The ultimate guide to caring for paintball equipment


If you’re an avid paintball enthusiast, then you may already know that maintaining your paintball equipment will save you a good deal of money over time. Paintball equipment can be an expensive investment, so knowing how to make your gear last should be relevant to you.

How do you care about paintball equipment? You can care for paintball equipment by learning how to clean and maintain it properly. For example, you’ll need to learn how to clean your paintball gun with water only, how to lubricate your paintball gun, and how to store your paintball equipment in a cool, dry place.

Since there isn’t much information on the Internet today that covers how to care for paintball equipment, I’ve created this guide to help answer any questions you may have about your paintball equipment. Below I’ll cover how you should care for your paintball equipment, and your most costly paintball investment, your paintball gun.

Maintaining Your Paintball Gun

Your paintball gun, also known as a marker, will be the costliest investment you make when you first purchase your paintball equipment. Since paintball markers aren’t cheap, you’ll want to make sure you understand how to clean your paintball gun properly. Cleaning is an essential part of maintaining your paintball gun. 

Many paintball enthusiasts consider cleaning their guns to be the most tedious part of paintball, However, even if you do find it annoying, cleaning your gun is still one of the most critical parts of ensuring your success during a paintball match. Maintaining your marker can influence how well your rifle performs while you are in a game

If you’ve ever been on the field with a team member that has a continually jamming gun, you know how frustrating that can feel. That’s because guns that stick and perform inaccurately are usually not cleaned and poorly maintained. If you maintain your marker well and clean it often, you can significantly improve the performance and accuracy of your gun while competing. 

However, only cleaning your paintball gun won’t be enough to maintain it properly. You’ll have to think about doing a bit more. We’ll help guide you below about how you can manage and clean a paintball gun. Don’t forget to also take a look at your marker’s owner’s manual, too, when you have questions. 

The Cleaning Process

We’ve got a few steps to help guide you through the process of cleaning your paintball gun. Before you start cleaning your paintball gun, you’ll need a few of the following tools:

  • Toothbrush or cotton swabs
  • Oil and lube
  • Warm water
  • Pull through squeegees
  • Paper towels
  • Tools for disassembly

You’ll need to make sure you have the above materials ready before you start cleaning your paintball marker. 

Step 1: Detach the Air Tank or the CO2

Whenever you work on your marker, you need to keep safety in mind. So, before you do anything to your gun, we highly recommend that you detach the CO2 or Air-tank from your marker before you get started. If you separate the weapon from any available gas or air, you’ll prohibit the gun from an accidental shot that could cause harm or damage.

Forgetting to remove the CO2 or Air-tank, you could wind up creating a severe injury, harming yourself as well as others around you. Most paintball guns have a degas feature on their easy-to-use markers. So, search for the degas button, and make sure that you’ve removed any air or gas from the gun before you start cleaning.

Step 2: Take Apart Your Paintball Gun

Next, you’ll want to take apart your paintball gun before you start the cleaning process. When you take apart your paintball gun, make sure that you correctly remove and then later re-assemble the parts. If you aren’t sure how to successfully take apart and re-assemble your paintball gun, check the owner’s manual.

If you no longer have the owner’s manual, don’t worry. You can usually look up information on disassembling and re-assembling paintball guns on your marker’s manufacturer’s website. If you can’t seem to locate it there, then conducting an easy Google search should also give you the information you need quickly.

After you’ve located the manufacturer’s instructions, it’s time to continue and remove other parts of your marker. Follow these simple steps:

  • Take apart the barrel, hopper, grip frame, bolt, and hammer from your marker.
  • Place the parts of the gun close together so that you stay organized. Keep them near to each other in your working area.
  • Take precautions to make sure you don’t lose any parts of your marker. You don’t want to make it too challenging to re-assemble your marker.
  • Make sure you also keep the fasteners near the parts with which they belong. By doing that, you won’t forget what fasteners go where.

Step 3: Clean the Marker’s Barrel

At this point, you should have taken apart all areas of your marker. Now that your gun is disassembled, we’re at the point where we can start the cleaning process. When we begin cleaning our markers, the best place to start with is the barrel.

