Clean Wood Revolver Grips

Learn clean your revolver’s wooden grips.

The revolver is most notable as an iconic representation of the American western era. The old wooden and ivory grip handles on a custom, handmade frame are considered collectors items by numerous handgun enthusiasts. Throughout time, and over a revolver’s life of use, the wooden grips can become fouled with powder residue and embedded with oils from the skin. Removing these oils is essential to keep the wood from becoming cracked or warped. Most older revolvers were built with two separate pieces of wood screwed into the handle, which made removing the grips easy; however, some were built with a fixed wooden grip and removing them was not an option. Cleaning your wooden grips can be done with ease whether you can remove them or not.


1. Remove all ammunition from the revolver cylinder. Ensure that the weapon is unloaded.

2. Remove the grips–if applicable–with a plastic-tip screwdriver to avoid marring the screws, or consult your owner’s manual to properly remove the grips.

3. Use a damp cloth, or lightly moisten a gun cleaning swab with water, and gently wipe the surface of the wood grip to remove powder residue. For scored grips, wrap a toothpick with a gun cleaning swab and work the swab into the scored area to remove any grit.

4. Allow the grips to dry for a few minutes or pat them dry with a towel, then apply lemon oil with a gun cleaning swab all over the surface of the wood.

5. Allow the lemon oil to soak into the wood for about an hour, then pat dry with a towel. This will keep the wood clean and prevent cracking or warping.