View Full Version : Cleaning Plaster dust off guns?

July 11, 2016, 09:27 PM
Hey all. Doing some remodeling in another room caused some strain on the plaster and it cracked in the gun room covering alot of stuff in a light dust. Awesome...

Most of it is on the exterior but some long guns were bore up so i suppose some could've potentially got in some of the barrels.

Is this something I need to really concern myself about? Any and all opinions are welcome. Just wanting to get my thoughts out in the open bounce ideas off you guys.

maybe shop vac them off? I just dont wanna ruin any bores

July 11, 2016, 09:46 PM
Possibly compressed air if you have an air compressor. If not, maybe computer keyboard dust blaster. Just make sure it is compressed gas only with no solvent.

Aguila Blanca
July 11, 2016, 09:47 PM
Yes, be concerned. Plaster, as well as sheetrock, is made of gypsum. Gypsum is basically deposits from ancient sea beds, so it contains calcium and it's very corrosive.


July 11, 2016, 09:58 PM
any ideas Aguila?

July 11, 2016, 10:08 PM
A vacuum will work, compressed air will work, brake/carb cleaner will work for the bores.

It's just dust, so basically any cleaning method will work

July 12, 2016, 01:54 AM
Plaster dust is very abrasive !

July 12, 2016, 04:06 AM
If it's a humid area that dust will cake up, so you need to vacuum and dust the exteriors and of course the floor and all surfaces of the room, including the walls and the electrical outlets. Then clean your guns as normal.

Tony Z
July 12, 2016, 05:24 AM
Air compressor set fairly low: don't forget that the compressor (because of motor/pump heat) causes the cmpressed air to have a bit of moisture in it. Also, since the items were in another room, the dust is probably superficial, so a quick blast should do it.

Not a big deal, and one I've dealt with through the years.

July 12, 2016, 07:03 AM
Good vacuums tell you not to use for plaster [Shp Vac has specialones for that ! ]

July 12, 2016, 09:45 AM
Thank you everyone for the fast replies and advice. I really wanted to move everything out of the remodel area but I didn't feel comfortable leaving them all unsecured somewhere else in the house.

I guess they will just need to sit until I am done with the project one or two more days then I'll start cleaning them all the best I can. Hooray!

Still deciding what and how I should clean them with. Eezox is my go to stuff maybe I'll go get some foaming clp for the bores. Really hate cleaning my guns with hot water and soap bit that might be the best option in this case. Ill try and get a picture of the amount of dust on stuff later tonight.

Thanks again keep the advice coming always appreciated. I do have a compressor and shop vac and tools such as that.

July 12, 2016, 10:24 AM
If the dust is on the outside of the gun, I'd use a damp rag to clean it and then wipe WD-40 on it to make sure any moisture from the rag is disbursed. I like to use wax over oil for protection, so I'd probably apply some wax on it after that.

July 12, 2016, 01:05 PM
Just use your soft vacuum tool to vacuum the gun exteriors, wipe down, then clean interiors with your normal cleaning stuff.

If you have central heat, might consider getting your furnace and ductwork cleaned, that dust gets everywhere.

July 13, 2016, 02:11 PM
Ok cleaning begins tonight with any luck... :( Does anyone have any ideas about covering the plaster with something else to keep this crumbling issue to a minimum?

I was thinking maybe some vinyl adhesive tiles or something easy to apply because I am thinking about installing something like this,
http://www.secureittactical.com/ inside the room.

They wouldn't collect moisture like wood they would be very thin so I wouldn't lose much in the way of space opposed to plywood or something?

Does anyone know of alternatives to secureit tactical stuff? Im open to anything.

Aguila Blanca
July 13, 2016, 02:40 PM
Paint? Wallpaper? (Especially vinyl "wallpaper")

Plaster shouldn't be crumbling. If it is, there's a problem that should be addressed, not covered up.

July 13, 2016, 03:19 PM
it crumbles when stuff is drilled into it to get to the studs. I plan to install something to hold my rifles which i assume will cause alot of crumbling wondering if installing something over it will prevent alot of dust and such.

Looking a pegboard slat wall and that secureit system. So many choices.

