Storing Your Lubricants to Avoid Contamination

Are you seeing unexpected contaminants in your lubricant analysis report? How you store and handle your lubricants has a significant impact on levels of contamination.

This quick guide can help you ensure that your lubricant is properly stored ­­­— saving time, money and a headache.


The basics:

  • Pumps, drums and totes need to be stored in a dry environment
  • Avoid storing lubricants in a humid environment (lubricants are hygroscopic)
  • Attempt to store lubricants indoors away from contamination under fairly constant moderate temperature conditions
  • Lubricants exposed to temperature extremes can lose additive effectiveness
  • Varying temperatures can cause breathing in sealed containers resulting in contaminant ingress

Indoor Storage:

When storing your fluid inside, follow the guidelines outlined in the image below to avoid contaminants.

Indoor Storage

Outdoor Storage:

Storing drums outside should be avoided but, if outside storage is the only option, consider these methods to avoid contamination:

  • Shelter drums from the rain and snow
  • Lay drums on their sides with buns in 3 and 9-o-clock position below lubricant level
  • Cover drums with shelter or tarp
  • Store drums upright, but tilt to keep water from bung
  • Use drum covers
  • Store small containers in a sealed cabinet

                                                         Best Storage                                                                                    

Outdoor Storage 1

 Adequate Storage

Adequate outdoor storage

Least Desirable Storage

Least desirable

Integrating these simple practices into your maintenance program can help you improve the overall quality of your fluid. Ensuring that outside contaminants such as water, air and abrasives stay far away from your lubricants is a fundamental best practice for strong oil analysis programs.

If you’re interested in learning more about implementing a successful oil analysis program, visit our training page or contact us for more information.

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