I know I am in the minority on this issue. Most people I talk to are dismissive, while some people look at me like I'm going to hell over the matter.
The following does *NOT* apply to precision or show quality firearms.
On my AR15, I like to use brake cleaner on my bolt carrier group and chamber. Brake cleaner is harsh, so you'll want to follow up with a gun oil shortly.
Having gone through many white-glove weapons cleaning inspections, I wondered just how necessary it was to make a firearm THAT clean.
The truth is, it's not... and I don't. The black powder of old left a very thick, corrosive, hygroscopic (absorbs moisture) residue, and regular and thorough cleaning was necessary. Such is not the case with modern smokeless powders, albiet some mil-surp Russian ammo.
So, all that said, I clean my firearms by first removing any excess carbon fouling. I normally apply Hoppe's #9 liberally (he said "liberally") to areas exposed to carbon fouling, then let it soak for 5 to 10 minutes. I gently brush and patch and wipe as necessary, then dry everything off. I'll apply some light gun oil as a lubricant and rust inhibitor.
If you get a little black stuff on your finger when you stick it in the chamber, that's OK... the gun does not have to be GI clean!
Now, the funny thing is, I typed all of this last night, and forgot to hit "Submit Reply" so when I came home from work today, it's still sitting here...