July 13, 2016, 04:57 PM
Truth is, stuff is corrosive. And given all the places tiny specs of gypsum could have stuck already with moisture present I doubt air pressure will get it all out. And doesn't sound like you have time to disassemble and clean every single part on all those guns. I'd do it like many shooters of corrosive mil-surp ammo, and many black powder shooters do. Flush out thoroughly with stream of water. Stuff is water soluble, so don't rush it and it all will leave. Don't keep wood stocks in a pool of water of course, but most of us have been caught in the rain with a wood stocked rifle with no ill effect. Then use the air pressure to blow out water thoroughly. Use hot sun (watch the wood on this, not doing from one side or it will warp maybe) or hair dryer to rid of moisture. Use light oil like Marvel Mystery Oil - NOT WD-40 - if necessary. Plain water usually leaves lube though.
Do ONE gun at a time, not letting water stand in any length of time.
Good cleaning and do buy some big yard plastic bags for each gun. Any air movement at all, you'll be doing it again. That fine dust finds every.opening.

July 14, 2016, 11:28 PM
It's just some dust on the guns.
It's not some hazardous substance.
It's no more "corrosive" than dirt outdoors.
I'd blow or wipe it off and be more careful with them in the future

Aguila Blanca
July 15, 2016, 06:02 AM
It's no more "corrosive" than dirt outdoors.
I'm going to have to disagree on this. Gypsum is a LOT more corrosive than just plain dirt.

July 15, 2016, 12:40 PM
They may still use Gypsum in toothpaste as an abrasive, it's very fine grained rock. 'Soft' rock, but still rock.

July 15, 2016, 01:09 PM
I'm going to have to disagree on this. Gypsum is a LOT more corrosive than just plain dirt.
My point is they weren't buried under a pile of Plaster.
The OP says "light dust"

Everyone is overthinking the issue.
"Corrosive" or not, it just needs to be cleaned off by any normal means.

July 16, 2016, 09:15 PM
Gypsum is calcium sulfate and is classified as a mineral. In its dry form it is not corrosive. However, once it gets wet or in the presence of high humidity it can corrode steel over time - mainly due to the fact it can retain moisture over a long period of time allowing the water to react with the steel.

Calcium sulfate is only slightly soluble in water. When it does dissolve, the ions are spectator ions. This means that they do not interact with water molecules in a way that significantly changes the pH. The pH of a saturated solution of calcium sulfate is 7.7, close to that of pure water.

Because gypsum starts as a crystal, as it breaks down it retains a crystalline form with sharp edges making it very abrasive

However, it should not be all that difficult to clean up. If they were my guns, I'd start with a rubber bulb duster like those used to clean sensors on digital cameras (Giotto Rocket Duster) to get the majority of the loose dust off, then I'd use a soft brush, like a lens brush or camel hair artist's brush and gently brush the dust off of the guns. Finally, I'd take canned air or compressed air at about 20 PSI and gently blow off the guns to get off anything missed with the other cleaning processes. Then lightly oil the guns as you would before storing them.

As part of the cleaning, check the bores and see if dust has gotten into the bores. If it has, swab out the bores with a dry patch and then with an oily patch and recheck to make sure you've gotten out all of the dust.

Honestly, gypsum isn't all that bad. People play on it all day long at White Sands, no one dies, cars don't instantly corrode into a pile of rust - it's actually rather benign.

Any type of corrosion takes prolonged exposure to damp gypsum over a number of years.

I'd worry more about the abrasive effects as NASA found out when they landed the Space Shuttle Columbia at the White Sands Space Harbor in March, 1982. The dust from landing on the dry gypsum lakebed got all over the interior of the Shuttle and they had to nearly disassemble the entire Shuttle to clean out the dust.

If you can clean an entire Space Shuttle that got gypsum dust in it at 200+ MPH - cleaning guns with gypsum dust that simply fell on them should be relatively easy.

July 18, 2016, 08:47 AM
I'm going to have to disagree on this. Gypsum is a LOT more corrosive than just plain dirt.

You'll have to explain how you define "corrosive." Soil can range naturally from a pH of 5.4 to 8.3 in some areas of Colorado and Texas. Since 7.0 is neutral pH, that means soil can be acidic to alkaline. Gypsum is 7.7 pH, or nearly neutral in pH.

How does gypsum become more corrosive than some soils?

I would also note that my Roto-Zip drywall tool is never cleaned of drywall dust and shows no corrosion on the metal parts like the collet, nut, shaft, or even the bits.

You'd think that if gypsum was corrosive, after 2.5 years of use, the Roto-Zip would show some kind of metal damage from constant contact with the gypsum dust. But, it doesn't. If I clean off the metal, it looks like new, including the unfinished, carbon steel parts like the collet and motor shaft.

Based on zero corrosion from gypsum dust on my drywall tools, I don't think that gypsum dust is corrosive in-and-of itself. Only when gypsum is moist does corrosion become a problem - but, that's from the oxygen in the water exchanging ions with the metal, and not from gypsum.