  • Take the squeegee and use it by placing it through the barrel.
  • By moving the squeegee through the barrel, you’ll clean out the interior of the barrel and remove any extra paintball residue that could be laying on the inside of your barrel.
  • Not cleaning extra paintball residue can cause a gun to jam or have poor accuracy while on the field.

By cleaning the barrel of your marker with the squeegee, you’ll be able to properly remove excess paintball residue so that your gun’s accuracy and performance are maintained. You do need to clean the barrel thoroughly, so plan on putting the squeegee through the barrel a few times to remove all potential issues.

  • Once you are done using the squeegee, take some hot water, and dab a paper towel in that water.
  • Wipe the barrel of the gun down.
  • Then, take a dry paper towel and dry off the barrel of the gun.
  • Look at the barrel carefully to make sure it’s clean inside and out.
  • If you think it needs extra cleaning, repeat the process.

Remember, cleaning the interior of your marker’s barrel is one of the essential aspects of properly maintaining your paintball gun. By cleaning your marker’s barrel, you’ll ensure the gun never jams, and you’ll always have a gun that fires with accuracy. A cleaner barrel means better performance from you in your paintball matches.

Step 4: Clean the Paintball Gun’s Body

Now that you’re removed the interior parts of your marker, you’ll need to start addressing the outside areas of your gun. If you were able to run a squeegee through your gun’s barrel entirely, you need to make sure you run the squeegee over the outside of the gun, too. However, prior to doing that, you should also make sure you check the owner’s manual.

  • After you’ve cleaned the gun with a squeegee, you should grab a toothbrush and dip that brush into the warm water.
  • Use the toothbrush to scrub around and reach areas that were difficult to scrub with the squeegee.
  • Brush your gun as thoroughly as possible and then double-check your cleaning job to make sure you didn’t miss a spot.

You want to make sure you don’t miss any spots or leave any leftover paintball material when you are cleaning your gun because you don’t want your gun to jam in the future. Unused material can cause jamming and inaccuracy issues in your weapon.

Once you’ve cleaned the hard to reach areas with a toothbrush, wipe the body of the marker dry with a paper towel. Make sure the marker is dry before you proceed to the next step.

Step 5: Clean the Grip Frame

Next, we need to clean the grip frame on your marker so that you continue to maintain your gun correctly. When you clean the grip frame, you’ll want to remove any dried paint or other materials you might find on the outside of the weapon.

Remember, ensuring that you’re removing all types of paint residue from all areas of your marker will improve the accuracy and performance of your gun. By eliminating the paintball residue, your firearm will be far less likely to jam. You don’t want any paintball residue remaining on your weapon that could impede your performance.

  • The best way to clean your grip frame is by using a toothbrush.
  • When you clean your grip frame, do not ever take apart your marker’s trigger. It’s very complicated to put a marker’s trigger back together, and if you don’t re-assemble the trigger correctly, your paintball gun won’t function accurately.
  • So, don’t be tempted to take apart the trigger and clean the grip frame on your gun.

Once you’ve cleaned the grip frame on your marker, you’ll be ready to move onto the next step.

Step 6: Clean Your Marker’s Bolt and Hammer

After you’ve cleaned the grip frame on your marker, it’s time to clean your marker’s bolt and hammer. Before you clean the bolt and hammer, you need to remove it carefully.

  • Once you remove the bolt and hammer from your marker, grab a paper towel.
  • Carefully clean the bolt and hammer with a paper towel.
  • Next, dry part of the bolt and hammer with a paper towel.
  • Check the O-rings on both the bolt and hammer. Double-check for damages and wear marks on the O-rings.
  • O-rings wear out very quickly, so wear is very common with them. If you notice that your O-rings look worn, check the owner’s manual to see how often you should change the O-rings on your marker.
  • If the O-rings look like they are torn and not in a good quality state, then you know it’s time to change them.

Step 7: Check for Damage to Your Marker

Properly maintaining your paint gun means you’ll need to learn how to check your marker for damage and change out pieces as you see fit. 

