.

Because of their size, gaming mousepads and desk pads are better suited as gun cleaning mat alternatives. These can be over 30 inches long and 15 inches wide, providing enough space to clean a rifle.

But there’s one more advantage of using a mousepad as a cleaning gun mat– the design variety.

Most gun cleaning mats feature cliche graphics of firearms. Mousepads and desk pads, on the other hand, feature vibrant designs and colors.

So if you want something colorful or thematic, you can go with a mousepad instead.

It’s important to pay attention to the material and thickness of the mousepad or desk pad. If it’s too thin, it won’t provide enough padding to protect heavy firearm parts.

Similarly, if it’s cheaply made, it’ll quickly get ruined by any grease or oil spills.

Ensure the material is durable, ideally rubber or a heavy-duty polymer, and can resist liquids.

It should also be easy to clean, preferably machine washable.

Designing Your Custom Gun Cleaning Mat

You can create your custom gun cleaning mat using unique artwork. At Specter Labs, you can print a customized mousepad or desk pad that doubles as a gun cleaning mat.

Your design is printed on a durable rubber mat with beautifully stitched edges. The graphic is printed using high-quality Epson printers that ensure the colors and details of the image or pattern are exactly the same as the digital one.

Plus, the prints will never fade, no matter how often they’re washed!

The best part is that you can create a completely personalized gun cleaning mat with custom artwork. You can even use AI art tools to create a unique design that reflects you and your passion for firearms.