Evan Thomas
July 18, 2016, 12:20 PM
I think some people may be confusing "corrosive" with "abrasive." Corrosion is a chemical process, while abrasion is a mechanical one; while gypsum is somewhat corrosive, I'd be more concerned about damage from abrasion. I've never seen corrosion on a drill bit with plaster dust left on it, but I do know that drilling in plaster is a great way to wreck one. I'd never use one of my good woodworking bits to drill a hole in plaster or drywall. :eek:

My approach would be to vacuum first, to remove as much dust as possible without dragging it across surfaces, then clean as usual.

July 18, 2016, 06:31 PM
Some people are going to dive all over this as stupid, but have a little faith. If we're talking about simple firearms, bolt, revolver, easily disassembled, this idea really depends on how deeply you think the grit has penetrated.

Guns, and all metals, are waterproof, and won't be harmed with proper care. Strip the things down as far as you need to, get very heavy-duty dish soap, and sluice them as clean as you can get them with the hottest water you can use. Dry with rags and pat he's, then warm dry air, and oil every surface before you put it back together.

Every hunter has been caught in rain. Guns aren't hurt by water, they are harmed if they are left wet and dirty.u

July 18, 2016, 09:11 PM
If it was me I'd remove individually from the room.
Vacuum or wipe off most of the debris(normal vacuum would probably be ok for this small amount)
Compressed air
Then, if I couldn't extensively clean each firearm I'd spray them with CLP and repeat the compressed air.
A full cleaning would be best IMO. I wouldn't want that gypsum in all my trigger groups.

July 18, 2016, 09:24 PM
If you merely blow them off, then you'll have the dust everywhere in that room. Use a vacuum, then a cloth with a light coating of oil or similar to attract and retain on the rag anything left over from the vacuum. (Like you would dusting fine wood furniture)

July 19, 2016, 08:15 AM
I think we need a picture of the gun room...

July 19, 2016, 01:56 PM
If you merely blow them off, then you'll have the dust everywhere in that room.
There's already dust all over the room.
A minute fraction of an ounce more wouldn't make any difference at all.
The smart thing would to be take them outside for any blowing.

T. O'Heir
July 19, 2016, 02:04 PM
"...high humidity it can corrode steel..." That's the humidity causing the corrosion. Steel being made man stuff and Ma Nature dislikes stuff that is man made. Rust is steel returning to its natural form.
Like Snyper says, suck or blow it off. Makes no difference. Like briandg says, gypsum, like water, isn't going to cause your firearms to rust instantly. Isn't going to do anything when it's dry either.
If your dry wall crumbles when stuff is drilled into it, something is terribly wrong. Start by sharpening your stuff.

July 19, 2016, 04:14 PM
A lot of varied opinions offered. Lot of ifs involved. If all the metal is completely free of lubricant (which I would think they aren't), then the dust would have nothing to stick to. In that case only an air blow may work.
Also, corrosion problems vary greatly with humidity. Someone in Colorado (often~15%) has much more time before need to worry than a person in Florida with 87-97% often.
Only question with corrosion is when, not if.
See ASTM article on Assessment and Remediation of Corrosive Drywall. www.astm.org/COMMIT/C1101-EdLightPresentation.pdf.pdf. . Simplest to just google "corrosive drywall". Lots of sources of info.
All my guns - no Cerrocote- have a thin film of oil for lubrication/corrosion resistance. I live in Florida and water wash (detergent too, if needed- depends on amount of lube in gun) is only way I have ever been able to remove windblown fine sand grit.
By the way, Columbia was an ORBITER. The Space Shuttle is 2 SRBs, 1 External Tank, and the orbiter. STS-xxx was different for each flight. To poster on this, I am just teasing - I knew what you meant. Brought back a lot of memories - used to build them. Gosh, 1982 was 34yrs ago! Almost half my life-76 , 2 more months. Stay cool, and again, I am just kidding about it. Pat

July 21, 2016, 04:43 PM
It's just some dust on the guns.
It's not some hazardous substance.

Depends. If the plaster is from the 50s thru early 70s, and is really plaster, it may very well contain asbestos. If that is the case, the last thing you want to do is blow it into the air. Suck it up, don't blow it around, even if it's plain gypsum. Plaster dust is also very fine dust and can damage good vacuum cleaners. Use a shop vac. I'd vacuum what I could and then wipe down the guns as if I was cleaning them after hunting in the rain/mud.