  • Complete a thorough inspection of your gun and look at every single minor detail. Consider if you need to fix or replace anything.
  • If you notice your O-rings are cracking, for example, then replace them right away. Remember, the O-rings on your gunplay an essential factor in your gun’s overall accuracy, and you want them to be functioning at top-notch so that your performance isn’t affected on the paintball field. 
  • Take a look at the internal parts of your marker.
  • Check on the strings and the screws in your marker. If any of the lines or screws look worn and like they need to be replaced, replace them immediately. 
  • If you notice that any part of your gun looks worn and you aren’t sure if you should replace it, it’s best to err on the side of caution. We recommend replacing any parts that look questionable because old and worn-down parts can decrease your performance on the paintball field when it comes to your marker. 

Step 8: Use Oil to Lubricate Your Marker

After you’ve finished examining your gun and changing out any necessary parts, you’ll need to lubricate your marker. You’ll need some oil to start lubricating your weapon.

  • Only use paintball oil to lubricate your gun.
  • If you don’t use paintball oil or oil that’s specifically designed for a paintball marker, you may cause potential damage to your gun.
  • If you aren’t sure what type of oil you should use to lubricate your marker, take a look at your gun’s owner’s manual.
  • When you lubricate your marker, make sure you lube the O-rings and make sure the whole O-ring is entirely covered in oil.

Step 9: Put Your Marker Back Together

Now that you’ve cleaned your paintball gun, it’s time to put your marker back together. So, you’ll need to re-assemble your weapon, and you’ll have it ready for your next paintball match. 

To correctly re-assemble your marker, check on your paintball gun’s owner’s manual. It will give you the steps to correctly re-assemble your weapon. If you’ve lost the owner’s manual, you can always find step-by-step directions with a simple Google search. 

Keep Your Paintball Gun Working Like New

One of the most important things to remember about your paintball game is the importance of a clean marker. To get the best performance out of your marker, you should use the nine steps we discussed above to maintain your gun correctly. Following those steps will help make your gun last a long time, and you’ll also always get the best performance from your marker.

While cleaning is an essential part of maintaining your gun, we’ve also got other suggestions to help you keep your paintball gun working like new. While every paintball gun is different, you can follow a few simple rules and keep your paintball gun working like it’s unique.

For a paintballer, it’s the worst feeling in the world to hit the paintball field and realize that your gun is leaking or jammed. All it takes is a few simple maintenance tips, and you’ll be able to keep your marker working like new. We’ll talk about those simple maintenance tips below.

Tip 1: Read the Owner’s Manual

Before you do any maintenance of cleaning on your paintball marker, make sure you read the owner’s manual and look at the specific requirements for your paintball gun. Every paintball marker is unique, and the manufacturer’s guidelines can vary with each model. One of the most important things you’ll want to check out in the owner’s manual is the type of oil required.

If you can’t find your owner’s manual, then conduct a simple Google search. Also keep in mind that while you do need to clean and repair your gun from time to time, you don’t want to take the gun apart more than is necessary. That’s because it’s easy to lose part of the weapon each time you take your marker apart.

Tip 2: Oil the Gun Often But Don’t Overdo It

Oiling is something you’ll want to do to your gun after and before each day of gameplay. When you oil your weapon, you want to make sure you lubricate the front and rear bolt O-rings.

  • Remember to check your marker’s owner’s manual for the specific oil you should use to lubricate your gun. Using the wrong kind of oil can damage the O-rings in your marker.
  • Keep in mind that less is more when it comes to using oil, so don’t overdo the process. If you use too much oil, the oil can build-up in your marker over time.
  • The right amount of oil is just enough to coat the seals. Using more than that can cause excessive oil build-up, which can make the gun misfire and perform with less accuracy.

Tip 3: Clean Your Marker After Each Use

After each day of gameplay, you’ll want to clean your marker. Remember, each time you clean your marker; you’ll need to remove your CO2 or HPA tank before you start cleaning your gun. When you clean your weapon, use warm water. Don’t use soap, chemical cleansers, or abrasive chemical washcloths.

If you are playing in an area that’s very wet or muddy, try to protect your gun from making too much contact with the mud and water. If your weapon winds up taking in a lot of dirt, mud, or water, you’ll need to take it apart and wipe down on the inside. Then, you’ll need to let it dry out before you put it back together.

If your gun takes in too much dirt during a competition, it can misfire and jam. So, you want to do all you can to avoid dust, mud, and water from building up inside of your gun during competition.

Tip #4: Solving Common Marker Problems

Also, you can solve a lot of common marker issues by simply replacing the parts on your marker. If you notice that your gun is having some operational issue, you’ll want to check out the CO2 bottle, batteries, and the O-rings. Some of the most common problems with markers can be fixed by simply replacing one of these three items.

When you check the CO2 bottle, you want to make sure it isn’t empty and doesn’t have any valve problems. You can also test out the marker by grabbing another bottle. If you notice the gun is leaking around the bottle, then the CO2 bottle and the O-ring probably needs to be replaced. You’ll also need to remember to occasionally check your O-rings for cuts, tears, or openings that can cause damage to your marker.

Storing Your Paintball Equipment

Now that you know how to clean and maintain your marker, which is the most expensive part of your paintball equipment, we’ll discuss how to store your marker, how to care for soft paintball gear, and how to save your paintballs.

Storing Your Marker

Before you save your marker, make sure you clean it. After you wash your marker, remember you’ll then need to oil it so that it won’t rust. When you store your marker, put the trigger in safety mode and make sure the barrel plug is in place. Also, before you save your marker, unload, and remove the air supply.

You want to store your marker in a safe, dry place and keep it away from direct sunlight. The tank of your marker can be easily damaged by direct sunlight. The tank can be easily damaged by the heat and the sun because the CO2 inside of the tank expands in higher temperatures.

Storing Soft Paintball Gear

Whenever you go to a paintball match, make sure you bring along a trash bag for the drive home. That trash bag should be for your dirty gear and clothing. That way you can store your dirty equipment and clothing in your car without making an extra mess on your way home.

You can then take the trash bag’s contents and dump it in your washer to wash your gear after you get home. That way, you won’t need to worry about a mess in your car.

After you wash your items, make sure you hang them on a line to dry. You don’t want to dry your paintball gear in the dryer. Your paintball gear should be air-dry only. After your paintball clothes have dried, you can hang them in your closet and store them with your regular clothes.

Paintball Storage

While most people put a great deal of time and effort into storing their paintball markers, they often don’t consider the importance of correctly storing their paintballs, too. Remember, paintballs are perishable items, and they do have a suggested life span.

Paintballs are comprised of biodegradable ingredients that do break down over time. So, if you don’t put the proper time and effort into maintaining your paintballs, they won’t perform well at all when you use your marker.

If you want to make sure you’re correctly storing your paintballs, read the owner’s manual that comes with your paintballs or check the article I wrote about storing paintballs. If you’ve lost the owner’s manual, search directions on how to save your current paintballs by looking up the paintball manufacturer and model.

Storing paintballs does have a few general rules of thumb, which we’ve outlined below.

  • To properly care and store your paintballs, you should keep them in a cool, dry place. 
  • You should rotate your paintballs over time, at least every few weeks, so the paintballs don’t settle in the same position for too long. 
  • Remember, keeping your paintballs dry means keeping your paintballs away from humidity. If your paintballs absorb any moisture or moisture in the air, they will swell. If your paintballs swell, they won’t perform correctly.
  • The best temperatures to store your paintballs at is between 59-68 Fahrenheit. 

If you don’t store your paintballs correctly, you’ll run into problems over time. Paintballs that aren’t stored correctly often become misshapen, broken, or get divots on the sides of the balls. In any of these above cases, the paintballs won’t fly straight when they are fired out of your gun. Also, the balls won’t always break on impact. Sometimes, if paintballs get too hot, they’ll stick together and clump up, too.

While some of the issues we’ve described won’t make the paint in your paintball useless, you will wind up with several potential problems if you use misshapen paintballs and you continue to store your paintballs incorrectly. For example, misshapen paintballs can jam your marker or break your barrel, forcing you to purchase a new marker.

To avoid having any issues with your paintballs, it’s best to store them correctly over time. However, how your paintballs age will depend a lot on the manufacturer of your paintballs, if not stored correctly, paintballs might become too hard and not break when they hit the target, making them useless. Extra paintballs can swell up and grow too soft, especially if they were in a humid area. If paintballs are also swollen, they won’t fit in your marker or fire correctly out of your gun.

One of the best ways to store paintballs is to put them in a Ziploc bag and make sure you’ve drained the air from the pack. That ensures your paintballs remain in a dry place, so now you need to put them in a cool, dark place in your house.

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